Swizz Beatz’s No Commission Fair Comes to London

'This is a global movement,' Kasseem 'Swizz Beatz' Dean told artnet News.

Swizz Beatz. Courtesy No Commission

Swizz Beatz’s No Commission Art Fair is coming to London this week after hitting Miami and the Bronx earlier this year.

From December 8–10, the fair will showcase artists without charging a participation fee and taking “No Commission” on any sales. The idea is to put the power in the hands of the artists, and the focus on the London iteration is the juxtaposition of fine art and street art. Artists showcasing this fair will include Hassan Hajjaj, Miss Van, Lucy Sparrow, DANK (Dan Kitchener), and Matthew Stone.

In addition, Swizz Beatz has teamed up with Simon de Pury and handpicked 15 artworks, which will be available for sale online.

The fair has sold around $2 million worth of artwork between its last two editions, and the London iteration promises an interesting visual mix, accompanied by music performances from Emilie Sande, Blood Orange, and Swizz Beatz himself.

The idea of holding this event in the Bronx, the home of Hip Hop, makes a lot of sense and around this time last year the first No Commission fair took place, coinciding with Art Basel Miami Beach. But how will it translate to London? We caught up with Kasseem “Swizz Beatz” Dean via email to find out more:

What was the thinking behind bringing No Commission to London?
No Commission was inspired to create a platform that was 100 percent for the artist. At the time I didn’t see anything out there like it. We are “by the artists, for the artists, with the people.” And then I found the perfect partner in Bacardi to help me make this a global movement and not just a domestic initiative. Bringing the show to London is the first step in that. As one of the main cultural epicenters in Europe, London has multiple demonstrations of the amazing journey from street art to fine art.

Do you think the exhibition has the same resonance in different locations?
No Commission started in Miami during Art Basel 2015. After Miami we wanted to magnify the anticipation and discovery aspects, the Bronx was the perfect place for that. People were expecting to see us back at Art Basel Miami this year but we decided to shake things up and looked at London as the next activation city. The goal is for each new location to be different and each new show to be driven by the personality of the city.

Will you be bringing it to any other cities?
This a global movement.  More dates and cities will be announced very soon.

What is the selection process for artists for No Commission?
It is by invitation and we use a lot of resources to select our artists. From social media, to visiting art shows and artists’ studios… other artists make recommendations. I also have the curatorial support of Nicola Vassell from my team at The Dean Collection. We select the most interesting group of up-and-coming and established artists for each show.

What do you think the highlights of No Commission will be?
Our theme for No Commission London is “Juxtaposition.” The highlight will be the mix of street art and fine art. Street culture mixed with high culture. A bit of grit, a bit of glamour. The show is relatable to both art enthusiasts and people discovering art for the first time. By the artists, for the artists, for the people.

No Commission takes place at the Arches in Southwark, London, December 8–10, 2016.

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