Stella Santacatterina visits Art Barter, which is the platform for free exchange between artists and the public, in London (Oct.2012)
This year Art Barter was held at the Subway Gallery in London on the same days of the Frieze Art Fair (Oct.11th-14th, 2012), although it is based on the opposite concept. The idea is, in fact, to invite established and emerging artists to give works to be bartered for anything at all except for money (ie: a year of free dental care!).
Launched in November 2009 by London-based curators Lauren Jones and Alix Janta, Art Barter is a platform for free exchange between artists and the public. Each artist displays one art-work which only has a number beside it making the viewer value the work for what it is, rather than for the name, price or title attached. The public visit the exhibition to make offers on the artworks by filling out barter forms. At the event’s end, each artist reads through all the offers made on his/her work and decides whether s/he wishes to exchange or not.
The first event, which occurred in the middle of the 2009 bank meltdown, was a big success. The idea of acquiring art works without money was seen as a provocation and also a challenge. To the launching event more followed in London, Berlin and New York. The following video shows the last Art Barter held last week on the same days of Frieze.