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Art fair organizers balance commercial and academic interests

By Lin Qi | | Updated: 2017-01-24 16:25
Art fair organizers balance commercial and academic interests

[Photo provided to China Daily]

The Aidingbao Hotel in Nanjing, East China's Jiangsu province, will be transformed into a gallery as it hosts the international art fair, Third Art Nanjing in May.

Booths will be set up in the hotel lobby and other public areas, while artworks will be placed inside guests' rooms, as part of the five-day expo opening May 19.

With the theme "my first art collection", the fair aims to make hotel guests and collectors consider art as a part of everyday life.

Since the inaugural fair in 2005, Art Beijing has been well received among participants, but drawn some criticism for being too commercial.

Huang Bingliang, executive director of organiser Baijiahu International Culture Investment Group, said the feedback will help them to better balance commerce and academic interests, as well as make the fair more international.

Last year's fair attracted 34,500 visitors and 1,500 artworks were sold.

Huang said one Nanjing collector looked for works to decorate his new apartment in Singapore and spent 2 million yuan at the fair.

He hoped the fair would attract new collectors who are brave and insightful investors in art.

He said they will offer both original works as well as decorative pieces and products for day-to-day use designed by artists.

The developed Yangtze River delta that includes Nanjing and Shanghai is home to many art collectors and there has been a rise of entrepreneur collectors in recent years with some planning museums to house and display their private collections.

Real estate developer Yan Lugen, who founded Baijiahu International Culture Investment Group, is one such collector who owns both Chinese and Western art.

His group operates the Nanjing International Art Festival, which has been held annually since 2014 and will now become a biennial fair from 2018.

The company also operates five Art100 galleries in Beijing, Shanghai, Nanjing, Hong Kong and New York, with plans to open another one in Guangzhou.

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