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November 2, 2010

Fairs, Please

By Spear's

The Connaught was not at its best. When gallerist Richard Nagy, sitting in the Coburg Bar, asked for a pastry or some cake (this was teatime), the waiter rather curtly told him he’d have to move to one of the restaurants if he wanted that.

The Connaught was not at its best. When gallerist Richard Nagy, sitting in the Coburg Bar, asked for a pastry or some cake (this was teatime), the waiter rather curtly told him he’d have to move to one of the restaurants if he wanted that.

This difficulty in transporting croissants between rooms apparently dwarfs that of transporting art between countries, since Nagy and Patrick Perrin were there to discuss October’s Pavilion of Art and Design (to be held once again in Berkeley Square), which Perrin co-founded and which has an international line-up of Modern galleries, including Ben Brown Fine Arts, Simon Dickinson Gallery and Galerie Gmurzynska. The Pavilion, which last year was a shocking pink shake-up of Berkeley Square, does not hold the white box-stands beloved of contemporary fairs but detailed and luxurious gallery spaces. (Last year Martin Summers re-created his riad-like living room.)

Perrin agreed with Henry Wyndham of Sotheby’s, who said back in the Nineties that the future was in art fairs, and related the story of how the head of a well-known but now defunct Bond Street gallery had questioned the wisdom of Perrin attending so many fairs. (That avian space imploded last year.) Perrin’s own fair combines Modern painting and design with Contemporary design, skirting around the space Frieze occupies and reflecting the eclectic nature of most collecting now; this year, tribal art has been introduced.

Nagy said fairs might be growing, but Modern galleries were dying off, thanks to very limited supply and the changing tastes of collectors. (The Indians may buy Western art, but the Chinese tend not to.) And because of the supply problem, he said, third XI work would soon be promoted to the second XI — but its quality would still be no better.

Come Frieze Week this October, the Pavilion will rise and the art will sell. And thanks to its colour, spotting it will be a piece of cake.

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