Discussing Salon Art + Design with the Fair’s Executive Director
JH: Last year, in lieu of a physical fair, you published a magazine called Salon – The Intersection of Art + Design. You have decided to do another edition of the magazine for the 2021 fair. What are the challenges to capturing your fairs in print? What are your plans for the publication going forward?
JB: We decided to create a magazine exactly because there was a growing fatigue about virtual fairs. And it seemed that with people staying home all the time, they would be happy to have a beautiful publication to enjoy. The pivot wasn’t too hard for us as a lot of us had worked at art and design magazines before coming to Salon. When I moved from print to Salon, I felt that creating a fair was like bringing a magazine to life. Magazines are about pace and excitement, long pieces are juxtaposed to short takes. One page does not look exactly like the next, and you want to vary the material. All these things are true of creating a fair. The goal is to keep the reader/viewer intrigued from beginning to end.
The first [magazine] was really about what would have been exhibited at the fair had it been held in 2020. The new one has turned into an edition that previews the 2021 fair, speaks about related subjects like color and materiality, and reports on the state of the market for collectible design. We’ve put it out two weeks before the fair and hope it will generate even more excitement. I’d love to make it an annual publication.
JH: As in previous years, the 2021 fair will be held in the Park Avenue Armory. What is special about that venue and why do you keep coming back?
JB: The demand for the Park Avenue Armory always has been and always will be great. While it has some drawbacks, the location and elegance are eagerly sought by dealers and unsurpassed by any other venue in the city. Further, many of our collectors can walk there from their homes. It’s one of the wealthiest zip codes in America. Its size means that we will always remain a relatively small and intimate fair. With 35,000 square feet, you can’t host hundreds of dealers. We love the size because each one of the dealer’s booths will always be seen.
JH: Having been around art fairs so much, what do you think makes for a great exhibitor booth?
JB: One of the qualifications for our dealers is that they create an immersive environment in which to show their work. If a booth makes a potential client think of his home, s/he is much likelier to buy. Of course, the combination of design and fine art is the ultimate way for people to imagine this piece or that painting in their home. You don’t buy a great piece of art and look at it from an Ikea chair. Equally, collectors who curate the furniture in their homes are not likely to be looking at blank walls.