To outsiders the art industry tends to come across as a fairly shielded place, where dealers and customers are shrouded in tales of mystery and all deals seem to go on behind closed doors. As Andy Freeberg argues in the statement to his project Art Fare however, this isn’t really the case.
“At the major art fairs I’ve visited, like New York’s Armory Show and Art Basel in Miami and Switzerland, they’re in plain view in their booths,” he explains. “As if on stage, you can see art dealers meeting with collectors selling and negotiating, talking on cell phones, working on laptops and manipulating touch-screens in 21st Century postures newly adapted for the latest electronic devices. I found the lighting, costumes and set design excellent for photographing these living dioramas, where the art world plays itself.”
Interestingly, it’s often the people who work within the field of art rather than the pieces themselves that fascinate Andy; in another series he photographs the elderly invigilators at art galleries and receptionists almost fully concealed behind huge desks. This switch has a neatly inverted effect on the way we experience his images; the emphasis falls on the conscious performance of those aware of being watched in their galleries rather than the works they’re trying to sell. Imagine the photographs that would result from his photographing the new exhibition of this work in New York! Woah! Meta.
Andry Freeberg’s Art Fare exhibition runs until 8 August at New York’s Andrea Meislin Gallery.