Everything You Need to Know About Video Art’s Biggest Fair
In March of this year, a New York-based artist became the first to sell a video created with the mobile app Vine. At the same time, an exhibition opened at the prestigious Schaulager in Basel, Switzerland, where more than 20 film installations by the radical Steve McQueen filled two floors of the museum. Suddenly, moving image-based work is everywhere, and fortunately, these works have found their home at Moving Image, the biannual contemporary art fair comprised entirely of video art. On the eve of the third London iteration, Artsy spoke with fair co-founders Ed Winkleman and Murat Orozobekov on the need for a moving image-based fair, the allure of video art to collectors, and why this year promises to be the most exciting Moving Image London yet.
Artsy: What is exciting about the market for video art, and why do you feel collectors are gravitating toward moving image?
Ed Winkleman and Murat Orozobekov: There’s so much happening in the world of video art, it’s hard to know where to start really. From the world-class exhibitions pushing installation standards, like the Steve McQueen exhibition at the Schaulager in Basel, to the advent of online video-making tools, like Vine, to the blurring of the fine art world and the commercial or Hollywood world, the medium is growing quickly in all directions, and artists are clearly taking advantage of the easier-to-access technology these days. It’s understandable, with more and more artists being so invested in moving-image-based work that contemporary art collectors have begun to pay more attention to it as well.
Artsy: What prompted you to create the Moving Image fair?
EW & MO: Most traditional fairs make it somewhat difficult for galleries to present many forms of moving-image-based work at them. It is done, of course, but not at all in an ideal way from the viewers’ point of view in general. Booths at traditional fairs are expensive real estate, and many moving-image-based works require a good deal of space to be experienced on their own terms. Because we work with a number of artists working in video and film at our own gallery, because we believe their work is important and should be collected, because more collecting decisions are being made at fairs than ever before, and because most fairs don’t make it economically or logistically easy to present video art in them, we decided someone should experiment with ways to improve presenting video within the fair model. And so we created Moving Image to do just that.
Artsy: What have been some of the challenges—and solutions—in incorporating moving image-based work into a fair setting?
EW & MO: The most challenging aspect of mixing time-based work and the traditional fair model, of course, is getting visitors to slow down in an environment designed to generate excitement and energy. At Moving Image we spread the work out as much as possible. We provide lots of seating. We signal in every way we can that the visitor is welcome to take their time and watch at their own pace. In other words, we are seeking to find the right balance between an energetic fair atmosphere and a place where we’re respecting the artist’s intentions as much as possible.
Artsy: As Moving Image is invite only, what factors did you consider in choosing the galleries this year?
EW & MO: For each edition of Moving Image we assemble a new Curatorial Advisory Committee comprised of artists and independent (or sometimes institution-based) curators, who are asked to select 10-15 artists they’re excited about to invite to participate. We then contact their galleries and explain how Moving Image works. Our goal at each fair is to present a cross-section of artists working in the medium, mixing historical pieces with world premieres, and helping visitors see the unique visual language that video artists are developing. It’s also important to us that we bring together as much of a global selection as possible each fair, and so the Committee is always international in its scope.
Artsy: What has been the impact of outlets like YouTube and Vine on the accessibility of video art? Similarly, how does sharing works from the fair on an online platform help support the mission of Moving Image?
EW & MO: The recent advances in displaying video art online have greatly increased the opportunities for artists and their galleries to promote such work. Before the ease of uploading excerpts or full pieces to YouTube (or as is more commonly used perhaps for fine art video, Vimeo), video was at a disadvantage in the digital era compared with paintings, photography, or other media in which collectors could get a pretty good sense of the work from a JPG. We view the online platform that Artsy is developing for Moving Image as a huge step forward in being able to offer visitors a useful “catalog” of the fair. Stills from each work only tell collectors so much about it. We couldn’t be more delighted to be partnering with Artsy, who have set the gold standard in aesthetic and technical quality in the realm of online art viewing experience.
What’s exciting about Vine and other online moving-image-art tools is how artists are embracing and, of course, playing with them. At the last Moving Image in New York, for example, a group of artists (organized by co-curators and art writers, Marina Galperina and Kyle Chayka, in conjunction with New York’s Postmasters Gallery), presented an installation of Vine-created videos called “The Shortest Video Ever Sold.” The fact that some of those six-second videos did indeed sell made news around the world. Marina and Kyle are teaming up again for Moving Image London 2013, with a new twist on their Vine project called “National #Selfie Portrait Gallery,” which features several artists from the US and UK pushing the technology around in ways only artists would think to do.
Artsy: And last, what are you personally most looking forward to in this year’s fair?
EW & MO: Our Curatorial Advisory Committee has invited a very exciting group of cutting-edge artists this year. People have been coming up to us constantly since we released the list saying this or that artist on it is so amazing and they’re delighted to see their work in the fair. As hard as the Committee worked for this fair, that’s very gratifying feedback. Honestly we look forward to presenting these works in as engaging and hopefully enjoyable way as we can. Our design and technical teams have been working non-stop for months to ensure this will be the most exciting Moving Image London yet.
Images: 1. Murat Orozobekov (left) and Ed Winkleman (right). 2. Squeeze by Angela Waschko (2013) from National #Selfie Portrait Gallery.