Top London Art Fair Forced To Close

It has been announced that one of London’s biggest art fairs – Art London – is to fold. Its closure has been attributed to a dispute over planning permission

Art London started in 1999, and has been taking place annually ever since at the Royal Hospital in Chelsea. But now its founder, Ralph Ward-Jackson, has announced the fair’s closure thanks to Kensington and Chelsea council’s policies being excessively complicated and restrictive.

The policies, for example, require a new application to the council for the erection of tents: ‘An application for a temporary tent is the same as the cost for a permanent building’. The ‘huge cost’ of this application was coupled with a number of regulations as to how many events were allowed to occur during the fair: ‘They also capped the number of events that could be held in particular sites in Chelsea.’ To make matters worse, the Royal Hospital venue failed to renew the fair’s tenancy contract. Ward-Jackson is furious, putting this down to the local authorities.

In his final words on the matter, Ward-Jackson stated: ‘We are proud of the fair’s achievements and of its contribution to the vibrant London art scene. We hope a little piece of Art London will live on in the homes of those… who treasure the artworks they discovered there.’

Touching though this is, London hardly wants for art fairs. And indeed, a new art fair has been announced for London, to be organised by the founders of ART HK, to meet the city’s ‘demand for a quality International art fair’

Art13 London is set to feature between 80 and 100 of the world’s most prestigious galleries, and to showcase the best in international Modern and Contemporary Art. The first edition will take place at Olympia Grand Hall in the heart of West London, from 1-3 March 2013. It will be organised by Art Fairs London Ltd – the original founders of ART HK, the Hong Kong International Art Fair, which in four years has established itself as Asia’s premier art event.

Co-Founder Tim Etchells commented: ‘Following the success of ART HK, we feel there is a demand for a quality International art fair in London with a global focus and an emphasis on a social and fun experience.’

Stephanie Dieckvoss has been appointed as Fair Director, who worked as Fair Manager at Frieze from its inauguration in 2003. Then, in 2007, she played a central role in the launch of ART HK in 2007. As joint Fair Director alongside Magnus Renfrew, she was instrumental in the success of the first two editions of the Fair.

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