In a city financially bogged down by what seems like an entire generation that can’t afford housing, an art fair might seem like an anachronism of sorts. A distant memory of things past, when people could afford trinketry; pretty things to look at, purchased on a whim with their extra money, for no reason other than the fact they liked it, and that they could.
The 2017 return of Sydney Contemporary, however, is demonstrable that not all things may be what they seem. This year will be the first time the once-biennial exhibition featuring exhibitors from all over the world will become an annual affair, only solidifying the viewpoint that Sydney’s once-dwindling arts scene is on the up-and-up.
While other art fairs (of which there are many) pitch themselves as somewhat ‘different’, ‘quirky’ or ‘edgy’, Sydney Contemporary has led the way since 2013 as the authority on contemporary Australian art and local exhibitors, without shutting our neighbours out, or creating an unnecessary air of exclusivity. The 2015 fair was a huge success, selling $14 million of art in the four day period. 30% of the exhibitors hailed from overseas, a welcome shake-up which invigorated the local scene and in turn, attracted foreign investment, a welcome injection of funding for our home-grown artists. The organisers also stayed ahead of the curve by putting a conscious focus on different, emerging mediums, namely video works.
While the room might be filled with money old and new, and deep-pocketed folk in skivvies, you’d be mistaken if you assumed that this is some sort of exclusive, intimidating hall of pretension. Propped up by the fact it coincides with Art Week, there’s art all around the surrounding venues and suburbs, and events abound wherever you look. While the fair will undoubtedly showcase the best of the best in contemporary art, expect to be exposed to a broad range of price points, with something on offer for everybody. They’ve even partnered with Art Money, a program designed to get people buying art with interest-free loans, so you can get some culture on your wall without denting the savings.
Sydney Contemporary has teamed up with Man of Many to offer readers 20% off the full price for opening night tickets and adult day tickets to the fair. Simply enter the code MANY at the checkout.