LONDON - Megan McCann is a Masters in Art Business student at the London campus of Sotheby's Institute of Art. When she graduates in September 2015, she hopes to pursue collections management and buying opportunities in London or Dubai.
She shares her experience being a tour guide for visitors of the London Art Fair in January 2015.
I was given the great opportunity to represent both Sotheby’s Institute and London Art Fair as a contemporary art tour guide. The art fair was dedicated to Modern British and contemporary art, with the galleries split throughout the fair quite evenly, allowing the visitor an uninterrupted and visually stimulating experience throughout their tour.
London Art Fair 2015.
What especially drew my attention were two curated sections on new work, young galleries, talks, tours and screenings taking place - which included talks by Sotheby’s Institute of Art regulars, Anders Pettersen (ArtTactic Founder & MD) and Mary Rozell (Director of Art Business, Sotheby’s Institute New York). The Art Projects Artist Award, sponsored by Sotheby’s Institute of Art was also a huge highlight at the fair, with Jeremy Hutchison being selected as the winner of this year’s award.
As part of a group of Sotheby's students recruited by Craig Brown, the Sales Manager at London Art Fair and a Sotheby's Institute alumni, I lead specialised tours around the fair. My role was to guide groups of VIPs around the fair and introduce them to a number of gallery directors. I acted as a mediator between the gallery directors and the tour group, allowing the galleries to introduce the artists represented at the fair, and to encourage the visitors to engage in discussions.
The tour began with two galleries – Jack Bell Gallery and Vigo Gallery – providing us with a contrasting set of works. Jack Bell Gallery represents Western and Sub-Saharan artists, showcasing artists such as Leonce Raphael Agbojelou and Hamidou Maiga. Vigo Gallery in contrast, featured paintings from Oliver Marsden and Konstantino Dregos, with work by Oliver Marsden reminiscent of the importance of the ‘visual harmonics’ as he says it best.
Our tour then took us up through to the Dialogues part of the fair, which was an area curated by Anna Colin, featuring paired collaborations between invited international and UK galleries. Here the visitors were able to not only exchange with the directors regarding the represented artists, but to also discuss the curatorial conversations that took place between the galleries.
Megan McCann is a Masters in Art Business student at the London campus of Sotheby's Institute of Art.
The end of the tour led us to the Catlin Art Guide, a booth dedicated to Justin Hammond’s quest to discover the latest emerging contemporary artists as found in various degree shows the year prior. After travelling across England, he compiles an exhaustive list of artists together in to a book of works that he exhibits at the fair with a small selection of the artists featured.
One of my personal highlights from the London Art Fair was the huge variety of work on show. I only recognized a handful of the works on display from the contemporary gallery booths I visited and found it incredibly exciting to be introduced to so many new and dynamic artists. I would highly recommend visiting the fair in its 28th edition next January, as it provides a breath of fresh air and an invigorating start to the annual art fair frenzy.
The role as tour guide allowed me to meet some incredible individuals and galleries. The artworks I have been exposed to and the overall experience has inspired my own academic work, and will feed in to my MA thesis in the future. Working for the fair meant I was able to visit it as it opened, watching the stands being built and taken down, and to see art works being hung, sold and replaced throughout the fair. I was given an amazing "fly on the wall" experience in to the workings of both the art fair itself and the various galleries and projects taking place within it. I am hoping to work within an art fair in the near future, and the experience has further piqued my interest in to an exciting component of the art world.