Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Sham Exposed

Print dealers banned from Frieze in London
Specialists may also be excluded from the Armory in New York

Posted 13 July 2006

LONDON/NEW YORK. Specialist print dealers have been excluded from London’s Frieze fair, and are likely to be barred from the Armory show in New York next year.

The organisers of Frieze have sent a letter to print publishers such as Alan Cristea, Paragon Press and Two Palms saying that “a certain category” of exhibitor will not be admitted this year. The reasons given are that “prints don’t look good in a fair”, and that the dealers do not have “primacy of representation” of the artists they show.

There are also indications that the Armory show in New York may follow suit. The fair’s communications director Pamela Doan said: “We will be discussing with the Selection Committee how to maximise the space for participants. We do not have clear plans to announce yet about how we will include print dealers in The Armory Show 2007. It will probably be different to 2006, though,” she said.

“It is completely ludicrous,” says Alan Cristea. “Art fairs are full of multiples: sculpture, photography, even a lot of paintings incorporate printing techniques. This excludes all the people who have the specialised knowledge.”

“This is an sign of an overheated, cliquey market, and it is incredibly short-sighted,” says Charles Booth-Clibborn, founder of Paragon. “Buyers often start with prints: they are a seedbed for future collectors.” David Lasry of Two Palms is “fuming”. He said: “This is the way the entire market is going, they want to push us out to make way for paintings dealers.”

The irony, notes Mr Cristea, is that Frieze’s main sponsor is Deutsche Bank, noted for its fine corporate collection—predominantly of prints. G.A. - The Art Newspaper 07/13/06

What Charles Booth-Clibborn of Paragon Print Publishing does not say is that the actual value of a print (not pulled by the artist) is 1/100 of a cent (just like grocery coupons). Sure there are issues of material costs and such… so lets say that you pay the actual costs of these services. We’re still talking in the ballpark of less than $50. Any price above that is mark-up. Prints are a fine way to spread the “love of an artist’s work”, unless people are solely buying prints as opposed to original work. Then everyone loses, the buyer loses because they have spent money on something with absolutely no resale value and the artist has lost the opportunity to find a permanent home for an original piece of their work. The fact that mechanical prints and print manufacturers are even represented at places like the NY Armory Show is a disgusting symbol of passionless corporate America. – DN

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