London’s Art15 Moves to an Already Cluttered May

Art14, opening night. Photo ©Written Light.

For its third edition, London’s second fair, Art15 will move from February to May, organizers announced on Tuesday evening. The fair will take place from May 21-23 with previews held on the 20th. That’s two weeks after the preview of next year’s Venice Biennale will take place. However, the fair says the biggest considerations were the Chinese New Year, which in 2015 would directly interrupt Art15 as well as Art Basel Hong Kong’s move to March.

Art15 founder Tim Etchells (who also founded ArtHK, which was purchased by Art Basel in 2012) said in a statement, “This is a great time to be in London and a convenient point in the busy international art calendar for gallerists, collectors, museum directors and curators to travel to the capital,” suggesting Britain’s less than splendid February weather might have also been a factor.

Should Frieze New York slide back one week in 2015 into the vacancy left by Art Basel in the second week of May, Etchells might have a difficult time attracting collectors and gallerists back across the Atlantic after having spent time in Venice and, possibly, at Berlin’s Gallery Weekend, the two weeks previous.

Thus, the move could very well be a repositioning of Art15, a pivot away from that trans-Atlantic base and towards the Asian market of Etchells’ previous venture. Already at Art14 this past February Hong Kong, Shanghai, and Singapore-based Pearl Lam Galleries was positioned right at the fair’s entrance.

Where Frieze has secured its place as a bastion of the British and European contemporary art, Art14 was reportedly more focused on highlighting lesser-known positions—at least to a European audience—from across Asia and Indian sub-continent. The fair is casting itself as alternative, one which is positioned as an equal to London’s main fair (significantly, the booth price per square meter at this year’s Art14 were £360 (US$602), almost exactly the £362 (US$605) charged at Frieze for their top spots). Prices at Art14 were much more inclusive though, starting at a few hundred pounds and topping around the half-million mark.

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