Abiodun Olaku

COVID-19 Artists & Art Market

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Due to COVID-19 Artists & Art Market , artists have already begun to adapt to the changes and bring their practices online, there are many unknown that they will face in the coming days. Just because in-person gatherings are not happening doesn’t mean that you can’t view art and keep up on openings. In response to event closures, institutions and individuals are getting creative about how their work is shared with the world.

PEN America’s role in this crisis includes mobilising to assist writers hard hit by the cancellation of events, closure of bookstores, and economic contraction, recognising that many of their livelihoods were precarious, to begin with. Knowing that books are the ultimate vessels for human connection across distance, the organisation has launched a daily podcast, The PEN Pod, bringing you interviews with authors, journalists, activists, and experts each and every morning (available on Spotify, Apple, Stitcher, and many other platforms).

COVID-19 Artists & Art Market
Jimoh Buraimoh scheduled for TAFETA Gallery booth at postponed Art Dubai 2020 COVID-19 Artists & Art Market

“We’re crafting reading lists curated by writers and poets, staff, and friends to keep folks occupied during this uncertain time. And we’re working to unveil new digital platforms to host events and readings online so that we can move our innovative public programming directly to you, our friends and supporters.”

In Hong Kong the art world is coming together to live stream gallery visits and artist talks online.

Hong Kong art dealers have been experimenting with digital marketing since the coronavirus crisis began, and their new strategies are starting to bear fruit. But beyond the purely commercial aspect, several players in Hong Kong’s cultural ecosystem have joined forces in March to launch the non-profit organisation Art Power HK, an online platform publicising events and exhibitions with the objective of boosting their resilience and disseminating the cultural news of one of the world’s most dynamic artistic capitals.

While European countries are imposing partial or complete lockdown with all cultural events, exhibitions, fairs, auctions etc. either cancelled or postponed, Phillips announced on March 18 that its Hong Kong spring sales will be held as planned from May 29 to June 2 at the JW Marriott Hotel.

Likewise, in Shanghai, the MadeIn Gallery has announced it is reopening as the Chinese authorities have managed to stabilise the Covid-19 epidemic in the city.

“We’re crafting reading lists curated by writers and poets, staff, and friends to keep folks occupied during this uncertain time. And we’re working to unveil new digital platforms to host events and readings online so that we can move our innovative public programming directly to you, our friends and supporters.”

In Hong Kong the art world is coming together to live stream gallery visits and artist talks online.

Hong Kong art dealers have been experimenting with digital marketing since the coronavirus crisis began, and their new strategies are starting to bear fruit. But beyond the purely commercial aspect, several players in Hong Kong’s cultural ecosystem have joined forces in March to launch the non-profit organisation Art Power HK, an online platform publicising events and exhibitions with the objective of boosting their resilience and disseminating the cultural news of one of the world’s most dynamic artistic capitals.

While European countries are imposing partial or complete lockdown with all cultural events, exhibitions, fairs, auctions etc. either cancelled or postponed, Phillips announced on March 18 that its Hong Kong spring sales will be held as planned from May 29 to June 2 at the JW Marriott Hotel.

Likewise, in Shanghai, the MadeIn Gallery has announced it is reopening as the Chinese authorities have managed to stabilise the Covid-19 epidemic in the city.

COVID-19 Artists & Art Market
Samuel Fosso - Le Chef: Celui a vendu l'afrique aux colons, tati series 1997 Copyright: Sotheby's COVID-19 Artists & Art Market

Within a spate of one month, Art Basel, Hong Kong edition; Art Dubai, UAE; 1:54 Contemporary African Art Fair, New York edition; Art Brussels, Belgium; Art Cologne, Germany; Frieze, New York, among others either postponed to few months into the year or shifted till next year.

For some of the events such as Art Basel, Hong Kong and Art Dubai postponement also came with the virtual options. For examples, Art Basel streamed over 200 galleries, just as Art Dubai showed over 500 art pieces online.

On the earlier scheduled day opening of March 25, Art Dubai launched its online. A statement from the organisers said the Art Dubai 2020 Online “showcases more than 500 artworks by participating galleries across all fair sections, with some presenting works specifically from their 2020 booth, while others have works from extended artist roster.” Participants included Rele Gallery and Arthouse-The Space, both based in Lagos.

Also, within the same period, auction houses like Sotheby’s, Christy’s, Bonhams as well as quite a number of art galleries got the virtual and select viewership participation windows to avoid a large congregation of people.

After Sotheby’s Lagos viewing on Thursday, March 12, the auction sales, which was scheduled for its London base could not hold physically, except virtually.

While the level of audience responses for the art fairs are not yet known, results in commercial values for the auction houses have been released.

Some of them seemed to suggest that the virtual options have prospects. Yes, traditionally, online bidding for auction was common, but getting the entire sales on virtual platform brought new challenges.

At the end of Sotheby’s March auction of Modern and Contemporary African art in London, a total £2,359,375 was declared. Apart from viewing by appointments, ahead of the auction, the actual sales were held virtually and via phone bidding.

Some art galleries, which were scheduled to show at few of the cancelled fairs in March also chose the virtual options, independently. TAFETA Gallery, based in London, but represents many African artists was to show at quite a number of cancelled or postponed art fairs across the world.

Ayo Adeyinka, director at TAFETA Gallery, during a chat last week said cancellation and postponement of quite a number of art fairs were disappointing, he, however, added, “We completely understand the position of the fairs.”

And should the covid-19 crisis continues, how sustainable is the virtual window being applied as an option? “It is way too early to even begin to discuss the sustainability of a more virtual business environment,” Adeyinka whose gallery represents quite a number of Nigerian artists said, “TAFETA for example only launched an online viewing room this week (early April), and it’ll take a few shows to review any meaningful data.”

In nearly two decades of art fairs resurgence across the world, artists of African descents, home and diaspora have enjoyed impressive global exposures by non-African patrons and gallery owners. Among such non-African owned galleries representing artists from the continent is London-based Kristin Hjellegjerde Gallery.

Read Full Article at Guardian Nigeria

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