The art world has a reputation for being inaccessible and expensive. The Other Art Fair, a relatively new travelling art fair, is trying to change that.
Founded in London a decade ago, the show is focused on introducing new audiences to the exhibition experience and giving new artists an opportunity to have their work showcased. This past weekend The Other Art Fair brought this mentality to Greenpoint with an in-person fair at the Brooklyn Expo Center.
Fair director Nicole Garton discussed The Other Art Fair’s work and the vibrancy of North Brooklyn’s art community.
“The art world is definitely exclusive and intimidating for a lot of people, including people who consider themselves collectors,” Garton said. “They feel intimidated walking into a gallery. No one wants to feel stupid asking about the price of an artwork.”
The Other Art Fair is designed to be accessible to new art audiences, with many pieces selling for less than $100 (the Greenpoint Fair features prices as low as $30). All prices are displayed clearly on the artwork as well to add transparency to the purchasing process.
“Some people might not be ready to buy art, but maybe they just want to be around it or experience a fun day out,” Garton explained. “So it’s been a hallmark of the fairs that we always have a bar, DJs, and fun interactive elements so you can at least be part of it and participate and have some fun. If you find some art you love, it will be even better.”
In addition to exposing new audiences to artwork, The Other Art Fair works to expose new, undiscovered artists to the world.
“The spirit of the fair is to help provide a platform for artists who maybe are just starting out or they’re advanced in their career but they don’t have a gallery representing them,” Garton said. “It’s been a great way for artists to realize that they don’t have to rely on a gallery necessarily to have a career. You can be an independent artist at the fair and sell your work directly and just connect to your buyers.”
To increase the connection between artists and audiences, The Other Art Fair always has featured artists attend the fair in person. The artwork on display includes pieces from local artists, artists throughout the country, and artists across the globe.
The Brooklyn Fair is supported by a particularly large community of artists working and living in the borough.
“I’ve heard it said that as a stand-alone borough, Brooklyn is the fourth largest city in America,” Garton said. “So this is a legitimate place that has its own community, its own values, its own pulse. I think Manhattan gets enough attention, so we really wanted to embrace what’s going on here natively in a really organic way.
“I think, of our exhibitors, about 65 percent are based in New York City,” she added. “And so many of those are actually working here in Greenpoint, so they’re just a few blocks from where they do their work every day.”
Garton believes that art is a more fulfilling experience when viewed up close, and is particularly happy that the Brooklyn fair is being held in person.
“Some things you just can’t really appreciate online,” she said while discussing the pandemic’s impact on the art world. “So I think right now I’m kind of diving into the three-dimensional works with lots of texture, just because my eyes have been starved for that for so long. That’s been a highlight.”
The Brooklyn fair attracts visitors from far and wide, with art lovers traveling from as far away as Toronto, Ohio and North Carolina. The Other Art Fair hopes to make visitors feel welcome in Brooklyn.
“You don’t need to have an advanced degree to appreciate art,” Garton said. “It’s kind of like with music, you can turn on the radio and just respond to what you like. So with art, you can just come to see what’s happening. And if you fall in love with something, you can bring it home, put it on your wall, and live with it.”