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A Decade of (Joburg) Art Fairs

For my sins I have been reporting on the FNB Joburg Art Fair for its decade long existence. I shared my insights on its evolution for a number of publications.

Limits and Freedom of Non Free Art - First published in the Mail & Guardian

The Joburg Art Fair sort of prepared us for Instagram. The visual overload of imagery during its inaugural opening in 2008, where Robin Rhode was the featured artist, was a novel sensation. The temporary white cubes demarcating gallery stands in the Sandton Convention Centre were heaving with art. Hanging work salon style was the rage in that first and subsequent years — until gallerists figured that less translates into more sales.

In the decade that this annual art event has existed much has changed: the art, the prices, the galleries and how Artlogic, the founder and organiser of the art fair, have confronted and displaced the event’s commercial function and advanced its “Africanness”. In other respects,