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Why you will bet on art fairs this year

Find out how to choose the relevant art fair for your gallery

An appropriate gallery strategy unmistakably requires a presence at art fairs and it is important to choose one that fits your artistic line and your positioning. Alongside some major shows as Art Basel, Frieze and Fiac, numerous specialized fairs, much more easy to access, are gaining ground, allowing you to target events that ensure a visibility gain.

Fairs are gaining ground

Despite the non-renewal of some additional fairs alongside the FIAC, the popularity of contemporary art fairs is unquestioned.

Many of these fairs will not take place in October 2016. Indeed, Officielle, combined with the FIAC fair - both of them organized by Reed Exhibitions - is not rescheduled this year, just as Cutlog and Multiplied. However, fairs don’t lose popularity and are still much visited by collectors and art lovers. These social appointments are the best indicators of market trends, artists to follow and fashionable galleries.

The market speed, and the lack of time required to visit gallery, lead collectors to never miss international events. Indeed, they give priority to fairs that allow them to discover many great galleries with sharp selection and exchange with gallery owners from their network. Meeting places, for discovery and trading, fairs are still successful and crowded.

Fairs are getting specialized

To get closer to market trends, small and major fairs capitalize on unusual and specialized events.

On the one hand, emerging fairs are positioning on narrower markets in specializing by medium, by artistic movement or by generation. We think in particular of Variation, dedicated to digital arts, Urban Art Fair, first Parisian street art fair or YIA Art Fair (Young International Artist) engaged with the young generation. These "niche" events set themselves apart with their specializations which attract connoisseur.

On the other hand, the leader fairs develop specialized exhibition spaces to adapt themselves to the market. This year, the FIAC proposes for the first time an On Site space to present sculptural master pieces and artistic installations in the prestigious scenery of the Petit Palais. A first time for the FIAC that follows Art Basel’s footsteps and its numerous specialized sectors as Unlimited, a dedicated place for huge installations and master pieces.

Fairs are becoming popular

The time when art fairs were considered as inaccessible and strictly reserved to « mega-collectors » is over.

Prime social appointment, art fairs are not limited to the previews reserved for VIP and connoisseur collectors and now attract many visitors. More and more specialized, they are also more affordable. The masters in the field are the Affordable Art Fairs that take place throughout the year across the world.

Again, fairs tend towards more accessibility by reacting to changes in the art market. It is indeed observed that young collectors who buy for the first time start their art collection earlier, with a reduced budget. Thus, market professionals propose master pieces that are suitable for new buyers profiles among which many members of Generation Y are identifiable.

A booth on an art fair requires an investment of time and a lot of money. Engaging such ways without being sure of the result is no longer affordable by the galleries. Do not hesitate to bet on "niche" fairs and study new market trends and young collectors’ habits before jumping in applications.

Paul Maurisset

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