Masterpiece Fair Relaunches Under New Branding – Photo London Welcomes New Fair Director Kamiar Maleki

Masterpiece London Summer Art Fair

The co-founders of the now defunct Masterpiece fair, cancelled last month by the MCH Group, owners of Art Basel, are reviving the fair in time for Summer 2023’s June corridor. 

Thomas Woodham-Smith, a London art dealer, and Harry van Der Hoorn, who owns Stabilo, a trade show stand building firm, have rebranded the Fair as The London Summer Art Fair. It will be in the same location at the Royal Hospital Chelsea, opening on 22 June with around 40 to 60 dealers, about half of last year’s event. The Fair will include a diverse range of fine art, applied arts, antiquities and jewellery.

Founded in 2010, Masterpiece was one of the world’s leading multi-disciplinary art fairs, bringing together over 140 of the most distinguished art dealerships and galleries worldwide. Showcasing the finest works of art, design, furniture, jewellery and more, from antiquity to the present day, the Fair was held on the beautiful grounds of the Royal Hospital Chelsea, London, from late June to early July.

Attracting established international collectors and the culturally curious, Masterpiece welcomed over 40,000 visitors over eight days last year. The Fair offered an unparalleled opportunity to discover exceptional works for sale from exhibitors spanning many disciplines. Scrupulous vetting and thoughtful juxtaposition allowed one to encounter beautiful works of art, have one’s eyes open to the unfamiliar, and buy with confidence.

Kamiar Maleki
Kamiar Maleki Photo © Artlyst

Photo London Welcomes New Fair Director

Photo London has announced the appointment of Kamiar Maleki as the new Director of the Fair. He takes up the role in February ahead of the eight editions of the Fair, which will take place at Somerset House from 10 –14 May 2023.

Kamiar Maleki brings enormous skill and expertise to Photo London on the world stage. Multifaceted art professional with over 20 years of experience as a fair director, curator and collector, Maleki was previously Director of VOLTA Art Fairs in NYC and Basel (2019 – 2022) and Fair Director of Contemporary Istanbul (2016 – 2018).

Photo London’s Founders, Michael Benson and Fariba Fashad, say: “We are thrilled that Kamiar is joining Photo London as Director. The timing couldn’t be better. He comes to the Fair when photography is in such an exciting moment of flux and transition — when artistic practice moves freely from one form to another, embracing both digital and historical forms of image-making. These are exciting times for photography, and Kamiar is exactly the right person to harvest that excitement.”

Maleki comments: “I am delighted to be joining the team at Photo London. It is a Fair I have admired and visited from the beginning. I want to build on the legacy of what Fariba and Michael have achieved. I share their belief that this is an exciting time to explore and broaden the scope of the Fair. With the development of AI Photography, NFTs, Editions and digital art, and through its intersection with visual art, including digital art VR and filmmaking, photography has expanded immensely. I aim to bring contemporary photography together in all its forms and to strengthen still further Photo London’s highly distinctive role in the London and international art ecology.”

Innovation has been a constant feature across Maleki’s career. As Director of VOLTA Art Fairs, Maleki created its first-ever Cultural Spotlight Pavilion and guided the fair with grace and vision through the global pandemic; while at Contemporary Istanbul, he founded the Contemporary Istanbul Foundation and developed the Gallery Support Program to subside smaller galleries showing at the Fair. In addition, Maleki is a Co-Founder of the Agha Khan Museum UK Patrons Chapter and Founder of ICA Young Patrons for the Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA) in London. As a curator, Maleki’s work included the NFT Liverpool in 2022; the first ever NFT art residency on the French Riviera at the Four Seasons Grand-Hotel du Cap-Ferrat in 2021; and HashtagAbstract (2015), the first exhibition to explore the research and buying of art over Instagram.

Since its launch in 2015, Photo London has successfully established itself as a critical event in the global art world calendar and a significant annual showcase of the very best of the past, present and future of photography. Maleki’s appointment comes at a time of expansion for Photo London, following a partnership between Benson and Farshad with Creo and Angus Montgomerie Arts, with whom they are currently developing PHOTOFAIRS New York, which launches in September this year. His extensive networks in the international art world and expansive vision will strengthen Photo London’s collector base and its ability to continue attracting the best in cutting-edge photography to explore and celebrate the medium in all its forms.

The eighth edition of the Photo London will take place at Somerset House from 11 – 14 May, with a Preview Day on Wednesday 10th, May. Photo London 2023 will feature a solo exhibition of new work by this year’s Master of Photography, Martin Parr. In addition, the group show Writing her Script: Women Photographers from the Hyman Collection, the acclaimed Talks Programme and Discovery Section, which presents works from the frontiers of photography alongside an impressive line-up of exhibitors from across the globe.

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