Cologne Fine Art Fair Launches Contemporary Branch—Is Art Cologne Getting a Competitor?

Cologne Fine Art has struggled to maintain relevance in an increasingly crowded fair calendar. Photo: vernissage tv cia YouTube

Changes are coming to Germany’s Rhineland. In an attempt to revitalize the region’s aging art fair, Cologne Fine Art (COFA), organizers have announced a new sister-fair called “COFA Contemporary.”

According to COFA director Cornelia Zinken, the contemporary branch of the fair will run as a one-time pilot event from November 19-22, 2015, on the second floor of COFA’s traditional venue at Kölnmesse.

Cologne Fine Art has traditionally focused on modern art, old masters and antiques. Photo: World Guide

Cologne Fine Art has traditionally focused on modern art, old masters, and antiques.
Photo: World Guide

The first edition will operate as an invitation-only fair, and is set to feature circa 100 galleries including 40 to 50 from Germany’s Rhineland region. In order to make the fair accessible to young galleries, the participation fee starts at a discounted rate of €4,200 for a 30 square meter booth.

Zinken told Handelsblatt that galleries have responded enthusiastically to the new format. “The invited galleries and project spaces have been selected in advance in collaboration with various stakeholders, including gallery owners from Cologne and Düsseldorf,” she explained. “But we have also asked curators from the region for advice.”

The younger, contemporary format will operate on a pilot, invitation-only format this November. Photo:

The younger, contemporary branch will operate on a pilot, invitation-only format this November.

Galleries such as Nagel/Draxler (Cologne/Berlin); Cosar HMT (Düsseldorf); Sies + Hoeke Galerie (Düsseldorf); Van Horn (Düsseldorf); Philipp von Rosen (Cologne); Conrads (Düsseldorf); and Thomas Rehbein (Cologne), have already booked their booths.

The restructuring is part of a rebranding strategy which organizers hope will give the region a fresher, more cutting-edge image. In the past decade Germany’s art scene has all but migrated to Berlin, leaving the once all-powerful Rhineland region struggling to compete.

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