A New Brussels Art Fair for Nearly a Dozen Belgian Galleries Is the Latest Signal That the Industry Is Going Local

The Warehouse Art Fair is being spearheaded by the Maruani Mercier gallery.

The venue for Warehouse Art Fair. Courtesy Maruani Mercier.

The leading Belgian art gallery Maruani Mercier is launching a new in-person art fair in November.

Called Warehouse Fair, the event will bring together 11 Belgian galleries in a converted, industrial space of 15,000 square feet in Zaventem on the outskirts of Brussels.

The Belgian capital famously boasts an extraordinary number of art collectors per capita, and dealers are hoping to capitalize on that wealth as the fall art season kicks off after months of stasis.

“As international fairs are cancelled around the world and art lovers are staying home, we believe small local fairs are the best response to the COVID-19 crisis,” Laurent Mercier, managing partner at Maruani Mercier, said in a statement.

The fair, which takes place November 13 through 15, will be organized free of charge to participants, nor will the organizers take a cut of sales. “We don’t want to make any money,” Mercier tells Artnet News. “On the contrary, we offer the space and obviously some of our human resources to organize it free of charge.”

In line with many shifting paradigms of the art world, the organizers are also trying to do away with booth hierarchies by randomly drawing names from a hat to determine stand placements in the warehouse.

“My goal is to host a fair focused on exhibitors, one where industry politics don’t count,” Mercier says.

Aside from the hosts, exhibiting galleries include Almine Rech, Baronian Xippas, CLEARING, Gladstone, Mendes Wood DM, Nathalie Obadia, Patrick De Brock, Sophie Van de Velde, Sorry We’re Closed, and Templon.

Maruani Mercier is not alone in creating a local art fair. The Berlin gallerist Johann Konig launched his own fair, Messe in St. Agnes, in June, and will be holding a second edition to coincide with Berlin Art Week and this year’s Gallery Weekend Berlin.

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