Nathan Clements-Gillespie Appointed New Director of London Fair Art16

After three editions, the "global" fair is still struggling to find its feet.

Nathan Clement-Gillespie has been appointed the new director of London's Art 16 fair. Photo: Art 16

Nathan Clement-Gillespie has been appointed the new director of London’s Art 16 fair.
Photo: Art16

What’s going on at Art16? Last Friday, the London art fair announced the appointment of Nathan Clements-Gillespie as director, following the surprise resignation of Kate Bryan after only 10 months at the helm.

According to the fair’s co-founder Tim Etchells, Bryan resigned after a sudden change of heart. Etchells told the Art Newspaper that Bryan wanted “to spend more time on developing her career in television and related interests.”  

Etchells revealed that he and co-founder Sandy Angus were “as surprised as anybody else,” at the unexpected decision.

The art fair is struggling to differentiate itself in the busy London art calendar. Photo: whalelifestyle.com

The art fair is struggling to differentiate itself in the busy London art calendar.
Photo: whalelifestyle.com

New director Clements-Gillespie joins the organization from MACRO, Rome’s Museum of Contemporary Art, where he served as director of external affairs for four years. He also worked on the Italian Pavilion at the 2013 Venice Biennale.

The new director faces a challenging tenure, as the fair—which changes its name every year—struggles to find a commercial and critical place in the Frieze-dominated London scene. Meanwhile, the younger (and smaller) fair START, whose second edition took place recently, got very positive reviews. Crucially, Niru Ratnam, the new director of START—a fair that shares its “global approach” with Art16—had previously worked as Head of Development for the fair Art14, another fleeting tenure.

Meanwhile, Etchells explained that Clements-Gillespie intends to maintain some of the new features introduced by his predecessor.

After taking the post last year, Bryan lowered the number of participants from 180 to 134, launched a special exhibition curated by the Royal Academy’s former director of exhibitions Kathleen Soriano, and launched the so-called New 100 Club, for young art collectors under 40.

Kate Bryan unexpectedly left her post to pursue her career in broadcasting and television. Image: Courtesy of Art15.com

Kate Bryan unexpectedly left her post to pursue her career in broadcasting and television.
Image: Courtesy of Art15.com

“Art16 is a fantastic platform to meet exciting galleries and artists not only from established markets such as London, continental Europe, and North America, but discover new talent from Lagos to Los Angeles, Havana to Hangzhou, and Sao Paolo to Seoul in dialogue with one another and with different art forms,” Clements-Gillespie said in a statement.

“When we met Nathan, Sandy and I were both very impressed by his entrepreneurial skills,”Etchells said of the appointment. “He is intellectual with a good commercial mind. Nathan will bring new ideas, he has a solid vision for the fair,” he added.


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