Art Monthly have capitalised on the recent letters page debate between Lisa Le Feuvre and Peter Suchin over the function of art fairs by inviting both of them over to the ICA for a panel discussion. The event isn’t until November 7 but tickets for “Fair’s Fair: Why do we love to hate art fairs?” went on sale today, and in the lead-up to the live debate AM have put the Le Feuvre/Suchin exchange all in one place for easy reading.
The exchange does little more than repackage the age-old money/art debate with a bit of name-calling thrown in. But since the question isn’t going away, here’s a summary of the story so far.
If you want to go along, get in there quick because the event will no doubt sell out fast since it contains all the right buzz-words for this time of year. I’m not sure I’d be happy to part with my £10 for the ticket if we were just going to watch more of Le Feuvre and Suchin pacing out their territories, particularly given the tendency of ICA panel events to leave me frustrated at the level of debate, and trying to construct a case for getting my money back.
But joining Lisa Le Feuvre and Peter Suchin on the panel to shake things up a bit are Pryle Behrman, who curates the Art Projects section of the London Art Fair, and David Barrett, an artist, writer, and co-founder of Royal Jelly Factory. I’m particularly interested to hear more from Berhman because the value-adding ‘events’ (talks, performances, tours and other educational initiatives) do seem to occupy a peculiar position within the ongoing market debate.
For all the serious intentions of the newer art fairs to discover and promote risky new talent, the ones I’ve seen have been too tentative: not buying in to the big names, but certainly not taking any real risks with the unknowns they support. I can’t help feeling, despite myself, that the really exciting stuff is going on over at Frieze in their programme of additional events, and that it’s specifically the condition of the major art fair that facilitates their production. It’s a juicy question and one which merits a good deal more consideration.. Any ideas? I’ll let you know if I’m any wiser after November 7.