Art markets cater to regular folks
Sohn took another slow tour around the Western Painting section of the art fair, but then came back to the landscape painting and murmured to herself, “This one keeps on coming into my sight.”
The painting she liked is by artist Ko Jae-goon, whose signature style is landscape paintings that include old buses, images that evoke nostalgia for people of Sohn’s age. She walked to the reception area to ask for the price. The painting cost 1 million won, the highest possible price for a piece at this “affordable” K-Art Street Fair.
But many art works and paintings by up and coming artists, according to the Korea Arts Management Service, are not so expensive and are in fact affordable. In an effort to dispel the belief that purchasing art is out of reach, the service decided organize and support a series of Visual Artists Markets that will be held not only in Seoul but also in Busan and Daegu through the end of this year.
“This kind of art fair, or an art market, will offer artists the opportunity to find new markets to sell their works while providing the public a chance to purchase artwork at an affordable price,” said Kim Sun-young, president of the Korea Arts Management Service.
Ten groups including four teams of rising artists were selected to showcase their works at various public and private spaces across the country beginning in September. The Korea Arts Management Service, which is an affiliate of the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, provides the operating expenses while returning the entire profit from the sale of art to the artists to help them build their careers.
For the K-Art Street Fair in Gwanghwamun, which ends today, 2,000 artists are showing off about 2,400 artworks to the public. The only requirement is that the price for a piece cannot be higher than 1 million won.
“I’ve never been to an art fair or even thought of purchasing art because I thought they were exorbitantly pricey, but I’ve enjoyed shopping for a painting today as I can actually afford one if I want to,” said Kim Ye-in, a 30-year-old office worker in central Seoul. “It is indeed an art market that caters to the ordinary citizens.”
Starting Wednesday, a deserted house in Yeongdeungpo District, called the Common Center, will also turn into an art market for young artists. They will be displaying about 150 contemporary art pieces that are especially suited for the small spaces of single-person households in Korea.
“Just coming to the venue, which is very unique and special, and enjoying the installations and paintings will be a whole new experience,” said Lee Won-seop, coordinator of the Common Center.
From Oct. 14, 80 young artists will show off their work at the Sejong Center for the Performing Arts in central Seoul for five days. All of the artists at this market, called “Goods,” are aged between 26 and 36.
“Since the artists are very young, they have fresh new ideas and they will be taking the lead in planning the art fair and coming up with an unconventional way of interacting with the public,” said an organizer from Goods.
Artist Eom Yu-jeong, who is known to for selling out all the works she uploads to her Instagram account, will also participate in the Goods fair. She’s known for depicting scenes and people she happens to encounter, and expanding them into paintings and animations. For Goods, she has turned the Walking Man figure from her animation drawing book “Tunnel 2014” into ceramics, which will be on sale at the market for around 100,000 won.
BY YIM SEUNG-HYE [firstname.lastname@example.org]
with the Korea JoongAng Daily
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