Interactive experiences at art fairs

POSTED ON October 14, 2019 BY Logistics Specialist

It’s become normal for art fairs to have some sort of interactive or immersive element to them, which usually ends up attracting big crowds and gets plastered all over Instagram.

In September Start Art Fair had an installation by Michelle Poonawalla that responds to motion to set off a swarm of butterflies and during Frieze Week the street art focused Moniker Art Fair had a section of artists responding to Brexit.

Many are not fans of these installations as they feel it detracts from the thrust of an art fair, i.e. to sell artworks, and the focus should be on the stands not on elements that are derogatorily referred to as gimmicky.

However, it’s worth noting that I and many others live in a rather privileged world where we don’t have to pay to access art fairs, when many others do. It’s always struck me as a rather odd model that you have to pay just for the opportunity to purchase some art — I hope this doesn’t catch on at the high street and I have to pay just to enter a branch of Sainsbury’s.

I conducted a straw poll on some of my fellow privileged visitors at Frieze London on how much a ticket at the door would cost and most estimated between £15 and £20. In truth it’s £37 for one fair and £60 for a combined ticket that grants access to Frieze Masters as well — and that’s not including any booking fees.

That’s a lot of money and so the interactive and immersive elements, combined with the talks and other live events at fairs go some way to justifying the steep entry prices. If I’m paying that kind of money to get in, I deserve something that will look great on Instagram.

Written by Tabish Khan