30 January 2006

Art fairs in london

Patrick Caulfield - Lamp At the Art on paper fair.

For this posting I thought it would be helpful if I compiled a list of some of the regular art fairs in London. This is a non-exhaustive list but it may be of some assistance to people starting to collect Contemporary Art.

There are various art fairs in London which should be important dates for any contemporary art collectors diary.

The first in the year is the London Art fair. This takes place in January of each year the Islington Design Centre. In my view this is one of the best fairs for viewing contemporary art and for purchasing so terrific pieces. The scope of the fair is much broader than that however as it also encompasses modern twentieth century art and you often see museum quality pieces from 20th century masters.

Two fairs a year are held in Battersea Park and are called the Affordable Art Fair, with no work on sale at a price tag of more than £2,500. I enjoy these fairs although they are extremely busy at the weekend with lots of sales being made. Stuff literally walks out of the fair on Saturday and Sunday. The range is fairly pedestrian. You are unlikely to see anything very cutting edge here. The fair is also good fun for kids as there are always lots of children’s activities to do.

By far and away the best fair, and fast becoming one of the top contemporary art fair in the world is the Frieze fair. This fair offers more cutting edge contemporary art together with all of the established YBA’s etc. The range and exhibits is truly fantastic. Be prepared for long queues however and it is expensive to go to (£15 per ticket).

Next to the Frieze fair and held over the same weekend is the Zoo fair. This is great fun and tends to be a showcase for younger emerging talents. Well worth a look.

The scope art fair is also often held on the same weekend as Frieze. I haven’t ever been to this fair and am hoping for an invite to the next one.

The royal college of art hosts a number of fairs throughout the year. The British Art Fair is interesting, although the focus tends to be more on modern than contemporary art. Also worth a visit is the Art on Paper fair which often has reasonably priced examples of work from a broad variety of established and emerging artists.

Another interesting fair is the Inspired Art Fair where independent artists get to show their works. There is some really interesting stuff at this fair.

The Royal Academy hosts an original Print fair which is quite interesting.

There are also regular fairs at the Battersea Arts Centre. These also used to be called (confusingly) the Affordable Art Fair but have now changed their name. These fairs feature self-representing artists so the quality can be variable but again they are good fun.

Finally after a break in 2005 the dulwich art fair is back in 2006. Click here for a link to their website.

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