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The Fair Economy: How Art Fairs Have Reshaped the Art Market
Speaker(s): Cristina Salmastrelli, Elena Zavelev, Eric Smith, Juliet Helmke, Maureen Bray, Mikhaile Solomon

The Fair Economy: How Art Fairs Have Reshaped the Art Market

Probably the most urgent challenge facing the arts sector concerns the question of representation and the responsibility of everyone working within the arts to encourage more egalitarianism through providing platforms and opportunities to a different voice.

Talk Details

One of the most significant developments has been the emergence of The Art Fair which now represents one of the key institutions in the global art market. They have not only become an economic force in boosting the art market but have also had a cultural impact. Art fairs play the role of market intermediaries because they offer a practical means for art critics, collectors, curators, museum directors and enthusiasts to come into direct contact and have access to a wide range of works from around the world gathered under one roof all in one shot, which is particularly useful in a market that’s now globalized. But are the factors at play all positive?

The panel will discuss:

  • Art Fairs have changed the industry as a major retail center
  • Dealing with the increasing national need for a market structure to support the existing artistic supply and connect it with the market demand
  • Attracting serious buyers – niche fairs vs larger fairs
  • How stable is the art fair sales market?

This talk was originally filmed during The Business of Art Observed.


Speaker Details

Juliet Helmke

Editor at Observer

Based in New York, Juliet Helmke is an editor at Observer who previously held editorial positions at Modern Painters and The Artist Catalogue. Her writing has appeared in Art+Auction, Artinfo, Gothamist, Brownstoner, Editorialist and others. Raised in Brisbane, Australia, she holds a master’s degree from the School of Visual Arts in New York majoring in criticism and writing.

Maureen Bray

Executive Director at Art Dealers Association of America

Maureen Bray brings over 20 years of gallery experience to her role as Executive Director of the ADAA, having served in leadership positions at three ADAA galleries and participated in The Art Show for over 15 years. Bray also served on the organizing committee for the 2018 edition of The Art Show and was involved in the ADAA’s website redesign in 2014. In her previous role as Director at David Nolan Gallery since 2014, Bray played an integral role in the gallery’s artist roster and programming— overseeing numerous museum acquisitions and co-curating the 2015 exhibition, The Confident Line: George Grosz, Andy Warhol, Wardell Milan. Prior to David Nolan Gallery, Bray was a Director at Sean Kelly Gallery for seven years during the gallery’s expansion and move to Hudson Yards in 2012. In that role, she coordinated significant museum acquisitions, special artist projects such as the exhibition Callum Innes|Colm Tóibín: Water|Colour, and large-scale public art installations, including Antony Gormley: Event Horizon. Bray began her career at C&M Arts, where she worked for 10 years and advanced to the position of Director of Exhibitions. During her tenure, the gallery mounted major scholarly exhibitions including Jeff Koons: Highlights of 25 Years, Tom Wesselmann: The Sixties, and Yves Klein: A Career Survey.

Cristina Salmastrelli

Director at PULSE

Bringing 13 years of art fair management experience to PULSE, Cristina Salmastrelli is dedicated to bringing her innovative and dynamic perspective to the internationally recognized brand of PULSE. With the company since 2011, Cristina has directed art fairs since 2012 and has been the US Regional Managing Director of Ramsay Fairs, elevating her to the Executive Team of the parent company of PULSE since 2016. A world traveler and international art enthusiast, Cristina believes that fairs are truly the heart of the contemporary art world, as they are the only place where galleries, collectors, professionals and visitors come together in one place to learn and exchange ideas in the most dynamic of atmospheres. Over the past decade, she has amassed an extensive catalogue of fairs where she has worked, including the ADAA THE ART SHOW and The Outsider Art Fair, while directing IFPDA’s The Print Fair for many years. Salmastrelli has been on the board of The Art Therapy Project since 2016, contributing to its mission to helping trauma survivors heal through the creative process by providing free and guided art therapy sessions. Cristina completed a Masters in Museum Studies at New York University after receiving a Bachelor of Arts in Art History and History from Colgate University. She currently resides in Brooklyn with her husband and son.

Eric Smith

CEO/President at Redwood Media Group

Eric Smith, CEO of Redwood Media Group, oversees all aspects of the business. Beginning his career in international art business at Martin Lawrence Galleries, Smith managed 20+ galleries and developed a passion for modern and contemporary art, selling Warhol, Rosenquist, Rauschenberg, Oldenburg and Keith Haring. Later, Smith joined Advanstar Communications, as director of sales for Artexpo New York and Artexpo Los Angeles. In 1999, Smith created art21 Productions and organized art21 Las Vegas and Palm Springs International Art Fair. He moved on to become Vice President of Summit Business Media, a leading producer of art shows and publications including Artexpo Las Vegas, Art Miami, Art Business News, DÉCOR and Volume magazines. Since 2009, Smith has owned and operated Redwood Media Group (RMG), revolutionizing the global fine art community, helping artists and gallery owners grow their businesses through fine art exhibitions, art business education, mentoring, marketing, and social media. Today, RMG owns and operates five fine art fairs: Artexpo New York, Spectrum Miami, Art San Diego, Art Santa Fe, and Red Dot Miami. With 20+ years of experience, Mr. Smith is a leading expert on the art market, the latest trends and forecasts, frequently lecturing at industry trade shows and conferences.

Mikhaile Solomon

Founder / Director at Prizm Art Fair

Mikhaile Solomon was born and raised in Miami, Florida and is Caribbean heritage. Her parents are the from the island of St. Kitts – Nevis. She is a graduate of Florida International University’s Graduate program in Architecture and completed her undergraduate degree in Theatre Arts at the University of South Florida. With her varied professional experience comes many years of developmental work in design, education, curatorial practice, arts advocacy and community development. In 2013, Mikhaile founded and currently serves as Director of Prizm Art Fair, a cutting-edge art fair that expands the spectrum of exhibiting international artists from the global African Diaspora and Emerging Markets during Miami Art Week. Since 2013, Prizm has grown from exhibiting 25 contemporary artists to developing a hybrid Fair program with 40 – 60 individual artists annually, and a burgeoning gallery program. Mikhaile is currently actively involved in a number of leadership organizations that give her the capacity to emphasize the importance the arts play in the shaping of holistic communities. Mikhaile is a recent graduate of the Goldman Sach’s 10,000 Small Businesses Program, and member of Leadership Florida and Miami’s Next Leaders. Mikhaile’s varied professional background has instilled a great capacity for leadership and her continued service to the Greater Miami community through the arts. Her hope is to help strengthen Miami’s cultural offerings and to participate in the creation of more creative opportunities for its residents.

Elena Zavelev

Elena Zavelev is a contributor to Forbes magazine and the founder and CEO of New Art Academy, the authority on ArtTech, blockchain and AI for the global art market. Elena is a collector of crypto and digital art and loves discovering and supporting emerging new media artists. Since its launch in 2017, New Art Academy has hosted a number of international conferences and events in partnership with Forbes Media, eBay, Christie’s, NYU, NeueHouse and others. Well-positioned within the global art and tech space and aware of its great potential, New Art Academy’s next step is to create the first contemporary and digital art fair, CADAF. CADAF’s first edition will take place May 3-5, 2019 in New York.

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