Although most Art Fairs have been cancelled and are hosting online editions instead, 1-54 Contemporary African Art, Art Paris and Viennacontemporary, did open their doors and this is what we learnt.
“With the right precautions, we just have to keep things moving,” said Ms. Sile, who is of Ethiopian descent, referring to the pandemic. She said the gallery owed it to its staff and artists, and to the 1-54 fair, which was founded in London in 2013 and is now also held in New York and Marrakesh, Morocco.
What the fairs had in common was that they were all of a much smaller scale and held in venues allowing for an one-way traffic flow and strict crowd controls. In order to attract gallerists booths were discounted and some attracted new high profile gallerists as well as that booths were shared. Despite foot traffic being down significantly (1-54 from 18,000 to 3,000 and Art Paris saw about 57,000 visitors a 10% reduction from last year) many booths did sell out and one fair (1-54) said it broke even. All noted that it were local audiences that made the fair a success, accounting for the lion share of the sales.
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