October 28th, 2009
Upon my move to Amsterdam, I reached out to the Dutch Tourism Board in an effort to introduce myself (get plugged into upcoming events) as a new journalist. Just my luck, they were extremely responsive (far nicer than the PR department at KLM) and right away I was invited to the preview party of Amsterdam’s annual Affordable Art Fair.
I must admit, I was very eager to go and for more than just professional reasons…after all, this was to be my debut on the Dutch media scene! And maybe, just maybe, my husband and I would spot something suitable for our new home.
The Affordable Art Fair debuted in London in 1999 by a gallery owner in Battersea and from there the idea caught on like wildfire. Cities like New York, Melbourne and Glasgow called him, eager to do the same – encourage art enthusiasts of all wallet sizes with over 500 galleries showing. Though the AAF events are connected by name, each city has its own management office and given art tastes differ from city to city. In Amsterdam, the art tends to be more Modern than traditional or contemporary.
The entry price for Amsterdam’s fair is said to be 100 euro, though the least expensive thing I spied was 600. My husband and I biked to the fair (naturally), which was housed in a former gas warehouse just beyond the center of the city – very industrial chic.
The opening party attracted hordes of people (so much for it being the exclusive press debut I had hoped for) and appeared to be a huge success. People were milling about, wine glass in hand jovially chatting while gallery reps were eager to share information and push the sell. Some looked as though they were there purely for the social benefit.
Walking around, I was surprised to find a few things that caught my eye. Admittedly, I am hardly an art conaisseur, let alone Modern Art.
Just as we were about to leave, my husband and I actually happened upon a print that we both adored. As the gallery manager pushed his go-to line, “It’s so rare when both members of the couple are drawn to a piece equally”. We shared a longing look and excitedly secured of our first art purchase.
From up-and-coming English artist Carl Moore, “The Cow Who Wanted to be a Tiger” caught us both with its charm and color scheme and given our own tiger fantasies, seemed like a must-have. The print is one of a series of 25 animals that Moore has done and we hope (once our wallets expand) to add a few of the others to our collection.
The Affordable Art Fair in Amsterdam runs through the first week of November and then heads back down to Sydney and then to London in March 2010. Be sure to check any of them out if you can. They’re a great time to mingle if not, purchase.