Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The FIAC, or art as a commodity

A week or so after the end of the Paris Fashion Week and the Mondial de l’Automobile, another important business fair is coming to the city this Thursday (until Sunday 24th), but this time the commodity is art. The annual FIAC (Foire Internationale d'Art Contemporain) event in Paris has become something of a circus, but there is no denying its rising importance in the art world.

Based largely in the Grand Palais and in the gardens of the Louvre, the event attracts a large portion of the world’s most prestigious private art galleries who come to display their offerings to potential clients. The fact that one of the prizes being awarded at the event is the Prix Artfloor Platinum Mastercard should tell you all you need to know about the key resource required for visitors.

The FIAC is not just one event though, but also a series of smaller off events. A useful list of these can be found on the Vingt Paris website,
who also point out helpfully that “unlike the fashion world’s week of exclusive velvet rope spectacles, FIAC is open to the public”. Well, yes, this is true, but only if you have a spare 28 Euros to spend.

Hardly an inclusive event then, but one that instead seems to perpetuate the conception of modern art as play thing of the rich. In times of recession though, is art, like gold, a safe haven for battered capital? The Art Newspaper seemed to suggest otherwise in April of this year, but that shouldn’t stop investors from flocking to Paris this weekend. Let’s just hope they look at the works on display as artistic creations and not as a commodity with the potential to realise a substantial future increase in value.

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