The second Turbine Art Fair took place recently in the Turbine Hall in Newtown. Once again, the fair positioned itself as an ‘affordable contemporary art fair’, with all works priced below R30 000. An additional aspect of the fair was accessibility – with a concerted effort being made to attract new audiences to come and view and engage with art. Many of the country’s leading galleries showed works by top artists, allowing visitors to actually contemplate buying and owning an artwork for themselves. A Deborah Bell, Walter Battiss, and Norman Catherine could each be picked up for under R10 000. And below the R5 000 price tag were innumerable gorgeous works by a myriad of different artists.
The fair also included a talks programme, where industry experts shared their knowledge and experience of the art world to further enhance the notion of accessibility. The talks programme featured a list of prominent local industry professionals, yet the attendance was relatively poor. Is this indicative of the general public’s general lack of interest in art beyond something you might look at on the weekend? Does it compound the perception that art is elitist and cliquey? Either which way, it’s a pity because the intention was to foster inclusion and create awareness – the sentiment of the entire fair. Presumably, the art world has a long hard road ahead of it if it wants to descend off its high-horse.