Sunday, June 19, 2011

Rumor has it- There is no One of a Kind in NY

A little insider info: MMPI (Merchandise Mart Properties Inc) is the largest producer of trade shows and consumer of events in the world. This company is responsible for Art Chicago, The Armory Show, Volta, The Architectural Digest Home Design Show and the One of a Kind Show. This newest series of shows takes place in Toronto, Vancouver, Chicago and ..... not New York apparently.

With New York's Art Fair week in March, the news was covering them all and commenting on the increase of art fairs over the last 20 years. This is most likely due to the economy. Investors are seeing the art market not as hit as hard as others and art fair directors are giving consumers a less expensive way to invest in art then going to the auction house.

Unfortunately rumor has it that not all of the art fairs are working out as expected, including the One of a Kind Show New York. Last year the show was in coordination with the popular Architectural Digest Home Show. The show set to be in the Fall represented independent artist in a mix of mediums, most of which fit in the decorative arts category. According to the artists they were making good connections such as meeting curators, art fair coordinators, ect but they were not making any sales.

The reason was accessibility. As artists one of the first things we learn is to not make the viewer or consumer do too much work. Patrons of the show first had to go through the Home show, then MADE (a section of the show already designed for artists and artisans) and then up chancy metal stairs to a separate space. MADE, which launched in 2008 was very successful unlike the One of a Kind Show which re-enforces my argument of accessibility.

MMPI are obviously superb art business leaders, with more than enough experience. By tapping the market of home enthusiasts they were really hitting their ideal market, but because many of those patrons were initially there to view the Home Show they were not willing to spend extra time and energy to search out these artists. The MADE section of artists and galleries located on the same floor, blurring into the show turned out to be very successful as it always has been in the past.

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