Ferias de Arte y Artistas

Aquí una pieza de opinión que escribí para APT Global sobre los problemas que enfrentan los artistas ante la proliferación de ferias de arte.

APT Global
Insight Vol. 3

ver publicación entera en :
Opinion Piece PV

Art fairs have become just as much of a hassle for artists
as they have become an essential social tool for the art
business. Although fairs, unlike prepackaged biennials,
are great platforms for underrepresented artists and
regions to showcase work, the institutionalized and
predictable fair ecosystem is diluting the experience of
viewing, understanding and making art. At a fair, artwork
can be appreciated only in a fast frenzy; you have to
experience it and grasp its meaning, if you can, amidst the
suits, the partying and the schmoozing. Then there’s the
question of which fair to attend. With so many fairs taking
place at so many venues simultaneously, how does an
artist on a limited budget decide where to expend his or
her energies and funds? Such decisions are usually made
in the same way mainstream audiences tend to go for the
generic blockbuster movie in summer: by following the

There are a few exceptions in the US; take, for example,
the Milwaukee International, photo MIAMI, VOLTA and the
upcoming FAS/ Sound Art Fair in Puerto Rico, just to name
a few. These fairs are somehow accessible economically
for exhibitors, artists and collectives, and are organized as
curated events that cater not only to the market and art
advisors but to the broader public.

Amongst artists there exists an anxiety to be included in
at least one fair every year. When I started working and
showing in art fairs in ’99, it was tacky for an artist to
list art fair exhibitions on their CVs. Today, however, an
artist must take credit for art fair inclusion because it
gives the impression that he or she has made it in the art
market, or that his or her gallery is doing its job properly.
Participating in an art fair is becoming more important
to an artist’s career than is participating in a biennial or
museum show.

I think remote-control curators, desk curators and
institutionalized curators that double as advisors for
collectors and their artists are responsible for breaking
the market, not fairs. Sadly, the role of the artist is at the
bottom of the food chain. Art fairs are a self-sustained
business that keeps growing on demand and the artwork
is the colorful wallpaper decorating the circus.
My main concern is this: How can we artists make
meaningful work that cuts through, or bypasses
altogether, art fair frivolity, while managing to pay the bills
at the same time?

Pedro Vélez (APT Mexico City) lives and works in Puerto
Rico and Chicago.