The Affordable Art Fair is back again for another fantastic season of art that you – yes you! – can afford and take home right away. Looking for a professional photograph to hang over your living room couch? Want a modern painting that will look perfect right above your bed? Are you new to buying art and not sure quite how to decorate or exactly what you’re looking for? Head to the Affordable Art Fair, located at the Metropolitan Pavilion, 125 West 18 Street in Manhattan.
Running from today, March 30, through Sunday, April 3, at the AAF you’ll get an education in art purchasing and perhaps even a bit of art history and art making as well. One of the only arts fairs in the city that is truly dedicated to teaching you and making sure you have fun in the process, the AAF offers programs and workshops for adults and children alike. This fair is one of the best fine art shows in the entire city and you will not be disappointed with the selections available. Over 500 artists will have their work represented in the show this week by 70 local and international galleries. The majority of works on view are listed at under $5000. There is something for every taste – and budget – here.
Cristina Salmastrelli, Director of the AAF New York since 2012, spoke with Examiner to give readers a taste of what they can expect at this fun and engaging fair. Here’s what she had to say:
Examiner: Tell us a bit about the history of the Affordable Art Fair.
Cristina Salmastrelli: The Affordable Art Fair began in London 16 years ago in 1999. Our founder, Will Ramsay set out to democratize art and here we are, over a decade and a half later, spreading the joy of art in 12 cities internationally with 15 editions a year.
No matter where in the world you are, what your discretionary budget is for a piece of work, or how much you know about contemporary art, an Affordable Art Fair is there to help you learn about and fall in love with a piece of art!
I have been involved with the company since 2011 and became Director of the two NYC editions in 2012. Over these past 4 years of my involvement with the company, I have fallen in love with Affordable Art Fair’s galleries and the artists they represent.
I hope to make my city proud
with each edition by providing an exciting and inspirational experience and environment in which to collect art. Please feel free to ask for me at any fair edition, I would love to hear your thoughts!
Examiner: What makes the fair so popular every season? How is it different from every other art fair out there?
CS: FRESH ART. We work with galleries that represent living artists and these geniuses are always creating. It is so amazing to track an artist’s career year after year via a show you direct. It’s truly an honor to watch talent develop in front of your very own eyes. Every edition is different, with fresh galleries and artists with diverse experiences and skills – so while the skeleton of the fair is consistent, the meat is different every single edition.
We are different from every other art fair because Affordable Art Fair comes to you. If you think about art fairs around the world, many people travel to visit them. Everyone flocks to Miami in December or to Basel in the summer. Many people have journeyed to Hong Kong right now for that very purpose of visiting and collecting. Affordable Art Fair is unique in this facet; our intent is to come to you and your city and expose you all to the happiness that art brings into one’s life.
Our goal is to become a part of the New Yorker’s annual calendar. We want our Thursday evening event, AAF After Dark, to be that hot spot where you meet your friends for a cocktail [free drinks with admission!] or the place where you bring your children to participate in an artist-led educational workshop [check out the link here]. We want to be a common thread in the wonderful diverse city we all call home.
Examiner: What new projects/exhibitions do we have to look forward to at the AAF this spring?
CS: Click here for the fair features and here for a full list of talks and tours. Highlights include our Recent Graduate Exhibition featuring Delano Dunn and curated by Danielle Durchslag. Delano explores his perspective of the relationship between NASA’s space adventures and the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s through his artwork. They will be in the front of the fair and will definitely catch your eye since there is TONS of gold leaf used.
This year we are also turning the tables on our programming structure by initiating Sofa Sessions. During the five fair days, we will host four programs where we gather art world experts together for YOU, the visitor, to converse with and learn from! The visitors lead the discussion. As always, it is important for us to give back to our New York Community and this spring, our official non-profit partner, Art Therapy Outreach Center (ATOC) will be leading the kids’ programs on Saturday and Sunday at 11:30am. Participation for the kid’s workshops will cost $10 and will go directly to supporting the amazing work that ATOC does for our city members who have experienced trauma at one point in their lives and help transform them from victims into survivors.
Examiner: Do you have any favorite galleries or artworks that will be showing this year?
SC: That is one hard question! I just did a great blog featuring my favorite artworks from west coast exhibitor, Saatchi Art. Check it out here.
Examiner: What advice would you give to a first-time art buyer at your fair?
SC: Art Fairs can be overwhelming! There are 1,000-1,500 pieces of art up at all times. THERE IS A LOT TO LOOK AT so…. prepare beforehand. First, figure out the type of art that you like. Go online, research genres of art and find the ones that are your favorites. Do you like photography? What about oil paintings or drawings? Or are three dimensional works up your alley? Take note on what catches your eye.
Secondly, figure out where you want to hang a piece of art in your home. Do you have a blank space in the living room, bedroom, or bathroom? Never forget about the bathroom! That is where you can put the funkiest pieces of art. Wherever you decide to put your new art work, first you’ll need to measure the area where you are planning to hang the piece and note these dimensions.
Lastly, we have art from $75-$10,000 at each edition of the Affordable Art Fair.
There is absolutely something for everyone!
That being said, think about how much you want to spend on an art piece BEFORE you come to the fair. That, combined with your selected genres of art and specific dimensions, will help you hone in on the art that is right for you!
When you get to the fair, It’s important that if you are going to purchase a piece of art you know as much about the piece as you can. Ask as many questions as you want. The answers will help you feel more comfortable with purchasing the work. Then when it’s hanging in your house, you can give your friends and family the background of the piece, the artist’s inspiration and the reason why you wanted it at home with you!
My favorite questions to ask:
- How long did it take the artists to make this piece?
- What influenced him to create this work of art?
- Is this art work different than what the artists has previously done in the past?
- Why do you (the gallerist) represent this artist?
Examiner: What advice would you give to a seasoned art purchaser?
SC: There is always more knowledge to learn, so I would suggest they check out one of our programs or really focus on the emerging artists we have at our fair. It’s a wonderful place to discover new talent and start the journey of creative expression alongside the artist!