Now in its 19th year, Collect Art Fair returns (March 3–5) to Somerset House—the impressive neoclassical structure on the banks of the Thames—showcasing unique contemporary craft and design from close to 40 international galleries representing more than 400 living artist-makers. The fair attracted over 9,100 visitors in 2022.
“Collectors, interior designers, art advisors, and enthusiasts will be vying with arts institutions, such as the Victoria & Albert Museum, to buy and commission contemporary craft across disciplines and materials,” according to fair organizers. Fair-goers will discover works spanning ceramics, glass, lacquer, jewelry, metalwork, textiles and fiber, wood and paper, as well as reused, repurposed, and recycled materials.
A number of galleries from South Korea and Asia will be returning post-pandemic. “We’ve always had very good representation of Asian and East Asian work,” said Isobel Dennis, Fair Director at Collect, to Artnet News, “While collectors will still be seeing incredible work across a range of materials, I think it’s the subtleties and the richness of these cross-cultural influences that will be really exciting for audiences both on and offline.”
This year’s Collect also presents an opportunity to acquire work from makers who’ve been incubated by the Loewe Foundation, including Healim Shin (Siat Gallery, South Korea), Keeryong Choi (Bullseye Projects, USA), and Jaiik Lee (Gallery Sklo, South Korea), among others.
Since 2017, Collect has worked with the online marketplace Artsy.net. The partnership came into its own in 2021 when the pandemic forced the closure of the physical fair. “Artsy provided us with a way to host the entire fair virtually online without having to build all the infrastructure ourselves,” Dennis said. The hybrid model quickly established itself as another ‘new normal’ with Collect becoming Artsy’s top performing fair of 2021.
“What we’ve seen—even last year as the world opened up—is our traffic has remained pretty consistent with that year,” Jennifer Pratt, Director of Fair Partnerships Team at Artsy, revealed. This growth is attributed in part to a new generation of collectors who have the confidence to purchase online. “What’s really cool is that young collectors are beginning to buy works that perhaps they didn’t even know existed before,” Pratt observed.