Art Cologne, 50th anniversary of the world’s first contemporary art fair
Art Market | Excluded from the pool of top tier art fairs in the 2000’s when a highly competitive market emerged, Art Cologne brilliantly continues a process of re-internationalization begun in 2009 by director Daniel Hug. This effective strategy coupled with consistently high standards is returning Kunstmarkt Köln 67 to the ranks of a major fair.
In its 50th year, Art Cologne brings together 219 galleries from 25 countries. 86% of galleries are either European or have European branches – with 47% being German. Next is the United States (8%) ; overall 23 galleries have a foot on the American continent (including Canada and Mexico) for a total of 9%. As in prior years, few Asian galleries are present - Pearl Lam (Hong Kong), Whitestone, Taguchi fine art, Akira Ikeda and Nanzuka (Tokyo), Jhaveri Contemporary (Bombay) – with only 10 of the 219 participating galleries having a branch on the Asian continent (4%).
Art Cologne follows a coherent project with clear objectives : position and activate the Western international market, capitalize on the efficiency of existing gallery and collector networks worldwide, avoid outrageous and excessive marketing and publicity campaigns, establish an environment for trade and responsible investment.
The Kœlnmesse space is organized for the comfort of collectors and ease of use, building on last year’s model. The first two floors are devoted to the Galléries section, with the first floor featuring long term trends in modern and post-war art, and the second focusing on current trends and big names in international contemporary art. The third and forth floors are for discovering emerging artists or rediscovering lesser-known works, bringing together the New Contemporaries section – reserved for galleries created in the 21st century- and Collaboration. This section, the result of a partnership between Art Cologne and NADA (New Art Dealer Alliance) highlights collaborative projects such as galleries pairing up to share stands. A dozen such initiatives, including the exhibition of works by Lisa Beck and John Tremblay by the Parisian galleries Samy Abraham and Triple V, turn the fair into a breeding ground for up and coming international galleries.
To this space/time structuring can be added the carefully thought-out VIP space. These efforts facilitate a better global understanding of the fair, aid in processing the large amount of textual and visual information inherent in such an event, allow to better target purchases and thus stimulate transactions. The 50th anniversary of Art Cologne, the market pioneer, confirms its positions as a major, if resolutely Western, international fair.