Twenty Years of Taking Contemporary Art into a Wider Market
Original art in the country’s treasured museums is free to see – but you can’t walk away with a masterpiece. Whilst other major art shows charge for the opportunity to see and buy work from up and coming as well as established artists, ARTfutures remains the one exhibition where you can view for free and buy at leisure.
Celebrating its 20th anniversary show, ARTfutures takes place from 31 March to 4 April at The City of London School just across The Thames from Tate Modern. ARTfutures brings together nearly 100 of the best contemporary artists in the country, be they recent graduates or those more established with collectors. Artists have to be invited to exhibit by the Contemporary Art Society’s selectors. Many have no formal representation and dealers for more established artists agree to keep commissions low at this event, making ARTfutures a must for anyone wanting to pick up an affordable contemporary classic. Opportunities for artists to sell their work are maximised as when a work is sold, it is replaced by another piece.
Organised by the Contemporary Art Society (CAS), ARTfutures has an impressive track record of recognising emerging talent. The likes of Damien Hirst, Sam Taylor-Wood and Douglas Gordon are all past exhibitors who have gone on to great things. Gill Hedley, CAS Director, explains their philosophy: “CAS exists to help collectors and artists equally. Normally, we buy works of art for museums but for five days we turn the tables and help the general public to buy exciting work at a realistic price”.
One of the main objectives of the exhibition is to encourage new collectors as well as those with established collections. No matter what time they drop in, visitors can be assured of the very best advice as the selectors and other representatives from CAS are on hand at the exhibition to offer free and friendly guidance. There is no heavy sell, just a relaxed and informative atmosphere. Gill Hedley elaborates: “Of course we want to sell as much work as possible but we do welcome those who are just beginning to explore the idea of collecting contemporary work and need assurance that they are getting good advice as well as an introduction to a wide range of work.”
Nominated Artists for ARTfutures
Within this flourishing marketplace it is important for ARTfutures to make itself distinctive. It is one of the few showcases where the work is selected by invitation. Where possible the Contemporary Art Society not only chooses the artist but also identifies the particular works. We are keen to emphasise the curatorial aspect of the project and at the same time to extend the boundaries of the show and, as always, to open up the selection to new artists. With this in mind we have invited a small cross section of curators and writers to nominate a contemporary artist for inclusion in ARTfutures 2004.
Each nominator was asked to imagine that they were offered the chance of buying a work of art for approximately Ł1,500 and to nominate an artist whose work they would like to buy. The Contemporary Art Society subsequently invited the artist to take part and is in the process of selecting works to which the nominators’ name will be attached. There have been no restrictions on the nominations except that the artist must be working in the UK.
- Nominated by Jane Rolo, Director, Book Works
Mike Marshall - Jonathan Watkins, Director, Ikon Gallery, Birmingham
- Lucy Byatt, Director Spike Island, Bristol
- Fiona Bradley, Director, Fruitmarket, Edinburgh
- Emma Dexter, Director of Exhibitions, Tate Modern
Marte Marce - Andrea Schlieker, Independent Curator
- Andrew Wilson, Deputy Editor, Art Monthly
- David Thorp, Independent Curator
- Sacha Craddock, Curator and Writer
- Anna Moszynska, Writer and Critic
- Ian Hunt, Writer and Critic
- Mary Griffiths, Curator of Contemporary Art at the Whitworth Gallery, University of Manchester
Alexandre de Cunha
- Lisa Panting, Independent Curator
“The most important date in the art calendar for the general art buyer and a hugely enjoyable event” – Marjorie Allthorpe-Guyton, Director, Visual Arts, Arts Council
“ARTfutures makes it easier than ever to buy contemporary art in the most unpretentious of settings” – Metro
“The event has something of a track record in talent spotting” – The Times
“You can bet CAS will have discovered the Turner nominees before the Tate has” – The Observer
Uta Kogelsberger Causeway 2003
Marta Marcé Series Escondide 2003
Alexandre da Cunha Ebony Terracotta
Luke Gottelier Montelimar 2003
Michael Ajerman Norfolk Lesson 2003
Sam Winston Rep Story (detail) 2003
City of London School
Uta Kogelsberger Causeway 2003 ©the artist
Marta Marcé Series Escondide 2003 acrylic on canvas, ©the artist
Alexandre da Cunha Ebony Terracotta ©the artist
Luke Gottelier Montelimar 2003 oil on canvas, ©the artist courtesy: Kate MacGarry
Michael Ajerman Norfolk Lesson 2003 oil on canvas, ©the artist
Sam Winston Rep Story (detail) 2003 ©the artist
City of London School