How to Navigate the Affordable Art Fair
Visiting an art fair gives you the opportunity to view a plethora of art from around the world in one space, which is absolutely amazing and provides a really great overview of the contemporary art scene today.
At the Affordable Art Fair NYC, you can view and buy contemporary art priced between $100 and $10,000 with works by more than 400 living artists, represented by 69 local, national and international galleries under one roof. No matter if you’re a seasoned collector or an art novice, young or old, we welcome people of all avenues of life and present the art in an open and friendly environment, which makes it so much fun to shop for that perfect piece you love for your home.
And if you find a piece you like, you can buy it and take it home that very same day. You can even get it professionally wrapped, free of charge. And if you don’t find your piece this time, it’s also just really fun to browse and get inspired by attending one of our engaging talks, or experience an audio-visual performance during our Art After Dark event. It’s a wonderful environment to immerse yourself in for an afternoon or evening. Read on to learn more about how to navigate the show:
What are the difference between the VIP previews vs. general public hours?
For Affordable Art Fair, I always recommend coming to the Private View if you’re seriously considering buying a piece. A lot of artwork sells that night, so Private View is really the night where the most sought-after pieces are on view and available for purchase. Plus, we’re serving complimentary drinks and the best outfits come out that night.
If you can’t make the Private View but still want a more special atmosphere, come for Art After Dark on Thursday evening. We’ll be serving complimentary drinks again and have a fabulous audio-visual performance by artist Vessna Scheff lined up.
For parents with young kids, we just created a program, Stroller Hours, which is where we open the fair up to families one hour before we open to the public on Saturday and Sunday. A wonderful way for parents and their kids to experience the fair without the hassle of crowds. If you’re an interior designer, architect or just love all things design, we have put together a super interesting program of talks at the intersection of art, design and architecture, called Lunch Time Talks together with Crea and the Black Artists + Designers Guild.
What should you wear to the fair (comfort vs. dressing for the part)?
I’d say wear something that makes you feel good and expresses who you are. Fancy or casual, both are great. I think people make the best buying decisions when they feel good.
What are some of the price points at the fair?
All art on view at is priced at or under $10,000 with 50% under $5,000. There is really something for everyone and for every budget. We have a wonderful feature called “Under $500 Wall” where we show a curated selection of works under $500. And then we have a fun square “Under 1,000” sticker, which you can discover throughout the fair as you check out the galleries’ stands. You’ll be amazed at the variety of styles and price points.
What are some of your best tips to navigate and walk through the show?
The layout of the fair is pretty easy to navigate on the two floors: Level 1 and Level 2.
I recommend starting on Level 2, because it’s a bit more digestible and a good way to ease into the fair. There are also some true gems on Level 2. Then continue on to Level 1, where the majority of our galleries are. You’ll come by the Under $500 Wall on your way to Level 2, which is a great place to orient yourself and see what’s possible, even on a small budget. If you can, take your time.
Our exhibitors love speaking about their artists and their galleries and it’s super fun to engage with them and learn about the art that attracts you. And, if you need a little break, visit the Pigeon Café on Level 2 for a light snack and refreshments. I always make the best buying decisions when I’m happy and fed.
What are some questions to ask if interested in a particular piece?
Before you get to the fair, measure the spaces you’re looking to buy art for, set yourself a budget and think about color palettes and styles that you think would be a good fit for your space and yourself.
Then just approach the gallerist with questions once you find an artist or a piece that you like. Some questions might be: What’s is your practice?, What is special about your technique, What’s the story behind your piece? Part of the fun of owning a piece of art is talking about it, so the more you know, the more joy it will bring you. And if you like an artist but not the particular piece on view, ask the gallery if they have other pieces they can show you.
They sometimes have additional works on their stands or can show you other pieces in the gallery’s inventory. If it’s a higher priced piece that you absolutely fell in love with, ask the gallery if they provide payment plans.
What are some places to eat at the fair?
We’re working with a lovely caterer for the fair, Monterone, who serves simple, healthy and delicious food inspired by European heritage and augmented with local ingredients. They will be set up in the Pigeon Café, an immersive installation created by multi-disciplinary artist, JJ Galloway. The Locals, an installation of pigeon sculptures sitting above the café walls, waiting for a chip to drop, will be complemented by a series of quirky limited-edition paintings that will evoke the senses - featuring food and animals in unexpected ways.
And the best thing about it: You will be able to order you custom pigeon painting directly with JJ.
How can you discover new artists to have an idea of what you want to purchase beforehand?
A good starting point is the exhibitor listing and art preview page on our website. I’d also suggest looking at our Instagram account, which gives you a very good overview about the art that’s going to be exhibited at the fair. Based on this, you can start narrowing down your favorite stands to visit.