Art Fairs of All Kinds: Art Market and Parking Lots – in a parking lot

The San Francisco art world is banding together to preserve what’s left of its community in a city that seems to increasingly seek to push the arts away: rents are sky high, evictions and displacement are common, but gallery owners and artists persevere.

Last week marked the fifth year of Art Market San Francisco, held at Fort Mason Center. With 25,000 people in attendance, Kelly Freeman of Art Market says it was a strong year, “Bay Area collectors have grown accustomed to art fairs and the galleries keep coming back.” The contemporary and modern art fair is the last still standing of the trio that once marked this season (ArtPadSF and the San Francisco Fine Art Fair are no more), but it was joined by two brand new fairs (stARTup Art Fair and the rogue Parking Lot Art Fair) in their place.

Though often over-stimulating and overwhelming for the viewer, art fairs continue to grow in popularity. Galleries pay tens of thousands of dollars to pack and ship works, fly their staff around the world and set up shop at fairs — in addition to paying rent at their brick and mortar locations. In a city like San Francisco where real estate is already costly, it’s not the best combination of expenses, but a necessary move…

The whimsical experience of the Parking Lot Art Fair was far from Art Market’s smart and polished environment, where price tags started in the low thousands and went upwards of six figures. The two represent very different arts economies — one based on trade and mutual support, the other on the commercial art market — yet both are necessary to a healthy art scene in the Bay Area, and, perhaps hopefully, both were well attended, often by the same crowds of art appreciators and supporters…  (more)


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