PDN Photo of the Day

A Candid Look at Art Fairs

Gallery owners and their staff are usually hidden behind large entry desks and closed office doors. But at the major art fairs I’ve visited, like New York’s Armory Show and Art Basel in Miami and Switzerland, they’re in plain view in their booths. As if on stage, you can see art dealers meeting with collectors, selling and negotiating, talking on cell phones, working on laptops, and manipulating touch screens in 21st century postures newly adapted for the latest electronic devices. I found the lighting, costumes, and set design excellent for photographing these living dioramas, where the art world plays itself. — Courtesy Andy Freeberg

Andy Freeberg began his photography career in New York City where he was born. He shot celebrities and other editorial portraits for magazines like Rolling Stone, The Village Voice, and Fortune. He notes on his website, he entered the world of fine-art photograph as a “wry commentator on the art industry itself.” Freeberg’s project, Guardians, published in 2010, featured the women who guard the art in Russian museums. Freeberg’s newest project, “Art Fare,” continues his fascination with the intersection of art and the people associated with creating, marketing and selling it. Almost every image in the series is a candid photograph. He found the best time to take these images was over the weekend, when the dealers and gallerists weren’t overwhelmed with people walking by their booths, and they were just too exhausted to notice Freeberg’s presence. “Sean Kelly gave me the ‘gift’ of taking off his glasses and rubbing his eyes as I was framing up the picture with the giant hand from the Kehinde Wiley painting behind him [slide 9],” Freeberg told PDN via email. “I can’t imagine staging it any better than that.”

Art Fare” opens Thursday, June 26, at Andrea Meislin Gallery in New York City with a reception from 6–8 pm. A book by the same name is also available. Meet the artist Saturday, June 28 from 1–3 pm at the gallery for a book signing.


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