The Art Fair Effect: Measuring the Impact of Art Expositions
The contemporary art market is shifting away from its traditional gallery model, to an event-driven system where art fairs are slowly taking over. Not only fairs are a mirror of the market's trends, but they impact the ecology of the cities where they develop. Acting as patron of a city's vitality, each art fair engages in a complex network of relationships with civic, cultural, and business partners. Although positive in relation to an increasingly globalized industry, this shift in the market's economic focal point is not without its challenges. Art fairs create a global and transcultural structure, where collectors can encounter non-local artists-yet "fair fatigue" has developed due to costs and stress afflicting dealers. The following research paper, based on case studies of EXPO CHICAGO and miart (Milan), compares the complexity of these two art environments of similar cultural vitality but different market volumes. The goal is to interrogate the sustainability of the art fair model through the definition of a model for impact measurement - contributing to long-term legitimization of art fairs as part of a city's cultural development. The actuality of a positive impact would demonstrate the importance of art fairs as market leaders and important contributors to the discourse around contemporary art.