Art Fair Fatigue Causes 7 Percent Drop in Attendance At Big Fairs

The best known art fairs such as Art Basel and FIAC are slipping in popularity. Skate’s Art Market Research have published statistics for 2014 which showed art fair attendance was down 7.2% compared to 2013. They reported a total of 1,032,729 people attended the world’s top 20 art fairs in 2014. The top fair was ARCO Madrid, which attracted 92,000 visitors, followed by Art Miami, which attracted 82,5000 visitors, and Art BA, Buenos Aires, which attracted 77,000 visitors. (For more on ARCO Madrid see Museo Reina Sofía Spends €348,884 at ARCO Madrid and ARCO’s 34th Edition Consolidates the Madrid Fair’s Position as a Top Destination for European and Latin American Art.

The Frieze Art Fair remains buoyant with a voluntary cull on the amount of tickets available. This is to create a better experience for the serious buyers and collectors. Lets face it Art fairs are not public museums. They are commercial enterprises created for the sole purpose of selling high end art. “Who needs the pushchair brigade! one fair executive was overheard saying, in the VIP lounge. “They already cater to the art student and offer sections for Avant Garde artists to exhibit. Isn’t that enough!”

Specialist fairs such as Paris Photo/LA, attracted 12,000 visitors, Affordable Art Fair NY, which also attracted 12,000 visitors, and PAD The Salon: Art + Design, which attracted 8,000 visitors. Top names such as Art Basel (4th/74,567 visitors), FIAC (6th/73,000 visitors), Art Basel Miami Beach (9th/65,000), and TEFAF (10th/65,000) did not make it to the top of the list.

According to the New York Times, the reason could be “art fair fatigue.” As art fair attendance was down due to the overwhelming number of art fairs that have emerged in recent years. The smaller independent fairs were also squeezed, which has a knock on effect to the second level of art fairs globally.

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