Lack of bookings and poor grasp of the London art market ends fair plans
The Scope Art Fair has announced that due to the London riots and the state of the economy it has cancelled this years fair. This is the reason given by the fair’s spokeswoman Rachel Kaplan. The Scope team began considering the cancellation a few weeks ago, after news of the riots first broke, and “it just got uglier and uglier” with the economic downturn. A press release sent out last spring stated “SCOPE proudly returns to London for its fifth year, answering the demand for an alternative platform to Frieze, presenting international contemporary art. After a two year break watching the world markets settle, SCOPE London 2011 confidently returns to London’s dynamic East End arts and media quarter. SCOPE’s monumental venue, The Old Truman Brewery, perfectly compliments SCOPE’s core mission of introducing international collectors to contemporary art presented alongside museum quality programming, VIP tours, screenings, and special events. SCOPE London 2011 will be held in Brick Lane’s most exceptional exhibition hall, situated in the newly redeveloped warehouse of 22, 000 sq. ft. The space is a superbly unique venue benefitting from white walls, concrete floors and skylights.The Old Truman Brewery is a historic 11 acre site on Brick Lane. The site has grown to become “the dynamic center” for the new wave of creative business entrepreneurs in London. The space benefits from heavy footfall and is supported by a fine infrastructure of independent shops, bars, cafes and restaurants unparallelled in London. fullscope
SCOPE is the largest and most global art fair in the world featuring emerging contemporary art with 7 markets worldwide. Its goal and passion is to present the most innovative galleries, artists and curators while networking them with Patrons through a unique program of solo and thematic group shows presented alongside museum-quality exhibitions, collector tours, screenings, and special events.
The organizers of the fair had been planning a return to London’s East End this October but due to lack of interest in Scope by exhibitors has blamed the recent urban unrest in London and international stock market dive as major factors in the decision to pull out. White said the Scope team had been monitoring the market for emerging art in London and “felt this year was going to be a very positive year to make a return.” But, she explained, the negative media coverage of London “and international tension, beginning with the riots was our first concern.” Though Scope was not concerned for the safety of its team or exhibitors, White commented, “I don’t know if it’s going to be the number one place for people to be traveling.”
Most Art insiders feel this is an extremely lame argument and clearly avoids the simple reason behind the decision and that is, a lack of bookings by exhibitors and the high cost of stands at this second rate fair. It simply can not compete alongside Frieze and Moniker and clearly doesn’t understand the London art market.
Scope president Alexis Hubshman said that “The decision was the “most mature my business has ever made.” He said Scope plans to focus on its three main fair products — Basel, Miami, and New York. “It’s not about demonising London on any level,” he said. “It’s not about, ‘Oh, they’re going to come in and loot our fair.’ It’s a larger picture about the EU in general.”
Get real Alexis! and stop blaming London and the EU. Instead blame your lack of clout in the EU market. This is not the first time Scope has canceled a fair. In addition to delaying Scope London for two (and now, three) years, the company also called off its Hamptons edition in 2009, 2010, and 2011. It is clear they are finding it difficult as organisers to fill their fairs and at this stage with their negative “culture of blame” attitude, have burned their bridges and will never be welcome back in London in the future.