The RA Hosts: Curating the Art Fair Stand

Bridie Hall, Decorative Artist & Co-Founder, Pentreath & Hall
Georgie Hopton, Artist
Lyndsey Ingram, Gallery Director, Lyndsey Ingram
Caroline Smulders, Art Advisor
Chair: Dr Anna M. Dempster, Head of Academic Programmes, Royal Academy of Arts

WHERE? The Lecture Theatre

WHEN? Monday 01 July 2019

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How can gallerists and dealers stand out from the crowd without drawing attention away from the work on sale?

The sheer scale of the international art fair can oftentimes be overwhelming. In an attempt to stand out from the crowd, gallery’s booths are becoming an ever more crucial marketing tool. The presentation of the objects for sale has become nearly as important as the works themselves and dealers are creating eye-catching displays in an attempt to draw in passing collectors.

As can be seen in the last few years of Masterpiece London, there has been a rising trend of galleries collaborating with curators, artists, advisors and set-designers to create spectacular settings for the work on sale. In recent years, we have seen stands recreate a collector’s villa or artist’s studio; create faux walls or multiple levels and work with various materials from the traditional to the interactive.

This panel explores this trend, discusses how these collaborations can be beneficial and looks at what a booth should do to draw attention, without distracting from the work itself.

DR ANNA M. DEMPSTER is Head of Academic Programmes at the Royal Academy of Arts and College Research Associate at Wolfson College, University of Cambridge, where she also sits on the Fine Arts Committee. Anna was previously Associate Professor in Art Business at Sotheby’s Institute of Art responsible for the Art Business, Finance and Management Unit as well as teaching strategy, entrepreneurship and research methods all tailored for the art world. Prior to that she was Director of Research at the Creative Industries Observatory, University of the Arts London, and Founding Director of the MSc/MA in Creative Industries at Birkbeck College, University of London. She has research and teaching experience in leading international institutions including the University of Cambridge, London Business School and Rotterdam School of Management and she regularly consults for practitioners and policy-makers. She holds a BA and MPhil in History from the University of Cambridge, and a PhD in Management Studies from the Judge Business School, Cambridge.

LYNDSEY INGRAM has worked in the art market for almost 20 years. She started her career working in the Print Department at Sotheby’s, before joining Sims Reed in 2003. She was Director of the gallery from 2004 to 2015, when she established Lyndsey Ingram. Lyndsey is internationally recognised as a leading print dealer, with a specialty in British and American printmaking from the second half of the twentieth century. Currently operating from a central London premises and maintaining a strong presence at international art fairs, Lyndsey opened her Mayfair gallery in October 2017. The gallery program is dedicated to original prints by twentieth-century masters and selected contemporary artists. 

BRIDIE HALL is a skilled decorative artist, homewares designer and the co-owner of celebrated design shop Pentreath & Hall. From her London studio, Bridie creates an assortment of goods by hand such as her alphabet brush pots, intaglio cases, decoupage trays, obelisks, richly scented candles, lacquered pediment mirrors and hand-painted splatterware. In 2008, Bridie opened a tiny interiors store with her friend, architectural and interior designer Ben Pentreath. Standing on a little Georgian street in Bloomsbury, the shop has become a destination for design-seekers and one of the most influential small shops in London. Pentreath & Hall share a common aesthetic that is firmly grounded in the principle of sourcing and selling things that the pair really love, be they classic or contemporary, antique or modern; books, pictures, objects, furniture. Originally from New Zealand, Bridie began her creative career working as a specialist painter. She moved to London 18 years ago having been so inspired by the city's history and architecture, finding it a limitless source to inform her aesthetic which continues to feed into both the shop and her eponymous collection, Bridie Hall at Home. Bridie’s homewares range is sold internationally as well as at Pentreath & Hall, Liberty, Conran and Soho Farmhouse.

GEORGIE HOPTON was born in 1967, graduating from Central St Martins in 1989. She lives and works in London and upstate New York. Working in two and three dimensions, her practice has incorporated almost every discipline over the years, but currently she devotes most of her time to collage, printmaking and textile works. Nature continues to be a primary source of inspiration and within her series of (unique) Veg Prints, a direct result of excess homegrown produce, it becomes both the tools and the materials. Most recently her interest in merging art with life and the Arts and Crafts movement has resulted in the production of wallpapers, fabrics and rugs. She was shortlisted for the MaxMara Art Prize in 2007, has public artworks at both the Royal London Hospital and The Home Office and in the Arts Council and Government Art collections.

CAROLINE SMULDERS: Head of the International Market for the Daniel Templon Gallery from 1986 to 1989, Head of the Art and Architecture Program at the Caisse des Dépôts et Consignations from 1990 to 1991, Director of the Thaddaeus Ropac Gallery Paris from 1992 to 2002 and Director of Christie's Contemporary France from 2002 to 2006, Caroline Smulders created her company in 2007, representing a small selection of artists that she exhibits every year systematically, in France or abroad. The association with galleries of different backgrounds allows a dynamic that opens up horizons to the collectors that are not limited to artists represented by Caroline Smulders. She works on several specific projects with artists not represented by the gallery.