FairsPeople 26-04-2017

Art Cologne 2017 | The world’s oldest fair battles with newcomers

For the 51st edition of Art Cologne, the oldest art fair in the world appears more dynamic and international than ever.

Hosting 28 countries (compared to 24 in 2016) with 200 galleries exhibiting, its safe to say the fair is a little more crowded this year. Among the new galleries welcomed, a large majority are French — with notable newcomers including, Thaddaeus Ropac (Salzburg/Paris), Karsten Greve (Cologne/Paris/St.Moritz), Max Hetzler (Berlin/Paris), Perrotin (Paris/New York/Hong Kong), and Daniel Templon (Paris/Brussels), who will all exhibit at the German fair for the first time this spring.

Yet Art Cologne is in need of a second wind in the face of strong competition in the region. Art Dusseldorf — recently acquired by the MCH Group, parent company of Art Basel, will take place just 45 kilometres away from Art Cologne from November 16 to 19. Monopol reports that some strong words have been spoken by Art Cologne’s director Daniel Hug who compared Art Basel’s practices to colonialism, “When the Swiss start offshoots all over the world, then they have a power over the art market that represses regional culture. That is also a form of colonialism. Art is diverse. We should not destroy it,” he says. However Art Cologne is about to merge ABC to produce Art Berlin which will replace the latter fair from September 14 through 17. Such a shift in the German art fair scene is bound to produce some interesting results.


Jack Pierson / Georg Baselitz @ Thaddaeus Ropac


Aside from a huge range of galleries from every sector, the 60,000 expected visitors will also be treated to an in-situ work by artist Michael Riedel — an installation piece entitled L. The work consists of a retranscription of one of the meetings by the fair’s selection board deciding whether to accept or reject certain applications from galleries.

The three floors of the fair cover Modern art, contemporary art, and on the third floor, galleries considered emerging are featured in the Neumarkt section. Henze & Ketterer gallery are selling Ludwig Kirchner’s Bauer, einen Schubkarren ziehend for €3.5 million whilst von Vertes gallery have a Richter — Abstraktes Bild — also at €3.5 million. During the vernissage earlier in the day an installation by Jean-Michel Othoniel was sold at Galerie Perrotin, the gallery is also exhibiting work by Julio le Parc, Aya Takano and Takashi Murakami.


Manolo Valdès @ beck & eggeling gallery


Kate Werble Gallery has been catching the attention of visitors with 1000 hyper realistic fried egg sculptures by artist Christopher Chiappa on sale for €425 to €1500 each. Thaddaeus Ropac’s debut Art Cologne stand features an installation by Jack Pierson on sale for $190,000 as well as Zero Dome by Georg Baselitz for €950,000.

Pop art is noticeably present with a number of stands featuring Andy Warhol, Keith Haring drawings (all four Pop Shop works sold for €24,000 during the fair’s opening), Tom Wesselmann and even Jeff Koons editions and At Beck & Eggeling there is a huge aluminium installation by Manolo Valdés on sale for €1 million has provided the backdrop for many a selfie already.

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