Dealers participating in the inaugural edition of the Object & Thing fair launching this week in Brooklyn (3-5 May) have welcomed the new model initiated by the fair organisers, who will charge a commission fee on all sales instead of charging the usual stand fees which can cost upwards of $5,000.
The fair’s founder, Abby Bangser, Frieze's former artistic director for the Americas and Asia, may lose money if sales are poor under her commission-only model (the rate is undisclosed). "It's true that we're running a risk, but so do galleries every time they participate in a fair,” she says. “Their only costs with us are shipping and insurance."
There are no dividing walls; art and design objects, priced from $1,000 to $50,000, are being shown in a free-flowing space designed by the architect Rafael de Cárdenas. "The goal conceptually is to erase the hierarchies between art and design so that everything is presented equally,” Bangser says.
Among the 32 participating galleries, Dorsey Waxter of Van Doren Waxter gallery in New York says: "I don't know of another fair that makes both the organiser and participating galleries equal partners. All galleries go to fairs and pay the attendant costs from stand booths to shipping. Sometimes, you come away from fairs with not much to show for. We'll be on an equal footing at Object & Thing.”
Wendy Olsoff, the founder of P.P.O.W. gallery, says:“I think any model that tries to disrupt or offer an alternative to the fair system should be applauded. The costs to galleries both in money and energy is enormous and this model is a welcome relief.” The gallery will show works by the US artist Ann Agee including Untitled (Garniture Drawing 2), 2015, priced at $12,000 (a selection of works available at the fair with prices can also be found online on a dedicated website).