Come 16 – 19th January 2014, Lorenzo Rudolf and team will be launching the 4th edition of the international contemporary art fair Art Stage, at MBS Convention Hall. The tagline “We Are Asia” sums up the fair’s focus with at least 50% of the galleries from Asia (Asia Pacific and South East Asia).
This year, a new exhibition format will be introduced – besides the conventional booths, Art Stage presents 8 specially Curated Platform sections, neatly categorized by country or region and Singapore will be part of the Southeast Asian Platform. For more details, do have a look at the website:
If you’ve never heard of Art Stage Singapore, don’t fret – the next few posts will be your personal 101 Guide on how to tackle an art fair. Not for the faint hearted.
Set Aside Time
Art Stage will take up at least 2 halls in the basement of MBS Convention hall, don’t try to cover it all in 2 hours – I guarantee you it’s not possible. If you can, it means you’re not looking hard enough!
Personally, I would set aside one whole day or at least 2 half days to visit and see the art alone. Chances are you might bump into friends, stop for a coffee at the café, or make enquiries with the galleries or artists.
Is There a Dress Code?
If you are lucky to be invited to attend the Vernissage event, I’d say bring out your Jimmy Choo’s and Christian Louboutin’s. Otherwise, I’d advise you to wear comfortable walking shoes, your feet will thank me for it - trust me. Having said that, Crocs and slippers are a major no-no.
What Can I Expect?
It can be overwhelming for first-time fair-goers (I remember my first experience at Frieze in 2006, felt like a furry Hobbit, surrounded by the rich and beautiful of the international glitterati jet-setter tribe).
Don’t feel compelled to look at every single work, just wander around and see what catches your eye. Remember to Keep an Open Mind, Look Look Look and Keep Looking and Ask Questions (you don’t have to sound smart, what’s the worst that could happen?)
How to Approach A Gallery
It may seem intimidating, but the gallery staff are there to help and guide you. Some may appear snotty, but most are generally helpful and happy to answer your questions. These are the best persons to approach, as they would know their artists intimately, can provide more context and information about their art practice and works, and of course prices.
If the gallery is in the middle of negotiating a sale with a client, it’ll be wise not to interrupt! Unless you are eyeing the same work to hang in your office, then let the bidding war begin!
I’ll Take It!
If you are interested in a particular work, best to do some background research on the artist and the medium or material construct of the work. Where is the artist in terms of his/her professional development? Emerging, mid-career, established? What is the work made of, is it an oil painting, a collage, a 3D object or installation? Is the work in pristine condition? Is it a primary work or has it been bought and sold before? These are questions to ask and think about, as it also affects the price and valuation of the artist’s works.
Questions you should ask yourself - am I committed to be the guardian of this artwork, and what are the considerations looking after it in the long run i.e. insurance, storage, and maintenance? If you can answer these basic simple questions, and it’s a resounding YES – then go for it!
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