Art16, the international Contemporary art fair held in a vast hall at London’s Olympia, has announced that it is scrapping the 2017 edition. The exhibitors were informed on August 23, and the website now shows a statement which reads:
“The organisers of Art16 have decided that there will be no edition of the fair in 2017. We are now working with both galleries and collectors in order to develop a much-enhanced fair going forward and further announcements will be made in the coming months. It seems that, rather than a permanent cancellation, the fair is taking a hiatus to rethink its scope and concept, with hopes to return to London’s busy art fair calendar in 2018”.
Last year was the best so far Artlyst’s Edward Lucie-Smith wrote, Art16, the Olympia Art Fair this year was considerably more fun than its immediate predecessor. It was more spacious in feeling, better laid out, better lit.
Art16 opened its fourth edition last Spring with a focus on exciting and innovative contemporary art from established, emerging and mid-career artists across all visual art forms. Art collectors could make fresh discoveries of artists working outside the western canon, particularly with ‘London First’ and ‘Emerge’ sections to unearth new talent. ‘Emerge’ showcased the next generation of artistic talent while ‘London First’ brought together galleries who have never before participated in an art fair in London.
Art16 gathered 100 galleries from over 30 countries and presented more than 1,000 artworks at Olympia, London. Alongside the gallery presentations, Art16 launched a new series of talks, ‘Let’s talk about art’ to present dynamic voices from the international art, design and fashion worlds. Highlights included discussions on the global art world, women in the arts and the cross-fertilisation between the arts and the wider cultural sphere.
I have seen this happen with many Art Fairs in the past and it is quite possible that this is the end of what was once a very promising event.