Affordable Art in New York, Believe It or Not

Last Wednesday a line ran out the door of a midtown high-rise as crowds swarmed the opening night of the Affordable Art Fair. Now in it's 10th year, AAF has spread from its London beginnings to seven cities around the world, with New York as the only North American stop.

The 75 galleries represented at the fair proved that, for the most part, you don't have to spend a lot for great art -- which is good news for apartment renters who don't want to spend a lot on something that might not fit or match their next pad.

We grabbed director Judith Pineiro to find out about this year's trends in the lower-priced art market. Here's what she said...
"I think people are more interested in making their homes a beautiful environment because they're not going out as much or traveling as much, so they're really concentrating on their home environment," said Pineiro of the 2,100 potential buyers in attendance opening night.

The prices ranged from $100 to $10,000, so although they could be called affordable, there weren't necessarily any huge bargains. Pineiro is quick to point out the recent graduate section (always a smart place to mine for good art deals), where artists not yet represented by galleries sold their work for as little as $90. And you always have the "one day they could be famous" element there.

This year a special "I Heart Brooklyn" section called attention to that emerging art zone. Outside of that, U.S. galleries made the biggest showing, with the U.K. close behind. But visitors could also browse booths set up by galleries from as far away as Vietnam, Argentina and South Africa.

In terms of trends, Pineiro says she's seeing more three-dimensional and multimedia work, rather than just paintings and photographs. Like the found-object Mona Lisa mixed-media piece (pictured, right) showcased at the booth for London's Will's Art Warehouse.

"I think people are becoming more open to it," she says, "just like artists are breaking their own boundaries" and becoming more open to it themselves.

10 Works Under $500
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Affordable Art in New York, Believe It or Not

Mixed media on paper 4.5 x 6 in $75 Elisa Contemporary Art

Screenprint on fabriano cotton paper 70 x 50 cm $300 TAG Fine Arts

Oil on panel 2.5x2.5in $225 Projects Gallery

Silk screenprint 25 x 34 in $225 TAG Fine Arts

Mixed media on paper 4.5 x 12 in $150 Elisa Contemporary Art

Silver gelatin photograph from negative 20 x 24 in $400 Bleach Box

Screenprint on fabriano cotton paper 50 x 70 cm $300 TAG Fine Arts

2009 Silk screenprint $450 TAG Fine Arts

Mixed media 8 x 10 in $400 Elisa Contemporary Art

Mixed media 8 x 8 in $400 Elisa Contemporary Art


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