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Strarta, which has just launched at the Saatchi Gallery, aims to distinguish itself from the marketplace mayhem of some fairs by offering a retail experience for visitors to enjoy, so it says, in “calm and relaxation”. Pieces from established names are shown alongside contemporary works by young and emerging artists. Galleries exhibiting include Rook & Raven, an innovative contemporary space that was established three years ago to encourage alternative artistic practice.
The tents are up in Berkeley Square for PAD. Under their canopy 60 exhibitors from 12 countries and several of the world’s leading international galleries convene for the seventh year running. Impressionist drawings, postwar abstract paintings, tribal art, jewellery and furniture adorn this carefully curated Aladdin’s cave of design and 20th-century art.
Old Truman Brewery
This Brick Lane bazaar features artists “operating under the radar”. Nevertheless, with Banksy on show, Moniker is no small beer. Exhibitors include Shepard Fairey, whose 2008 “hope” portrait of Barack Obama became one of the most iconic images of the campaign. Carne Griffiths’ inky calligraphy, awash with tea, brandy, vodka and whisky, and Jo Peels’ eloquent acrylics of metropolitan decay lend softness to this fair’s urban edge.
Old Truman Brewery
Sharing a roof with Moniker for the first time, The Other Art Fair showcases artists without commercial representation, an unfortunate adversity which, fortunately, casts their work in a romantic light by lending each piece the status of an undiscovered gem. Look out for Francisco Nicolas’s Magritte-inspired “picture windows”, Chris Otley’s graphite draughtsmanship, Maria Konstanse Bruun’s witty self-portraiture and Anna Savvina’s surrealist photography.
Ambika P3, Marylebone Road
Secreted away across the street from Madame Tussauds is a colossal 14,000 sq ft underground hangar, home to the Sunday Art Fair. Participating galleries include White Columns, New York’s oldest alternative art space, and Glaswegian gallery Kendall Koppe. Urbane, international, free of charge and, happily, not just on Sunday.
The 54 African countries comprising the continent lend their number to the title of this inaugural fair at Somerset House. The African art market is young but growing rapidly, and this showcase will speak to art enthusiasts as well as collectors. Prominent artists exhibiting include London-based sculptor Sokari Douglas Camp, whose work is inspired by her life in the UK and her Nigerian heritage, and Meschac Gaba, whose travelling exhibition, the Museum of Contemporary African Art, was acquired by Tate Modern this year. Even the fair itself is artfully designed by British-Tanzanian architect David Adjaye, whose projects include the creative design for the Nobel Peace Centre.
This contemporary video art fair features single-channel and installation works alongside video sculpture. World premieres include video by Simone Lueck, who entreated random passers-by in the Speisekammer supermarket in Berlin – once the glamorous transvestite cabaret where Marlene Dietrich was discovered – to sing Dietrich’s signature song “Falling in Love Again (Can’t Help It)”. Opening night is BYOB (Bring Your Own Beamer), a chance for emerging video artists to present their work. There is also a dedicated “A/V bar” for those with questions about purchasing video art and the technicalities of displaying it.
Christie’s, South Kensington
Multiplied sells contemporary work exclusively in editions, offering a relatively economical way to purchase work by renowned artists. Exhibitors include Marc Quinn, whose “Alison Lapper Pregnant” was the centrepiece of London’s 2012 Paralympic Games opening ceremony. His “Internal Labyrinth”, a multicoloured woodcut print edition, launches at Multiplied through Marc Quinn Studio – a rare opportunity to bypass the middle-management and buy from the artist himself.
47/49 Tanner Street, Bermondsey
Booth-less and open-plan, Sluice is exclusively for artist and curator-run galleries, giving this fair a grassroots air that seems, well, fair. Live performances fire the creative atmosphere and free talks – including one that promises “dramatic readings of the worst gallery press releases” – suggest that Sluice isn’t above poking fun at the art world it inhabits.
The popular Affordable Art Fair offers an array of reasonably-priced talent, including work from recent art school graduates. With prices beginning at £40, you could start your own collection for little more than Frieze London’s £32 entrance fee. There’s also an area earmarked for pieces under £500. Nevertheless, “affordable” does not always mean inexpensive and the high-water mark for prices is £4,000.
The majestic Grand Palais has doubled as a military hospital and barracks during the first world war, a truck depot for the Nazis in the second world war, the headquarters of the Parisian resistance during the Liberation of Paris and, more recently, a regular home for the Chanel fashion collections.
But it was originally conceived to promote “the glory of art”, which is what it will do during the Foire Internationale d’Art Contemporain, when 184 galleries from 25 countries rendezvous under its hallowed glass ceiling.
This grande dame of modern and contemporary art fairs is now in its 40th year and is showing no sign of ageing. Indeed, this year it has devoted considerable attention and space to younger galleries, as well as those that nurture rising talent.
Showing for the first time at Fiac are a number of promising young artists, such as Rebecca Brewer, represented by the Catriona Jeffries Gallery in Vancouver. One of her works is called “Nothing can prevent us from accomplishing the aims of our life”, an optimistic, perhaps tongue-in-cheek, but fitting title from an artist whose generation came of age professionally at the dawn of the financial crisis. From China come Lee Kit and Ming Wong, represented by Vitamin Creative Space, whose installations engage with the contemporary Chinese context.
Alongside the work of this younger generation, there will also be several anticipated solo shows from established names, including Serge Poliakoff at Applicat-Prazan, and Ai Weiwei at neugerriemschneider.
Spilling out on to the street as part of its traditional Hors Les Murs programme, the fair will also present a number of sculptures, installations, performances and sound works among the groves of the Tuileries, in the shades of the Jardin des Plantes and along the newly completed pedestrian redevelopment of the left bank of the Seine. But one of the greatest joys of Fiac is not just what goes on at the fair, but the exhibitions that happen in Paris while it is on. At the Palais de Tokyo the entire building will be given over to the French artist Philippe Parreno, who has been given carte blanche to do whatever he wants. Zeng Fanzhi, whose painting “The Last Supper” has just set an auction record, has a retrospective at the Musée d’Art Moderne; Erwin Blumenfeld’s masterly photographs will be at the Jeu de Paume; works by Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera are being shown in a joint exhibition at the Orangerie Museum; and, at the Centre Pompidou, retrospectives of Pierre Huyghe and Roy Lichtenstein continue. Filling the time should not be a problem.
The world’s fairs
International fair devoted to art multiples and works on paper.
A vast emporium of fine art, antiques, objets d’art and curiosities.
Contemporary fair with a focus on art from central, eastern, and south-eastern Europe.
Contemporary fair providing a platform for new talent.
This Swiss event is the only contemporary art fair to open with a jazz concert.
Celebrating its centenary with free entrance for all.
Now in its 58th edition, this art and antiques fair emphasises the traditional.
Specialising in digital art, Show Off marks its eighth edition with a focus on artists from Quebec.
Canada’s only modern and contemporary international art fair.
Featuring painting, sculpture and antiquities.
An Italian fair that tries to push back the experimental frontier of the visual arts.
Modern and contemporary art from Latin America, Spain and Portugal.
November 30-December 8
Contemporary art exhibited in a Renaissance fortress.