Monday, August 1, 2011
Auckland Art Fair 2011, the inaugural event at the new Viaduct Event Centre, created a wonderful focal point in the opening festivities for the Wynyard Quarter waterfront development early this month. The Vernissage was the party of the year (so far!) and was enjoyed by a capacity crowd of 1100 local and international artists, gallerists, collectors and a few notable celebrities.
Attracting 10,000 visitors from all over New Zealand and Australia over 4 days, the fair defied predictions of economic disaster, generating significant sales for local artists and galleries and providing a welcome boost to the visual arts economy. A local exhibitor comments, “The sense of community and collegiality was incredible and much needed after a few tough years in the trenches!”
Sales are only a part of what the event had to offer. The fair brings a Trans-Tasman art community together under one roof and provides a unique opportunity for gallerists to do what they do best: talk about the art they know and love and share it with people.
A major focus of the 2011 fair was knowledge sharing. Our public programme director Deborah White hand-picked a few local artists who guided visitors through the fair, giving the inside track on some of the exhibits and artists. Our expanded public programme included lively discussions about philanthropy, advertising by art world commentators, including Hamish Keith, Mark Amery, Josie McNaught, Linda Tyler and Louise Walsh.
Keynote speaker Knight Landesman, publisher of the influential New York magazine Artforum, and a great fan of New Zealand art, identifies the art world as “a very special middle ground between all economic classes.” That proved very true this year and there was something there for everyone.
Thanks to all of you who came that came along and made it such a great fair. Let’s do it all again in 2013!
Director – Auckland Art Fair