The moment you buy a ticket you know what this fair is all about... £34.40 which includes a booking fee and a transaction fee, yes it's all about money. 70,000 visitors around £2.4 million in entrance fees and that's not counting exhibitor fees and corporate sponsorship. It's about being seen and being able to show that you can afford to be seen. If you're still unsure a £30 catalogue and more security than the Queen gets leaves you in no doubt.
There is a lane for VIP's and it's very apparent you're not in it as very pretty girls dressed in black point you in the opposite direction to those that are obviously better than you, oops sorry I mean richer. You are a plebian and can't afford to be on that side of the rope, and presumably it's for the coffee tables of our betters the £30 catalogue is destined.
Then there is the art. There were some thoughtful , well crafted, sometimes amusing great pieces on show and it was worth a visit to enjoy these. Unfortunately they were somewhat overwhelmed by the 80% of badly created, unfinished, little thought out works that dominate. A chain hung from a ceiling with sunglasses stuck to it, a bannister jutting out of the wall, and some tights filled with sand hanging out of a bowl are the kind of works that leave me cold, and as for the four people with their heads poking through a black cotton sheet with four holes cut in it, well it's plainly not my kind of art.
Okay I get it the controversial aspect is supposed to make you think. So I've thought.... so what. When you actually get close to the vast majority of badly produced paintings, chairs with a post-it note on, piles of brica-brac, rocks, old crates and other bits of evereyday rubbish masquerading as art you realise that the formula is really very simple, for most of the artists at least. Expend the absolute minimum amount of effort to achieve the highest price.
This article is for all us hard working artists who produce good pieces of art at reasonable prices that we labour over so as to make the damn thing look perfect for our clients. It's for those artists who clearly have a huge amount of skill and create beautiful objects and paintings, art, which is often hidden by the obvious tat that surrounds it.
It's not rocket science in any other industry badly produced trash would not survive, but because it's labelled art the art establishment get away with it.
So if you are an Oligarch or have just received your financial bonus and can afford some of this dross, wouldn't you be better off demonstrating you had real taste and buy some art from real artists who can demonstrate that the sole purpose of their passion isn't just to rip you off.