The Manchester Contemporary 2010: Q&A with Director John Dare

The Manchester Contemporary 2010: Q&A with Director John Dare

For 2010 the second edition of The Manchester Contemporary (28 -31 October) continues to harnesses cutting-edge and critically engaged contemporary art in the North West region. Taking place in a purpose built temporary structure, this year’s fair takes a flexible approach to the presentation of work and offers a platform for internationally exhibiting artists and those that are new and emerging.

Hosting 12 presentations from the following galleries: Arcade, Bureau, Ceri Hand Gallery, David Risley Gallery, Faye Fleming & Partner, Man & Eve, Mermaid & Monster, Nettie Horn, Seventeen, The International 3, Workplace Gallery, WORKS¦PROJECTS and Emin International.

Q&A with John Dare, Director of The Manchester Contemporary

What motivated you and your partners to start an art fair?The team have a personal interest in contemporary art, but we also couldn’t believe that a city as creative, diverse and vibrant as Manchester did not have its own art fair when practically every other city in Britain did. We felt that we should redress the balance.

Now in its 2nd year, how has The Manchester Contemporary developed, especially considering the current economic uncertainty?
The Manchester Contemporary is still developing and is steadily attracting more experiencing collectors from further a field through the quality of the exhibiting galleries and its educational talks programme.

Collectors and buyers tend to flock to well-known cultural centres such as New York, London, Basel and Dubai to purchase works of art; do you find buyers coming from further a field or does the fair attract more of a regional audience?
Buy Art Fair definitely attracts more of a regional audience who are either fairly new or brand new to collecting looking to purchase something for their home whereas The Manchester Contemporary certainly attracts more established collectors, curators and arts professionals from further a field. The fair represents a unique opportunity to see this calibre of galleries under one roof outside of London.

Could you tell me how the 12 galleries presenting at the fair function with regard to curatorial decisions?Laurence and Paulette from Manchester Gallery The International 3 have been appointed as curatorial co-ordinators for the fair and have been in constant contact with the 12 galleries in what has been a very democratic and consultative approach with regards to curatorial decisions.

This year the fair is taking a flexible approach to the presentation of work, with each of the galleries being given an open area with walls. Can you tell me about the thought process behind this deviation from the traditional booth space orientation?
As the fair is still developing there is no hard and fast rule as to what the format should be. Last year we went with closed individual booths so this year it was felt that a more open, curated style of exhibition would be an interesting development – a few other fairs around Europe have also taken this approach.

In such a dynamic city, how did you come to choose the Spinningfields district as a venue?
We attended a contemporary craft fair within Spinningfields last year and felt that the development with its massive footfall, central location, concentration of legal and financial businesses not to mention the wealthy residents would provide the perfect setting for the art fairs.

Can you tell me more about what audiences should expect from the events programme at Manchester Contemporary?Audiences can expect a unique curated exhibition of 12 leading young galleries from around the UK and Europe. Free guided tours of the exhibition courtesy of the Contemporary Art Society plus a two day talks programme featuring experienced collectors and collectives discussing their experiences of collecting and the journeys that they have been on through collecting contemporary art. Other talks will focus on collecting Chinese art in the workplace and the future of public collections.

The Fair opens 28 and continues until 31 October.

Work by Man & Eve’s Esther Teichmann:
Untitled from Mythologies
Photocopied c-type print, 21 x 30 cm, 2009
Courtesy of the artist and Man & Eve.