The Seattle Art Fair Was So Successful, the City Literally Applauded

Who knew Paul Allen cared this much about art? He has emerged as Seattle art's mega-patron

Comments

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I had fun.
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Out of Sight was the bomb!
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Great writeup by Ms. Graves. I didn't make it, but she gave me a real, visceral sense of the energy. The Seattle Art Fair is now on my bucket list, and it sounds like I'll be able to get that opportunity.
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The show was absolutely worthy of applause. But I think people were applauding for the adorable child who announced the end of the show over the PA system.
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Art Market Productions also puts on an art fair in Houston, Texas. That one, the Texas Contemporary Art Fair, started in 2011 and continues to this day. After that first TCAF, the mood was pretty ebullient. It had some blue chip galleries, some foreign galleries, some interesting projects, etc. It felt like a good start.

But in subsequent years, the blue chip galleries have pulled out. There were 55 exhibitors in 2014 compared with 74 in 2012. The big art projects got smaller. The fair is less interesting now and doesn't seem particularly consequential anymore.

I mention this because this could be the future of the Seattle Art Fair. If the dealers when they do their final P&L learn that the ROI for having a booth in Seattle is less than for having a booth at the Armory Show and Frieze, Seattle will go by the wayside. Those 15,000 attendees don't really count--all that matters for exhibitors are collectors who are willing to spend money right now.

The problem with regional art fairs like Seattle's (or Houston) is that the big money collectors can easily fly to New York or Basel or Miami to buy their blue chip art. The question becomes, can a local fair convince a local collector to buy locally (especially local art)? I haven't seen that in Houston with TCAF, but maybe Seattle will be different.
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I believe that you and Brendan Kiley are two of the few remaining reasons I continue to read the Stranger. I love you both. That said, I am so disappointed that your rave review of the Seattle Art Fair came AFTER THE THING HAD CLOSED. I would have loved to have gone. Too bad for me. Brendan Kiley also does this all the time. "Such and so" was great. It closed last Tuesday. Your jobs should be to let us know ahead of time what is looking really good to attend. Could you possibly do that? Many of us would really appreciate it.
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Great review.. Bit of a trek from Oz, so won't make it next year. Hope it grows and grows for you guys.
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Shopping mall.