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#189 Affordable Art Fair

March 18, 2011

Crazed back-and-forth bike machine art in the entrance to AAF. Bless.

The Affordable Art Fair always sounded like a good idea to us. The world needs something between the impossibility of the stark white conceptual art galleries and the chavved-up pictures of Reservoir Dogs with Stormtrooper helmets HAHAHA OH MY SIDES  you sometimes see in high street art places.

The Affordable Art Fair takes its earthly form as an art gallery crossed inoffensively with a trade expo, but without the soul-withering arseholiness that implies. Everything’s on sale at the Affordable Art Fair, and nothing costs more than £4000 – yeah, we know, but this doesn’t do justice to the fact that you can find prints for £20 there too. After the enforced ugliness of the high art world, it’s really refreshing to see so much contemporary art made because it looks pretty. God, we’re so middlebrow I’m going to puke.

This is completely unrepresentative of the art, which included giant mirror bears, flocked stags coming out of walls, hologram dancers, giant collages and sculptures of fat heads. Not just flower pictures. Cheers.

So what kind of style tribe would you expect to find in a place that sells superior art?  That’s right: accessorised super-mummies with deadly Maclaren buggies, serious dads with tank tops and greying ex-Clapham quiffs, roving packs of terrifying artophiles from the upper echelons, eager gallery reps pushing promotional postcards in your hand; and in the midst of it all, a few tremulous artists clutching glasses of fortifying booze and trying not to have public nervous breakdowns, which would drive down prices. White people, eh?

This is more like it. Modish and unique. If this were 'journalism' we'd give you some names of artists. But it's a 'wanky internet diary', so I guess you're out of luck.

Despite – no, actually because – I have no clue about art, everything looked extremely slick and sellable here. No paradigms were being overtly redefined; no criticisms were being made of obscure early 20th-century linguistic philosophers. This art wasn’t a comment on other artists’ art. It was all about colours and forms, and what would fit by the skylight in the hall next to the Barcelona chair. It was hard-working and well-behaved. That’s not to say there was no vision or imagination here; far from it. It just operated on different paradigms. There was one rule that was universally followed, though: while it is frowned upon to draw or paint rabbits, depicting hares is really cool and fashionable. The bloody things were everywhere. God knows why. Maybe there’s a Lambeth by-law or something.

The best thing about the AAF was that anyone could turn up with no planning, just a set budget, and conceivably come away with something marvellous. We didn’t buy anything, by the way, because we’re spending all our cash trying to negate a gypsy’s curse. Duh.

This AAF was in Battersea Park – there’s an AAF in Islington in October.

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