Overheard at the Fair | Sydney Contemporary Art Fair 2017

Art Life , Stuff Sep 12, 2017 No Comments

From our reporters, on the the spot…



“As we go around, keep in the back of your mind that the Fair is really about the artists… also keep in mind, those poor fellows, the galleries. All of these galleries work hard on behalf of the artists 12 months of the year. There are very few bad eggs.”

Barry Keldoulis attempting to set the media tone


“Barry spends a lot of time going all over the world to different art fairs… and having holidays.”

Tim Etchells to the media


“They’re possibly not the best way to present an artist’s work – hopefully they’ll come back to us.”

Tim Etchells on being asked about satellite fairs



“They add lustre to the cluster.”

Best Tim Etchell’s quote on satellite fairs


“I can’t believe no one has bought that one. It’s under 15k and it would look great in any beach house.”

Art lover in a booth


“Hi. How are you. We met in New York.”

[Blank face]

“Oh, yes… Yes!”

Woman tapping another on the shoulder on opening night. 


“Last year they were walking around with trays of drinks…”

“What’s that? If they don’t have Ruinart, I’m going to have to go outside and find one.”

VIP to VIP in VIP Lounge 


“I’m still the same. Just two years older with much sorer feet.”

TAL conversation with gallerist


“Art gives an artist agency.”

Abdul Abdullah (artist)


“Two of the most powerful art gallery directors in a room together!”

Gushing patron to two powerful art gallery directors



“I’m a little bit strategic.”

Ramesh Mario Nithiyendran (artist) speaking on a panel


“It should be mandatory for everyone to buy something here.”

Blak Douglas (artist) on the underrepresentation of artists


“There’s definitely a barnacle theme here.”

One Fair goer to another on opening night


“His penis is this big!”

Gallerist on fellow gallerist to collector [gallerist’s thumb and forefinger approx three centimetres apart]



“Have you got your tickets?”

“We’re VIPs!!”

Sydney Contemporary staff member to Fair visitor.


“All the galleries from Tasmania are so friendly. They talk to you.”

Art lover in the crowd


“I have to check for hip dysplasia in my labradoodle…they’re probably just trying to freak me out. I mean, he’s from a breeder!”

Powder room pow-wow


“Hey mate, did you buy anything?”

“Oh… yeah. A couple of little things. Nothing to get too excited over”.

Art lover on opening night 


“I only like things that make me smile.”

Tim Etchells to gallerist while walking around the Fair



“It’s the Royal Easter Show of art.”

Blak Douglas (artist) speaking on a panel


“We’re the New York chain of the Olsen Gallery.”

Olsen Gruin staff member to art lover


“Some of the best artworks here are the mirrored ones – so people can take a good look at themselves while looking at the art.”

Blak Douglas (artist)


“We use counting as a feminist strategy …and we’ve been counting at the Fair.”

Miranda Samuels – member of Countess


“He was very appreciative of your work. He Loved it!”

Gallerist convincing an artist


“Can I take a photo? Yes? Great! It’s for coffee tomorrow… It’ll get a good laugh. You need something to work with when you have coffee with the ladies.”

Art lover at Hayden Fowler’s performance


“Wow, everyone is here. Where’s Michael Brand?”

“Pretty sure he’s in Helsinki. I saw a photo on Instagram.”

Fair goers in the crowd


“Always remember, ‘art’ is simply a vehicle for needy people to get the attention they crave.”

Comment on Andrew Frost’s SC review in Guardian Australia


“I had to buy torches so that people can see the work!”

The struggle is real at Spring1883


“It was very HSC-art vibes”

One recent-school-leaver booth minder to another


“Wow, check out the costume – that must be a performer!”


“The one in full taxidermy!”

“Oh no, that’s a gallerist!”

When the staff outperform the art; TAL in conversation with another fairgoer


“Is that his pet dingo?”

Fairgoer asking the important questions in front of Hayden Fowler’s performance work


“He speaks 8 languages, plays Rachmaninoff…”

Gallerist spruiking artist


“That’s interesting, without being interesting?”

Best hearsay of the fair – art lover impresses gallerist with depth of insight


“Business has been good, plenty of time to talk to the right people.”

A gallerist confirms why they’re here


“She’s an amazing painter, have I told you her story?”

“Yes, you’ve told me her story.”

Enthusiastic art lover and bored companion


“Melbourne Art Fair needs to reestablish itself and work out what it’s going to be”

Tim Etchells to the media


TAL can confirm that flashing your Opal card at the VIP lounge in error, with the correct level of casual confidence, will gain you entry.

TAL can also confirm that VIP drinks cost the same as at the regular bar, but you have to contend with four times the volume of suits per square metre.

The Art Life

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