Art Cologne and Berlin Gallery Weekend Reach Compromise Over Scheduling Clash

Both events will open a day earlier than previously planned.

Art Cologne. Courtesy Koelnmesse.

Germany’s art scene collectively sighed in relief after a compromise was reached to mitigate a scheduling clash between its two flagship art events—Berlin’s Gallery Weekend and the fair Art Cologne.

A dispute arose after Art Cologne, the world’s oldest art fair, announced that its 2017 edition would take place from April 28 to May 1, the dates traditionally occupied by Berlin’s Gallery Weekend, a popular format in which over 50 Berlin galleries host openings on the same weekend.

Art Cologne director Daniel Hug insisted that he only wanted to avoid an overlap with the Easter holidays in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia. In 2011 and 2014, an overlap between the fair and the holidays resulted in reduced sales for several galleries.

20 Years Galerie Neu at their new space on Linienstrasse Photo: Marco Funke, courtesy Gallery Weekend Berlin

Galerie Neu at its new space on Linienstrasse. Photo Marco Funke, courtesy of Gallery Weekend Berlin.

However, Berlin interpreted the clash as an affront, and several Berlin-based dealers publicly announced that if it came down to making a decision between the two events, they would support the capital’s Gallery Weekend and drop out of Art Cologne.

Now, a compromise seems to have been reached. Art Cologne’s 2017 edition will run from Tuesday April 25 to Saturday April 29, starting one day earlier. Meanwhile, Gallery Weekend will presumably open a day early too, on Thursday April 27.

Benjamin Agert spokesman for Art Cologne told Art Magazin that the decision to reschedule was “as fortunate as is possible under the circumstances” and Gallery Weekend spokeswoman Silke Neumann said it was a “good solution.”

Daniel Hug Director of Art Cologne, Photo: courtesy of koelnmesse

Daniel Hug Director of Art Cologne,
Photo: courtesy of koelnmesse

The compromise also seems to have sufficiently appeased Berlin gallerist Johann König, one of the most vocal critics of the clash. “I’m very much looking forward to the next Art Cologne,” he told the German art publication, and called the compromise “totally super.”

Gallerist Christian Nagel, who operates spaces in both cities and is said to have worked hard behind the scenes to find a solution, called the whole dispute an “overreaction,” and said he was happy a mutually beneficial agreement was found.

In fact, the proximity of the two events could convince a greater international audience and collector base to make the trip to Germany next spring. In 2018, Art Cologne will take place in mid April again, but in 2019, the Easter holiday schedule means that another clash is likely to happen.

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