Zoo Art Fair London 2008: A packed bore.

UGL (C) Alejandro Diaz courtesy The Happy Lion Gallery

Umong all the satelite art fairs around the Frieze Art Fair the Zoo Art Fair has the best repuation. This year I don' t think that is justified.


I think its reputation is caused by the fact that it is a


  • non-profit enterprise
  • funded by sponsors (major galleries, collectors, etc.)
  • and public funds

It is centrally locaed on the backside of the Royal Academy. But the rooms are very small and tight. That does not make it easy to present art in a good way.


The strict fire regulations have often caused a longer line in front of it. Even the megacollector Charles Saatchi, who happens to be a sponsor, was left waiting outside for some 20 minutes during the sponsor's VIP preview on Thursday.


What does a collector like Mr. Saatchi expect when he goes to the Zoo?


Fresh prey. There were 58 younger and smaller galleries showing art of artists not well known (to a moderate price).


If one of the megacollectors bought a work the prices of this artist will go up quickly. It is like Warren Buffett picking a certain share at the stock exchange: As the flock follows the price will increase.


I forgot what I was told that Mr. Saatchi and the like were said to have bought this year. I am sorry to say that I didn' t see much interesting art this year.


What I kept in mind was the neon work "Happiness is Expensive" by Alejandro Diaz. The edition of 3 was shown at the booth of The Happy Lion gallery, Los Angeles. The gallery director, Ms. Justin Izbinski, told me she sold it for $ 5,000 to a recently divorced US collector.


by Chris Neuschler


Read more about the Frieze Art Fair 2008 in London


Read more about the Scope Art Fair 2008 in London


Share your opinion with us!


Juliane, 16-04-09 13:45
I think the zoo art fair was not as bad, as U.G. wrote.

I especially liked the small Lehman Bros. coffee cup painting by Jorge Diezma.
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