Industry Re-Emerges at Artexpo New York; as the First Major Post-Sept. 11 Art Trade Show Closed Its Doors, Exhibitors and Attendees Happily Report That the Art Market Is Rebounding and Sales Are Being Made. (Show News)
NEW YORK--As the 24th edition of Artexpo New York came to a close on March 4, the general feeling was one of relief. Though the show was smaller, both attendance-wise and size-wise than in 2001, the overwhelming feedback from the show--the first major art trade show to take place since the events of Sept. 11 and the following economic recession--was that business was indeed finally being done.
"We all came into the show with absolutely no expectations," said Discovery Galleries' Julie Band about the mood of the show's exhibitors. "So whatever happened was going to be positive unless it was a bust, which I don't think it was. Last year, I think we did unbelievably. This year, I think we did well, so we're certainly not crying the blues."
This sentiment was reflected by many exhibitors who reported decent sales and strong contacts being made. In fact, some exhibitors reported their strongest sales ever, which many felt was the result of more highly qualified attendees. "The show was excellent for us. There was less attendance, but the people who showed up were buyers," explained Oscar Chavez, marketing director for Collectors Editions of Canoga Park, Calif. "Everyone you spoke to was a potential buyer. There were good, solid galleries that showed up. Our numbers actually reflected a 25-percent increase over last year."
Smart Publishing of Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. also exceeded 2001 sales figures in 2002. "While overall attendance at the show may have been a little less than in previous years, the quality of the people who attended was excellent," said John Murphy, vice president and general manager. "There were times you could not walk into our booth."
Stephen McGill, president of the New York-based Sloan McGill Collection, concurred. "We had an incredible show," he said. "We were pleasantly surprised by how well it went. On the trade days, which are the most important for us, there were definitely fewer people at the show. But I have to say that 90 percent of the people who came to our booth placed an order."
"There weren't as many people as a normal year, but the people who were there seemed very motivated," added Beth Avary of Starfire Press in Boulder Creek, Colo. "We made some really good contacts and some good sales. We were very happy with the results."
According to show organizers, 39,780 attendees came to the show over the course of the five-day event to peruse the booths of some 500-plus exhibitors. Broken down, 19,780 trade attendees and 20,000 consumer attendees were on hand. Although these figures are slightly less than those of the 2001 show, show officials said they were on par with those of Artexpo 2000.
"Artexpo 2002 was very well attended and a resounding success with exhibitors and attendees alike," said Artexpo Marketing Director John Vasko. "All segments of the art trade were well represented, including retail galleries, picture framers, art buyers, interior designers, architects, photo galleries and many others. Exhibitors sent one strong message to show management--both trade and consumer attendees were buying."
Highlights of the show included a keynote speech from Holly Moore of the Yankelovich Monitor on "Trends in American Life," as well as a more expanded seminar schedule with speakers like ABN columnists Murray Raphel and Joshua Kaufman, interior design expert Leslie Harrington and celebrity artist Jane Seymour, among others. The show also featured several tributes to the victims and families of the World Trade Center tragedy, including "Faces of Ground Zero," a collection of larger-than-life photographs displayed at the front of the show, and "Reimagining Ground Zero," a charity auction and presentation of the work from both Artexpo artists and New York City schoolchildren that captured their ideas of what could be built on the site of the Twin Towers.
Other highlights of the show included "Home is Where Your Art Is," an exhibition and free consultations with interior design professionals about designing with art; "Celebrity Masks," an eBay auction and display of hand-painted masks from artists and celebrities; and a display of a series of paintings from former President of South Africa and world humanitarian Nelson Mandela. …