This past weekend Don’t Take Pictures attended The Affordable Art Fair in New York City. As the name suggests, the idea behind this particular fair is to highlight affordably priced original works of art by galleries around the world. All artwork was required to list for under $10,000 and half must have been under $5,000. While “affordable” is a relative term, this was not a place to “score deals” and get great art on the cheap, but rather an opportunity to collect lesser-known artists at prices that won’t cost more than your car. There were plenty of pieces displaying bright pink “Art Under $1,000” stickers, and no one judged those who looked there first. For a fair targeted towards young collectors, this was a good place to start.
Given the theme of the fair, we expected the traditionally affordable mediums of printmaking and photography to be most prevalent. That was not the case. Most galleries showcased paintings, mixed media, and the occasional sculpture. In terms of photography, Hamburg Kennedy had a strong showing of vintage works, as well as contemporary photographs by established photographers. We were pleasantly surprised to see Jonathan Pozniak (featured in issue 2) represented by Asterisk Projects. Eye Buy Art, an online photography gallery, had a physical presence at the front of the fair with works by photographers including Gabriella Herman and Alma Haser.
Overall, the work was generally “wall friendly,” with few pieces making any strong conceptual or intellectually challenging statements. Because of the comparatively low dollar amounts, the vibe was relaxed, free of the sticker shock and trading floor-feel of Art Basel or other prestigious art fairs. Lest we imply that sales were not the objective, plenty of red dots adorned the walls. And in what was surely not coincidental, PHAIDON was onsite with a display of art books that prominently featured their title Collecting Art for Love, Money and More.