Centre of Attention
House of O’Dwyer
Bob & Roberta Smith
Alex Gene Morrison
50 acclaimed artists give away their works for free. The Free Art Fair uses the format of a curated museum scale exhibition, with a difference: on the last day of the show, the visiting public will be able to take away one piece of art of their choice. Artists participating are asked to incorporate the idea of free into their work by making work that they always wanted to make but felt like they couldn't. Marlene Dumas, Bob & Roberta Smith, Robin Mason, Harry Pye, Artists Anonymous, and Geraldine Swayne are just some of the contributing artists.
50 acclaimed artists give away their works for free in the last ever Free Art Fair
Returning for the third and final time during Frieze week, The Free Art Fair promises to be bigger, better and more fun
than ever. Staged at the Barbican Centre, The Free Art Fair will use the format of a curated museum scale exhibition,
with a difference: on the last day of the show, the visiting public will be able to take away one piece of art of their
An established fixture of the busiest week in the UK contemporary art scene, The Free Art Fair is a serious alternative to the commercial art fair frenzy, and a chance to remember that art is about more than just money. Organised entirely without any budget, the fair has been described as “the most radical departure from art fair commercialism”. Even the artworks displayed are responding to the idea of free; the artists have been invited to create unique substantial pieces incorporating the concept of free, making the work they’ve always wanted to, without commercial constraint.
Marlene Dumas, Bob & Roberta Smith, Robin Mason, Harry Pye, Artists Anonymous, and Geraldine Swayne are just some of the contributing artists. After having been acclaimed in commercial exhibitions and major public shows they are now showcasing their work in the unique concrete interiors of the Barbican Centre, alongside a programme of performance art curated by artists and curators Lee Campbell and Frog Morris.
Visitors are invited to select the artwork they like the most. On the closing day, Sunday 18th, the public will queue to claim their choice; the first to choose a particular piece of art will be the lucky Free Art Fair Collector to take it home, until all the works have been allocated.
In 2008 the Free Art Fair’s artists gave away over £ 100,000 worth of art works; 2000 catalogues were given away, and thousands of people visited the exhibition. The giveaway was discussed as a counterpoint to the commercialisation of the art world in global media.
We are delighted to be home to the Free Art Fair for its grand finale. We hope as many people as possible will come to the Barbican to explore our spaces, discover wonderful works of art, and hopefully get to take something home with them on the last day of the exhibition. Kate Bush, Head of Galleries, Barbican Art Gallery
Participating artists include:
Artists Anonymous, Phil Ashcroft, Centre of Attention, Lee Campbell, Maria Chevska, Matthew Collings, Sacha Craddock, Stuart Cumberland, Adam Dant, Marlene Dumas, Stephen Farthing, Rose Finn-Kelcey, Jaime Gili, Rose Gibbs, Alex Hamilton, Peter Harris, Pablo Helguera, Russell Herron, House of O’Dwyer, James Howard, Henrik Potter, Catrin Huber, Harry Pye, Saron Hughes, Danny Rolph, Lee Johnson, Martin Sexton, Sayshun Jay, Bob & Roberta Smith, James Jessop, Terry Smith, Jasper Joffe, Eva Stenram, Sonia Khurana, Matthew Stone, Peter Lamb, Geraldine Swayne, Cathy Lomax, Chris Tosic, Amanda Loomes, Josef Valentino, Robin Mason, Bruce McLean, Markus Vater, Hugh Mendes, Edward Ward, Michael Ward, Frog Morris, Alex Gene Morrison, Douglas White, Chloe Mortimer, Charlie Woolley, Stephen Nelson.
I thought we should do something different from what everyone else is doing at this time of year and non – commercial, and something that excites people and values art not selling. This gives anyone the chance to own a serious piece of art.
Jasper Joffe, founder of the Free Art Fair
The Free Art Fair was established in 2007 by contemporary artist Jasper Joffe, with the participation of 25 artists, all giving their art away for free. Criticising the relentless commercialism of commercial fairs, The Free Art Fair aimed to focus on the art, rather than on prices and numbers. Everything in The Free Art Fair was entirely put on for free, and given in kind including the gallery space, the catalogue, and even the insurance. Viewers really engaged with the concept and the individual artworks and the contributing artists enjoyed the direct relationship with the public. In response to great demand the fair was organised again in 2008 doubling the artists, and including a performance art strand, and a more substantial catalogue with essays by writers including Lewis Hyde. Coinciding with the global economic crisis, The Free Art Fair asked even more questions on the overheated art market. It showcased a mix of very established artists and emerging ones, and more site specific pieces. In 2008 The Free Art Fair became a major part of the debate about the value of art.
The Free Art Fair has allowed a diverse range of people to become art collectors. Including a nurse, students, teachers, homeless people, and many people who thought they could never own a really great piece of art.
Idea Generation: +44(0)20 7749 6850
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Opening party Monday 12 October 6.30 to 8.30 pm, the Fountain Room, Level G
Silk Street EC2Y 8DS - London
Monday 12 October to Thursday 15 October 9 am to 10 pm.
Friday 16 October 6.30 pm to 10 pm.
Saturday 17 October 9 am to 10 pm.
Sunday 18 October 11 am to 2 pm, and giveaway 2pm onwards