A pleasant way to invest one’s money: an interview with Armory Show chief Katelijne De Backer

by Art Fag City on January 28, 2008 Events

Photo by: David Willems, Image courtesy The Armory Show

Now at ArtReview.com, my interview with Armory Show director Katelijne De Backer. As always, the teaser below.

Armory Show organizers sure are busy this time of year. The largest of nine winter New York fairs, the event saw $82 million in sales last year, boasts 160 exhibitors this year, and expects to see more than 52,000 visitors. In anticipation of the upcoming edition, running 27-30 March, I spoke to executive director Katelijne De Backer over email about the downturn in the economy, Merchandise Mart's takeover of the fair, and some of this year's special projects.

Paddy Johnson: With the European stock market crash, and fears of a US recession, what are your expectations for the Armory’s economic performance this year?

Katelijne De Backer: There’s been a lot of speculation about the health of the art market every year since the beginning of The Armory Show in 1999, yet all signs show that it remains healthy – sales have been steady and galleries are confident. We have no evidence that this will change this year.

PJ: Perhaps, but in 2006 galleries were reporting almost frantic buying at Art Basel while in 2007 Miami, not all galleries reported astounding sales. Doesn’t indicate at least a more cautious collector than last years?

KDB: Possibly, but we spoke to many galleries when we were in Miami, and though they said there wasn’t the frenzy that they’d seen in the past couple of years they were satisfied with sales. It might just be that new collectors have been learning to make more considered acquisitions.

PJ: Do you expect the economy to affect fair attendance?

KDB: Whatever the state of the economy, New Yorkers are interested in art”¦ And this year our fair coincides with the Whitney Biennial, which is sure to spike attendance rates, as it did in 2004 and 2006.

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