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.
While the show was filled with action, events and people, exhibitors and attendees were buzzing, as they have since the announcement in November, about the splitting of Artexpo and DECOR expo--New York. The two shows are traditionally held at the same time in New York, but this year, Artexpo was held Feb. 28 to March 4, and DECOR expo was held March 7 to 9. Some exhibitors and attendees were not affected by the change or preferred the separation. Others said they missed some of their smaller-end frame shop clientele, and still others were not pleased at having to either exhibit at both shows or pick one above the other to reach all of their clients or to visit all of their vendors. Regardless, the general consensus was that in the future, both shows held at the same time, preferably in the same venue, would best serve the industry as a whole.
For now, plans for co-located shows next year are up in the air. Artexpo officials have secured dates at the Javits for Feb. 27 to March 3, 2003, and said they are working with Javits Center officials to keep the shows together. "We do not have control over dates at the Javits Center. Javits gave us our dates and offered co-location dates in 2003 to DECOR expo. Javits officials are currently waiting for a response from their show management," said Artexpo Show Director Doreen Guerin.
"We are working with the Javits Center to form a multi-year agreement providing DECOR expo exhibitors and attendees enough space to display and view the art and framing products available," said Jamie Gumbita, associate marketing manager for DECOR expo.
But one thing is for sure in 2003--a silver anniversary celebration for Artexpo. Show organizers said several special events will take place to commemorate this historic milestone.
BETTINA GIAMO Spirit Catcher Photo Gallery, Cape May, N.J.
"It was quieter, but I liked it because I didn't feel overwhelmed by the crowds. The artists were great and so was the quality and the layout. The only thing is that I wish was that the framing show had more distributors of mouldings."
BILL MACGILLIVARY West Coast Gallery, Whistler, B.C.
"I loved the show. For me, the highlight was meeting people in the industry and finding new artists. I'm very interested in the work of Spanish artist Lombarte.
JASON BEAUFORD Long Island, N.Y.
"It was cool. I like to get an idea of what's going on in the art world. I like to see how people express themselves."
JESSICA GIBSON Art in Motion, Vancouver, B.C.
"I liked looking for new artists and seeing the booths of some of the artists that we publish."
MOLLY ACKERMAN ABC Treehouse Gallery, Amsterdam, Holland
"I liked it better this year. They mixed some of the individual artists in more with some of the bigger exhibitors."
JILL MULLER Kennebeck Editions, Louisville, Colo.
"We did well at the show--not as well as last year, but better than we had anticipated. My overall impression is that the show was good. There were obviously less exhibitors, but I think the quality of the art was comparable to previous shows."
THOMAS ARVID Thomas Arvid Fine Art, Smyrna, Ga.
"We had a wonderful show. We added a number of new galleries, and we also saw lots of our old friends. The show was smaller but stronger than last year. While there didn't appear to be as many exhibitors or attendees, it seemed that those who attended and exhibited were of a very high quality. The people coming to our booth were serious buyers and excited about the program."
GILES GEINRICH The Art Connection, Raleigh, N.C.
"It was my first show, and I had a very good time sharing the art I represent with the visitors. I had a lot of success. Numerous people came and asked questions about my artists, and I have been contacted by several galleries and hope for some good potential in the near future."
PATTI MANN Winn Devon, Seattle
"We did very well at Artexpo New York. The overall tone was a bit more subdued than in previous years, but there was also definitely a sense of optimism prevailing."
DARYL BLOSS Global Fine Art Editions, Newport Coast, Calif.
"Every single day we did great. For us, it was a really good show. We made a lot of contacts on the trade days and a lot of sales on the public days."
GARY POLLAKUSKY Mazur Studios, Long Beach, N.Y.
"We felt the traffic was less than last year, but the quality of the attendees was higher."
MATT UHRIG London Contemporary Art, Jacksonville, Fla.
"We had a great turn on the consumer days. Usually, our trade days are the best, but this year we were surprised and delighted by the number of consumers buying original paintings."
Artexpo Means Parties
When Artexpo closed its doors at the Javits Center every evening, galleries, publishers and artists didn't let the fun stop there. Instead, they flocked to the wide variety of parties that took place throughout Manhattan, where they could continue networking or just kick back, relax and enjoy the good company and art. Here are some highlights:
On Thursday night, a special cocktail party was held for artists Charles Fazzino and Clemens Briels at the midtown hotspot China Club, where special guest, Olympic Gold-medalist Apollo Anton Ohno, made an appearance. Over at Soho's Pop International Gallery, throngs of people attended a special art opening for "Images In Our Time," a collection of memorable photographs from the archives of the Associated Press and published by iPHOTOART. And in Brooklyn, N.Y., Axelle Fine Arts celebrated Axelle Expo at its new headquarters on Atlantic Avenue.
Also on Thursday, the Fine Art Forum (a presentation of work from Chalk & Vermilion Fine Arts and John Szoke Editions) held a cocktail party with live music at its penthouse location to showcase new art offerings to collectors and dealers. Artists Kerry Hallam, Liudmila Kondakova and Bruce Ricker were present at the well-attended affair.
On Friday night, artist Debbie Brooks sponsored a party at Club 151 to introduce her new painting, "Art and Sole of America," while Thomas Arvid held a cocktail party at Morrell's Wine Bar and Cafe to celebrate the first anniversary of Thomas Arvid Fine Art. "We wanted to thank all of the wonderful galleries that made the year so successful for us," said the artist's wife Vanessa Arvid.
At the downtown club Spa, West coast-based artists Jon Planas and Justin Love threw a party to unveil their new paintings, while Steve Kaufman held a party at Soho's Veruka to showcase his latest work.
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Publication information: Article title: 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). Contributors: Not available. Magazine title: Art Business News. Volume: 29. Issue: 5 Publication date: May 2002. Page number: 18+. © 2009 Summit Business Media. COPYRIGHT 2002 Gale Group.
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