Brussels’ Accessible Art Fair Has Big Plans for New York

Is Gramercy Park ready for it?

Kim de Molenaer, Scary Scrabee. Photo: courtesy the Accessible Art Fair.
Kim de Molenaer, Scary Scrabee. Photo: courtesy the Accessible Art Fair.

New York is welcoming yet another foreign-born art fair, with Brussels’s Accessible Art Fair set to touch down at the National Arts Club in November.

Founded by Stephanie Manasseh in 2007, the Accessible Art Fair looks to provide a platform for artistic talent without gallery representation. The fair’s new US partner, MvVO ART, will run the New York edition, which will be the first art fair held at the National Arts Club in Gramercy Park.

“In Brussels, the Accessible Art Fair has become a focal point of discovery of new talent and a chance for artists to launch their career,” Maria van Vlodrop, founder and president of MvVO ART, told artnet News in an e-mail. “The New York launch feels like a natural evolution. There is a wealth of unrepresented talent here that simply needs an opportunity to exhibit work.”

Jean Christophe Legreves, Maria van Vlodrop, and Stephanie Manasseh at the Accessible Art Fair launch in November 2015. <br>Photo: Victor Hugo, © Patrick McMullan.

Jean Christophe Legreves, Maria van Vlodrop, and Stephanie Manasseh at the Accessible Art Fair launch in November 2015.
Photo: Victor Hugo, © Patrick McMullan.

Other New York fairs are already built on this model, including Harlem’s FLUX Art Fair, which held its first edition during Frieze Week 2015, and 4heads‘ long-running Governors Island Art Fair, along with the newly-announced fair Portal, which will have its debut next month.

The Accessible Art Fair supports emerging and mid-career artists selling work from $2,000–20,000, and will not charge a commission for sales. Van Vlodrop expects a mix of painters, sculptors, and photographers from the US and Europe to take advantage of “the opportunity to sell their work directly to the public, without having to wait around to be discovered,” she said.

Guests at the Accessible Art Fair launch in November 2015. <br>Photo: Victor Hugo, © Patrick McMullan.

Guests at the Accessible Art Fair launch in November 2015.
Photo: Victor Hugo, © Patrick McMullan.

The fair, instead of having the typical four-day run, will be on view most of November, and will be book-ended with Halloween and Thanksgiving celebrations. “This is when auctioneers come to town, and we will be one of their destinations to visit,” said Van Vlodrop. She hopes to achieve a “boutique” feel and attract a “discerning audience.”

“Accessible does not mean affordable,” Van Vlodrop adds, differentiating it from the Affordable Art Fair, which holds editions in 15 cities worldwide.

A call for submissions for the upcoming fair is open through April 20, and participants will be selected by a jury which includes Shaune Arp of Gagosian gallery, Kevin Doyle of Sotheby’s, and art advisor Shari Brownfield, among others. If the Accessible Art Fair finds success in New York, MvVO ART is looking to expand the concept to other US cities.

The Accessible Art Fair, New York, will be held at the National Arts Club, 15 Gramercy Park South, November 1–25, 2016. 


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