There could be no better statement on the status-driven nature of collecting art than use of the term “affordable’ in describing the art for sale at the 20th annual Affordable Art Fair, running this weekend at The Metropolitan Pavilion. Affordable is defined as something “reasonably priced.” In this particular instance, that means art with a price tag ranging between $100 and $10,000, which begs the question (as it pertains to contemporary art), what the fuck even is “reasonable”?
Is it the price tag in relation to the cost of the materials (srsly, there ain’t enough gold leaf in the world)? Perhaps, it relates to the creative originality of the work, which is a whole different kettle of fish. More likely, it’s something closer to the economic value attached to an artist’s name. This is nothing new. The intersection of art and commerce has long been a topic of heated debate. Yet still, adding insult to injury, this word – affordable.
Affordable gives off an air of inclusivity, a sense that you, the common man, can also enjoy the high-browed fruits of the fine art world. “Art is for everyone,” as the Affordable Art Fair proclaims. Keeping things quotidian, we approached the fair as we would going into any old marketplace in search of a good deal. All things relative, we kept our criteria as egalitarian as possible, removing any investment considerations and simply looking at the artwork as objects for sale – that’s the point, right?
Combing through the 70 local, national and international galleries present, we located what we thought were the best deals to be had. In keeping with the mostly random nature that value is attached to fine art, our basic criteria was locating anything under 800 bucks that we’d genuinely be pleased to have on our walls. The result can be found below, our guide to the most affordable art (still up for grabs) at the Affordable Art Fair.
The Affordable Art Fair takes place at The Metropolitan Pavilion, 125 W 18th St., and runs through the end of this weekend, with tickets priced between $10-$30.