Off Vendome’s 5-Gallery Frieze Week Show Aims to Attract Quality Visitors

The dealer wants to offer "something totally different than a fair."

Frieze Week in New York is just around the corner, which means that hoards of international collectors and art lovers will be flocking to the big white tent on Randall’s Island, including (fingers crossed), Leonardo DiCaprio.

But while the city’s art folks hustle over to the Frieze ferry, New York-based dealer Matt Moravec from Off Vendome is inviting five galleries to put on a show at his “off” Chelsea space.

The network of galleries include New York-based Real Fine Arts and Bridget Donahue, Düsseldorf-based Galerie Max Mayer, London-based Chewday’s, and Los Angeles-based Jenny’s, all of which are in Moravec’s circle. “I invited galleries that I felt would benefit most from something of this nature, peers that are showing a high caliber of art and are not overly commercially driven.”

Moravec first opened his gallery in Düsseldorf in 2013, and one can expect a heavy mix of North American and German artists on view, including the likes of Lena Henke, Mathis Gasser, Melanie Gilligan, Lynn Hershman Leeson, Jessi Reaves, Andrei Koschmieder, and Sam Pulitzer.

Image: Courtesy of Off Vendome Gallery.

Image: Courtesy of Off Vendome Gallery.

The up-and-coming dealer hopes to offer collectors “something totally different than a fair.” While fairs provide young galleries exposure to international collectors, sales are what count at the end of the day. And for a young gallery, the fee to enter into a fair is prohibitively high, with most sales barely covering costs.

Off Vendome’s gallery share will “be more amenable to hanging out,” says Moravec. Participating galleries won’t have to pay a fee, which means “less pressure on [them] [to bring] explicitly salable work.” He hopes this model will “offer more freedom in terms of presentation,” and as a result, in terms of consumption.

Moravec is aware collectors buying from the participating galleries are a small but distinct group, which is exactly how he wants to keep it. “I’m hoping to pull quality, not just quantity, of visitors.”

As for repeating the model in the future, Moravec told artnet News he doesn’t have specific plans. But as fairs become increasingly more expensive he hopes “more gallerists look for alternative models using their existing infrastructures.”

“Gallery Share” at Off Vendome opens May 5 – 8, 2016 in New York at 254 W 23rd Street.

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