Auckland art fair

Ahead of the Auckland Art Fair this week, we spoke to Co-Director Stephanie Post about why this year’s event is not to be missed. 

After a few years hiatus, what is the focus of the Auckland Art Fair for 2016? The 2016 Edition of Auckland Art Fair (and future editions) will focus on the art conversations of the wider pacific region – not just New Zealand and Australia, but also parts of Asia and the west coasts of US and Latin America, as well as the Islands. This is the world that we live in, and that lots of our artists work in.

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Matt Arbuckle at Tim Melville Gallery

What is your favourite part of your role as co-director alongside Hayley White? As co-directors of the Auckland Art Fair, Hayley and I make it possible for galleries to show the work of the artists that they represent, in one place, making it easier for the public to see everything that is on offer (more than 40 galleries, showing artworks by more than 150 artists). We make sure that visiting Auckland Art Fair is a fun experience – Peter Gordon is overseeing all the bars and eateries at the Fair, including Savour a pop-up restaurant at the Fair, there will be a fantastic book shop featuring art books which are produced by independent publishers, so you wouldn’t find them in main-stream book shops etc etc. There is also a Project Programme of Art curated by Simon Rees, Director of Govett Brewster / Len Lye and Jarrod Rawlins, Curator at MONA, Hobart, featuring art which not might appear in the more commercial gallery presentations.

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Kāryn Taylor and Kate van der Drift at Sanderson Gallery

Through the Art Fair we also create a moment in time, where visitors with an interest in art come to Auckland, from all over New Zealand, but also from Australia and Asia, at a time when there is more to see in Auckland than just the Art Fair – so they can spend time here looking at all the different art that is made, commissioned, collected and exhibited in and around Auckland.

For those thinking about starting a collection, what is the benefit of visiting the Art Fair? It is a great place for new collectors – it brings lots of galleries together, and lets visitors see work by artists ranging from the very established artists with international reputations, to some of the younger artists who have all the promise of an international career. For the first time at the 2016 Fair there is also a special stand, Ngatahi Editions, which is a collaboration by nine of Auckland’s most interesting non-profit galleries. Ngatahi Editions will be selling works made for them by artists they have worked with in the past. These works are often made in editions – so there are several copies of each work, often with each having some variation. This makes art by really good artists more affordable for the new collectors. The other really important thing for new collectors at the 2016 Fair is My Art, an initiative which offers interest free loans for buying art.  It is a non-profit initiative, you do a quick approval on-line (you can do this before you get to the Fair) and then when you find some art you want to buy, you pay 10% immediately, and the rest you pay in 9 monthly installments. But the best thing is that you get the art immediately, and the artist and gallery get paid immediately – so it is win-win!

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Tessa Laird, Peter Gouge and Kirstin Carlin at Melanie Roger
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Emily Hartley-Skudder at Suite Gallery

Any tips for approaching gallerists if you’re wanting to try and purchase works? The first thing is don’t be afraid to ask questions. You can always start with “can you tell me a bit about this artist or this work of art?” but you are always welcome to ask how much something costs – you might be thinking about buying it after all!

Alongside the usual format of galleries exhibiting, you’ve introduced a couple of new initiatives, such as ’Ngatahi Editions’ to the fair schedule, can you tell us a bit about this? New initiatives at the Fair include Ngātahi Editions as mentioned above, but also working with Peter Gordon (who is a collector as well as an internationally renowned chef!) to curate the bars and eateries and a pop-up restaurant, Savour by Peter Gordon, at the Fair. This adds to making the Fair a great experience and a fun day out. For the first time we also have a Project Programme, Pacific Real Time, curated by Jarrod Rawlins, Curator at MONA, Hobart, and Simon Rees, Director, Govett Brewster Art Gallery / Len Lye Centre, New Plymouth. This enables art work that might not be included in the more commercial presentations of the gallery stands to be at the Fair. Pacific Real Time includes work by very established artists like Michael Parakowhai and Wayne Youle, and by very emerging artists like Elam student Quishile Charan, or the artist run group Terror Internationale. Quishile has a boosted campaign at the moment to raise the funds to produce the work she is planning to show!  There is also a pop-up bookstore curated by Kelvin Soh of DDMMYY and Anita Totha of Remote Books, which will feature art books independently published in New Zealand – so all the beautiful New Zealand artist books that you don’t see in regular book shops.

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My Art, helping you start your collection with an interest free loan

Who’s work are you most excited about sharing at the Fair? There is too much to pick out one artist or art work. I am especially looking forward to seeing the work that the Australian galleries are bringing, since I don’t know the artists so well and they look really excitinf. The same applies to Sebastian Vargas’ work at Chilean MUTT gallery. From New Zealand there is Lisa Reihana, who will be the artist representing New Zealand at the 2017 Venice Biennale (she has a solo show with her Melbourne gallery, Lisa Fehily) and Eve Armstrong who has her Trading Table project at Michael Lett Gallery, inviting visitors to trade something they have (an object, an idea, a skill or a service) for something else (not for money) Judy Daragh at Two Rooms Gallery, Emily Hartley Skudder at Suite Gallery… and SO many more!

The Fair is on at The Cloud from today through Sunday, with tickets and schedule available via Auckland Art Fair.

Photography & interview Alice Lines

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Denys Watkins at Bath Street Gallery
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The Trading Table by Eve Armstrong at Michael Lett Gallery
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Sarah Scout Gallery with work by Tony Garifalakis
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Ceramic piece by Ann Verdcourt at the Masterworks Gallery
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Selected works by Vita Cochran, Richard Stratton, Johanna Pegler and Allan McDonald at Anna Miles Gallery

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