Interviews

Who Goes to NY Art Fairs? Emerging Collectors at The Independent

by Hrag Vartanian on March 5, 2011

The Independent (via zimbio.com)

This is the third in our Emerging Collectors at the Fairs series sponsored by 20×200, which travels to various art fairs and asks visitors why they attend the New York art fairs, if they collect art, and how they know if they like a work of art.

In this post we travel to The Independent art fair, which has been garnering a lot of buzz during New York art fair week. Housed in the old Dia Foundation space on West 22nd Street, this four floor art fair attracted young and emerging galleries mostly from New York and Europe, and a crowd obviously curious to know what all the buzz was about.

Here is who and what I found on a Friday night in Chelsea.

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The Emerging Collectors at the Fairs series is supported by 20×200, the place to buy art online. 20×200 offers limited-edition fine art prints at ridiculously affordable prices. Learn more about 20×200 here.

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Barbara Celis, writer/aspiring artist / Michael Berens, artist/aspiring writer, New York

“It feels like everyone in town right now is an artist or wants to be an artist … I have never bought any art but my parents are both artists so I have been around art all my life and I’m surrounded by friends who are artists … I’ve never spent a dime on art, I’m totally broke, I’m a journalist … I come to try to get surprised and find things that make me think in a different way, so far I’ve been disappointed … though I’ve been in the Chelsea galleries today, which are totally empty [because of the fair] and I saw a few things I liked.” — Barbara

“I trade art, I haven’t bought any art … [I come to the art fairs] to look, to see what’s going on … ” — Michael

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Akemi Yoneyama, curator, New York

“I come to the art fairs because they’re here and I’m in the art business … I do [collect art] but not much though … [how I find a work I have to have?] it’s just a sense, I don’t know … for an exhibition or a museum, it may have a meaning to buy it or collect it, but if it’s for myself then I want to live with it and it’s a nice addition to my everyday life … I don’t think I’ll buy something this weekend … ”

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Lucy Dew, gallery manager, New York

“I come to the fairs because I’m in the business … it’s good to see what’s going on at the other fairs. I collect art a little bit, I buy spontaneously … [I haven't bought] anything yet, but I gather there’s a couple of things upstairs that I have to go and take a look at … [how do I see a work I want to live with?] it’s completely a gut feeling, you know it immediately, it’s like falling in love. And if you wake up the next morning and you’re still thinking about it then you know … ”

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Amy Lee, photographer, recent New Yorker

“I don’t collect art … but I come [to the fairs] to see what people are up to and to be inspired. It has been really hit or miss, some strong stuff, lots of installation work … do I live with art in my house? Yes, mine and friends and art books … I know when I like something because it’s visceral, it just hits me, I can’t put that into words.”

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Kent Dorn, artist, Houston / Erin Siudzinski, gallery employee, Houston

“I’m just looking at what’s going on. Living with it is a huge part of it. We have certain themes and objects we gravitate towards, like portraits, also things that focus on the making or materiality of things, we naturally gravitate towards those categories … I spent all my money coming here so I’m probably not [going to be able to buy something] … ” — Kent

” … [I come to the fairs] for work and to look at new artists and to look for collectors … we’re just beginning [as collectors] … there’s an emotional instinct when you see art you like but with us it’s also a negotiation, as we both have to like it and be able to live with it and it has to relate to our interests … we’re toying with the idea [of buying something this weekend] as there is so much stuff we love but so much we can’t afford.” — Erin

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Sasumi Nyui, aspiring artist, New York

“I don’t collect art. I’m curious what is going on out there [in the art world]. I work five days a week so I don’t have time to see the world, so I come out and it’s a good opportunity to see so many things at the same time … I really like the variety of it … I do enjoy it … [I know when I like an art work] if I can feel the presence of the person who made it, then I can relate immediately.”

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Shari Baldie, art fan, Westchester, NY

“I come here to see what’s going on and to see some great work and it’s always a fun time … I just graduated school so art is pricey for me but it’s great to go look … I know when I like something because it catches my eye. I’m really into Pop Art, so anything with a lot of color usually grabs my attention … things with words I’ll always gravitate to, like this thing behind me.”

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Nina Lichtman, artist, New York

“I graduate in May … I’m here to see art and to see people I know. I buy my friend’s art but not other art … [I know when I like something] through purely aesthetic reasons and how I’m feeling at the time … there’s been some good stuff but I haven’t seen anything that I’ve really really liked … I’m trying not to get overwhelmed [at the fairs] … ”

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Josephina Ayerza, writer/psychoanalyst, New York

“I don’t collect art but I have a lot of art, artists give me work … [I come to the art fairs] because I love to see the art and I write a lot about art …”

Editor’s note: the image has been altered at the request of the interviewee

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Keitch Oehmig, gallery owner/graduate student, Maine/Brooklyn

“I come to the fairs to get a sense where contemporary art is going … I’m very interested in photography and seeing how people are combining photography with painting and collage … I do collect but mostly 19th century and early 20th century, some contemporary … I collect on the older end and selling on the contemporary end … I haven’t bought anything yet, I’m in absorb mode this weekend and trying to take it all in and make sense of it all … for me, art feels very intuitive and I just respond to it naturally and then I stop and ask myself why I like it and why it’s meaningful … it feels very physical … ”

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The Emerging Collectors at the Fairs series is supported by 20×200, the place to buy art online. 20×200 offers limited-edition fine art prints at ridiculously affordable prices. Learn more about 20×200 here.

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