If the confluence of the words 'art' and 'fair', as in the upcoming Auckland Art Fair (AAF), gives you a queasy feeling, you're not alone. At first blush, such an event appears to fit the mould of a periodic plugging, the sole purpose of which is to facilitate the shifting of goods — in this case, contemporary paintings, ceramics and the like.
Whilst such a view is not unfounded, with 2016's festival seeing local and international galleries make a cool five million dollars in sales, it's also only part of the story. For a fair, in the sense of a country or school fair, is equally a public exhibition, and AAF seems well aware of this, promising pop-up bars and eateries, DJ sets and artist talks to keep you entertained throughout your perusing.
In this way, should you venture along, there'll be no real pressure to buy anything (beyond your entry ticket). So, if you're fond of other gatherings of artists such as those to be enjoyed at the Writers Festival, you might like to give the AAF a try. This year's iteration features the most international lineup to date, picking up where AAF left off in 2016, with 40 galleries from nine countries throughout the Pacific Rim represented.
Popular section Projects returns, too, this time helmed by Gabriela Salgado and Francis McWhannell. Proposing variations on the somewhat novel experience of seeing acclaimed artists' work juxtaposed with that of emerging talent, Projects showcases "the vibrant plurality that lies at the heart of both contemporary art-making and life in the Pacific."
Finally, this already bustling catalogue will be rounded off by the AAF's usual bevy of not-for-profit galleries. Come and feast your eyes.
Images: Jessica Gernat.