50 Acclaimed Artists Give Away their Works for Free in the Last Ever Free Art Fair
September 18, 2009 § Leave a comment
The Free Art Fair was established in 2007 by contemporary artist Jasper Joffe, with the participation of 25 artists, all giving their art away for free.
This year, instead of being staged in Marylebone again, The Free Art Fair (returning for the final time during Frieze week) will be held at the Barbican Centre in a much bigger, more museum-scale exhibition.
For those not in the know, The Free Art Fair is an exhibition with a difference where the visiting public will be able to take away one piece of art of their choice.
During the week visitors view the exhibition and make a note of the artwork/s they like the most. They are then required to return to the Barbican on the closing day of the fair (Sunday 18 October), and queue to claim their artwork, if it hasn’t been snapped up already. If the artwork has been claimed, you can return to the back of the queue and try again with another choice until all the works have been allocated.
However, even though organisers claim it’s a great way for a diverse range of people to become art collectors, especially those who can’t usually afford works by artists of such calibre, there is quite a large amount of competition for the pieces.
Last year, I went on the first day of the show, and there were already people at the front of the queue with duvets wrapped round them, aiming to stay there till the end of the week, so they could have first dibs! Madness…oh what we do for the love of art.
Despite my misgivings, in the busiest week of the UK contemporary art scene, The Free Art Fair is a serious alternative to the commercial art fair frenzy and focuses on the art, rather than on prices and numbers. Coinciding with the global economic crisis, The Free Art Fair asks even more questions on the overheated art market and has became a major part of the debate about the value of art.
The great thing about the Free Art Fair is that it moves away from art fair commercialism and is organised entirely without any budget. Everything is given or donated including the gallery space, the catalogues, and even the insurance. The contributing artists love the concept and enjoy the direct relationship with the public.
This year the fair will once again showcase a mixture of work from established artists to emerging ones, giving away thousands of pounds worth of free art. For more information about the artists and what’s on show, visit: www.freeartfair.com