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New Art Fair ART DÜSSELDORF: big names for the premiere

Published on 11/13/2017 by Christoph Spangenberg
Art Düsseldorf 2017 (MCH Group)

Well-known galleries, cooperation with The Armory Show of New York and a new image recognition app: the first ART DÜSSELDORF will be starting in a few days' time at the Areal Böhler (17 to 19 November). Its directors wish to boost the Rhineland as an art location and address young collectors in particular. 

Update: images from the preview at the bottom

The team are both excited and delighted. In just a few days’ time the Rhineland will have a new art fair when ART DÜSSELDORF celebrates its premiere in the Areal Böhler. “We are delighted by the positive reactions at all levels and can scarcely believe that we’ve arrived at this point”, says director Walter Gehlen. A total of 270 applications were received in the run-up to the fair by Gehlen and his co-director Andreas Lohaus, and around 80 galleries were selected. Due to space constraints, says Gehlen. And because we prefer to keep the art fair compact and of a high quality in just two exhibition halls. “We would rather stage an exclusive but top-level fair that develops the same appeal as much bigger fairs. 

A glance at the participating galleries reveals well-known names such as Marlborough Contemporary and David Zwirner from New York. Additional participants originate from Japan, Israel, Uruguay and Turkey. At around 60 percent, the majority of galleries come from Germany and the Benelux states. Some 20 galleries are located in Cologne and Düsseldorf. A special feature of ART DÜSSELDORF: the "References", specially highlighted stands that are distributed throughout the fair. Here, galleries set contemporary works of art against a masterpiece dating from the time before 1945. 

“Prices start in the three-digit range” - introducing new collectors to art too

As an art fair, ART DÜSSELDORF is aimed primarily at collectors, gallery owners and curators. And it similarly wishes to appeal to young collectors. They can acquire works of art without having to raid their bank accounts. "Prices start in the three-digit range, at considerably below 1000 euros”, says Gehlen. “Works in higher price segments are naturally offered for established collectors too.” Gehlen considers it important that those wishing to make their first purchases are familiarised with art and can acquire competence. Guided tours and panel discussions are provided to this end.

Walter Gehlen, Andreas Lohaus, Art Düsseldorf (MCH Group)

And what do people do who wish to start collecting art? “They should first take a look round the fair at their own pace and talk to gallery owners”, says Gehlen. The latter are indispensable advisors for building up a collection and making the appropriate purchases. Spontaneous purchases can, of course, also provide the foundation stone for a collection.

New app with image recognition sends work of art to smartphone

Whether spontaneous purchasers or experienced collectors: all visitors will be able to use the new ART DÜSSELDORF app for the first time. The app contains all the works of art of the participating galleries, coupled with the latest image recognition technology. If the user photographs a work of art, they will immediately receive all the associated information as well as a high-resolution picture on their smartphone. They can then select this as a favourite, download it, or share it on social media. It is a completely new way of combining a classical fair catalogue with the physically present works of art and of enabling visitors to experience an art fair. “Digital innovations are particularly important for Art Düsseldorf and we are delighted to be setting a new standard”. The app will fundamentally change the way in which visitors interact with art fairs”, says Gehlen. The app is part of PRNCPL, a new technology platform for the art scene (Link zum PRNCPL Blog). PRNCPL was developed by the team of the online platform, which has belonged to the MCH Group since 2016.

Cooperation with The Armory Show of New York

Gehlen and Lohaus wish to offer the art scene something outside the three-day fair too. “We see ourselves as a clear 365 platform and would like to network collectors and exhibitors throughout the year”, says Gehlen. To achieve this, ART DÜSSELDORF and “The Armory Show” art fair of New York are teaming up to stage reciprocal events. In addition, Lohaus and Gehlen are planning to cooperate on setting up exhibition platforms in the Rhineland and the Benelux region. The first project was conducted in cooperation with DC Open, a weekend on which some 50 galleries based in Cologne and Düsseldorf celebrated the start of the season (> New tech platform PRNCPL: How two founders want to revolutionize the art fair experience).

Areal Böhler, Art Düsseldorf (MCH Group)

And how difficult is it now to establish a new art fair? “We are convinced that we have created the right environment – that was something we noticed when we were engaged in all the preparations already.” The halls on this former industrial site have already been reserved for next year.

ART DÜSSELDORF, 17-19 November, Opening 16 November 2017, Areal Böhler, Düsseldorf. Information:

ART DÜSSELDORF is one of the MCH Group’s Regional Art Fairs. The live-marketing company group is building up a global portfolio of leading regional art fairs and wishes to contribute to boosting the regional art markets in this way. The portfolio is being developed by cooperating with experienced partners in the form of joint ventures, acquisitions and the launching of new projects.

Preview image sources: Sebastian Drüen.

Art Düsseldorf 2017. Photo: Sebastian Drüen (MCH Group)
Christoph Spangenberg

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