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Re: [BKARTS] BOOK_ARTS-L Digest - 24 Jul 2006 to 25 Jul 2006 (#2006-110)



I think some slightly misleading comments are being made in the discussion
of print dealers being banned from the Frieze Art Fair. It seems clear to me
that not all prints are being banned from the fair, but certain kinds of
dealers.

In other words, if you are an artist represented by a gallery and your
primary medium is printmaking, then that is the work you will be showing.
And you may be showing alongside another artist from the same gallery who is
a sculptor, photographer, installation artist, etc. There are plenty of
artists making prints as an important part of their process, and I would
argue that there is a new found appreciation for printmaking in the
contemporary art scene.  Please see work by Matthew Brannon, who is making
letterpress prints that are highly regarded and have found their way into
ArtForum and other contemporary art rags.

I recently listened to an interview with one of the founders of the Armory
Show and he said from the very beginning that the Armory Show was meant to
be a place for galleries that have a primary relationship with the artists
they are representing.  I'm assuming Frieze and Art Basel are based on a
similar model. Print dealers, such as those mentioned in the article, do not
seem to have this primary relationship with the artist.  Instead, they
contract to produce a series of prints by a particular artist. They don't
necessarily have a lasting relationship with that artist. A subtle
difference, but it makes some sense to me.  It also most likely prevents
repetition from happening at the fair, where the desire often is to see new
things, not the same artist in different forms at numerous booths.

Finally, as someone mentioned previously, there are lots of dealers
clamoring to be a part of these art fairs.  Not all can participate and
there is a selection process.  It is up to the organizers as to who makes
the cut and who does not. There are lots of alternative art fairs often
happening at the same time as the majors.

However, it is unclear to me if Frieze changed the rules in the middle of
the game, and had in the beginning allowed these print dealers to be a part
of the fair and then changed their mind.  That is pretty tacky, I admit.

I'm certainly not an apologist for the gallery system.  I just wanted to
offer another perspective on the situation. For really enlightening
coverage, information, and interviews on the the whole art fair extravaganza
emerging over the past several years, visit the WPS1 archives (www.wps1.org
).

Amy Borezo
www.shelterbookworks.com

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