Are we really talking about this again? Art Fag City hasn’t said many good things about Scope over the past couple of years, and this year’s Basel fair won’t be any different. According to one disgruntled exhibitor, Nico Maffei of artworx.b146, poor organization and downright bullying by fair founder Alexis Hubshman has plagued the fair. Sent to us via email:
It’s a range from making the fair two days shorter at same prices as last year for the exhibitors, less cleaning, less security, leaking tent (my stand and others were affected), unlocked exits after closing the fair in the evening, several short circuits on illumination on the first days, a Sponsor’s dinner in the tent without knowledge of all exhibitors and letting those guests browse through the fair without surveillance, the morning after that dinner an entrance with garbage laying around and half of the staff not around, no real control at the entrance, poor bar-service at the lounge.
A meeting was held for exhibitors to give feedback, but Maffei suggests Hubshman could have cared less, stating, “What’s the fucking point of that meeting? I’ve done my best and everybody complains” and, the real zinger, “I can tell you what you should do in the future. Choose a different fair.”As for Maffei’s leaking tent, Hubshman helpfully pointed out, “well the other side is dry.” AFC asked him to clarify the accuracy of these complaints but he was unavailable for comment. “I’m in the hospital.” he told us via Blackberry.
This is just one of many reports from unhappy exhibitors we’ve received from past fairs, which leads us to wonder why galleries continue to participate. As early as 2007, Daniel Cooney Fine Arts commented on the blog that “The quality galleries that apply don’t get in or get treated poorly when they participate. So, needless to say, don’t apply again.” Its unclear why Scope is still around if it fails to promote worthwhile galleries and consistently shows mediocre art.