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WW Gallery at the London Art Fair 2011

Work by Susie Hamilton

Event preview

WW GALLERY will be at Stand P9 in Art Projects at the London Art Fair 2011 (January 19 to January 23) with a curated group exhibition entitled Art Star Superstore.

Art fairs, scoff the critics, have become shopping malls for the super-rich. They are giant marketplaces for the wealthy to buy, invest and speculate on the commodity of art. As the critic Jerry Saltz put it, “art fairs are perfect storms of money marketability and instant gratification.”

Perhaps in response to this, project spaces are becoming increasingly popular at art fairs. However, the inclusion of these curated stalls is looked upon by cynical critics as an attempt to provide something non-commercial and ‘edgy’, which as such, becomes a mere marketing exercise to promote the capitalist core of the fair.

Are these criticisms justified? Are art fairs about money not art? Or are they in fact a lifeline for artists and the perfect place to see art from all over the world? There is some hypocrisy in attacking a forum from which one directly or indirectly makes money, whether as an art critic, art maker or art promoter, so why bite the hand that feeds?

Taking its cue from this debate and taking inspiration from galleries that sell brand-name artists (whose works are not so much looked at as bought in bulk), WW’s curatorial concept for the London Art Fair 2011 is to model its stand on an aisle in a superstore.

The curators Debra Wilson and Chiara Williams will employ a variety of marketing devices and have selected a range of art ‘products’ – from value to brand – to grace the shelves of the WW Art Star Superstore, which comes complete with a checkout.

A limited edition of 250 ‘Art Star Superstore’ branded, cotton shopping bags will be on sale for £5 and prices of art works range from £3 to £6,000.

WW’s presence at the art fair will extend beyond stand P9 in Art Projects, in the form of uniformed promo girl Sadie Hennessy, who will be circulating throughout the fair selling editions of her works for just £3 each. She will be hoping to appeal to the sweet tooth of the art fair’s visitors with her ‘Gary Glitter Rock’, which made headlines and caused a public outcry when it appeared in an installation at the Whitstable Biennale in June 2010.

Exhibiting artists are: Siobhan Barr, Wendy Elia, Susie Hamilton, Sadie Hennessy, Marguerite Horner, Valerie Jolly, Jarik Jongman, Liane Lang, Eva Lis, Enzo Marra, Rob Miller, Eleanor Moulsdale, Gustavo Murillo, Sardine and Tobleroni, Ayuko Sugiura, Boa Swindler and Chiara Williams.

London Art Fair, Business Design Centre, Islington, London, N1