This weekend Manila’s Silverlens Gallery will be exhibiting eight of their artists work in Taiwan at Art Taipei 2014. A fortnight later they will be in Paris at Paris Photo 2014 with a further three artist’s work on display.
Since 2008 they have participated in 32 art fairs around the world. Form New York to Hong Kong, from Miami to Paris the Silverlens founders, Isa Lorenzo and Rachel Rillo, have recognized and reacted to this growing art world phenomena.
New York gallerist sans gallery, Ed Winkleman estimates that from 2005 to today arts fairs have grown from 65 to around 220. A panelist at the recently held “Art Fairs: An Irresistible Force in the Art World?" discussion in New York, he also indicated a shift in collectors buying habits stating “This (art fairs) is where I purchase art. Why am I spending time in the various galleries, when the newest and the very best is at the art fair?"
Winkleman also admits on his blog that “the perception of a gallery's rank in the system (is) by noting which art fairs it participates in.”
But participating galleries need deep pockets to play in this game. According to New York gallerist and fellow panelist, Elizabeth Dee, her annual art fair participation costs have risen from 35 to 45 thousand dollars a decade ago to a quarter of a million today.
And then there is the attendance at the fair by us, the non high rollers excluded from the VIP events. As Miranda Sawyer says in her review of London’s Frieze Art fair “Still, you do have to gird your loins and sharpen your elbows to do Frieze.”
Still it is hearting to see that at least one Manila gallery is taking on the challenges and providing a duty of care for their artists.