Will Great Viewing Experience Translate Into Sales at Moving Image?

by Paddy Johnson on March 7, 2011 · 3 comments Art Fair

Moving Image Fair opening. Image Via: Sean Capone

Last week’s talk of the town as that Moving Image was the fair to check out. Even if readers have only a minimal interest in the medium, that buzz is true: Moving Image makes viewing video art a good experience. This means a relaxed atmosphere, a lot of space to view the work, and a lot of time. Video installations and sculpture were stationed at the front of the fair moving people through the space, and seated viewing stations located at the back.

Comprised of 22 galleries — half New York based, half European — the fair closed yesterday without reporting a whirlwind week of sales. Co-founders Ed Winkleman and Murat Orozobekov did not seem to expect as much, video never being a form to fly off the display monitors. Winkleman said he was pleased with the results though, noting that the fair had drawn all the major collectors but for one located in Germany.  ”Anita Zabludowicz, Pamela Kramlich and Eileen and Michael Cohen,” Winkleman rattled off noting also that Loop video fair founders Isabelle and Jean-Conrad Lemaître had stopped by.

Beside each work is a write up about the video, and the gallery’s name, email and cell phone number for collectors. The fair is more self serve than others — there is an information station and forwarding station, but dealers are often not present. Presumably, the philosophy being that ultimately the art should be allowed to speak the loudest. “I don’t know how well it worked in every situation, but we’re getting all the galleries to give us feedback.” Winkleman said.

On the list of kinks to be worked out in the next iteration of the fair, Winkleman cites programming clarity.  ”People were frustrated that we didn’t put a schedule on the website for when the videos were beginning. And in our mind, the videos were continuous so why would you put a schedule up? It’s like, “fine, every four minutes” but that isn’t what most people’s  experience when they go to a video art fair is. There are usually a lot of longer pieces.”

Having only experienced the ill-fated DiVA, an all video art fair discontinued in 2008 due to poor sales and management, I hadn’t missed the feature length films, but the complaints suggest people are ready for a still more robust fair. Assuming Moving Image is a success, we may see this next time around.

As for evaluating the relationship between sales and cost for participants, Winkleman tells me he’s going to hold off, recalling a similar experience he had with the Miami based Seven, a fair launched with similar spirit. “What we found in Miami is that we had the best follow up we ever had.” Winkleman told me, “Is there something about people taking their time and buying once they are home who wouldn’t have bought if you’d been standing in front of them? I don’t know and so I’m not going to make any final assessments about the fair and what the sales were until a week or so.”

  • http://twitter.com/PeteAJ Peter Jacobson

    Hi Paddy. I too enjoyed the Moving Image fair. Video gets the hidden away so often. Was great to see some quality stuff nicely displayed.

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  • Ernst

    I liked this fair too, I went opening night and it was easy to move between works and have an unencumbered experience. Only criticism is the long stretch of suspended monitors (which kinda worked as “gallery booths”) looked like an airport terminal, but then the fairs have been looking like airports for a long while. I admire moving image works, but unadorned flat-screen monitors don’t disappear as frames. I did have a “where’s the remote?” moment more than once. Even if TV is the subject. I’m not sure how this problem is solved but I do think video and digitally based work should engage further with it’s presentation. And yes, there were some exceptions at the fair that shed light on the issue. I hope the Moving Image Fair is back next year. The venue is open and welcoming and that counts for a lot.
    - Ernst

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