When art fairs come to town

Media playback is not supported on this device Instagram festivals, walking tours and ticketed nights: how art fairs are transforming society

Is art fair packed and a bit of a drain on resources really an appropriate way to celebrate the country’s 200th birthday? This is the premise of the International Art Fair Network’s ‘History Lesson’ project, which looks at when and why art fairs were invented.

Fairs, festivals and festivals in the form of ballets, movies, concerts and debates started in the 1980s and are part of a larger effort by arts and culture officials to make London a more inclusive city.

The response has been slightly mixed. One observer sees artists as part of the problem; others see the fairs as a useful way to boost the city’s economy.

Curators from leading galleries will be on hand to tell you all about what it takes to run a fair from curating the galleries to meeting international buyers. You’ll also find some eye-opening art from its exhibitors, including a view of London using street-facing street art and other magical installations.

The Art Basel Circus Comes to Town runs from 5 to 11 September at Olympia, the heart of the London art fair world, bringing together 52 fairs and 239 galleries from around the world.

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