What are the key factors for the committee’s decisions? Which are the criteria a gallery has to fulfill in order to be qualified for a fair? We asked one of the Artissima committee members – Jocelyn Wolff, Director of the Paris-based gallery Jocelyn Wolff – to tell us more about the process and the criteria.
Gallerists are colleagues but also competitors. How useful is it to have a committee full of gallery owners to decide about each other’s entry? Why can’t curators or journalists make these decisions?
Actually, as gallerists, we know more about galleries than anyone else. We are able to make honest decisions about colleagues. Gallery owners have more knowledge about galleries than curators or collectors have. There is much less conflict of interest. In addition, committees are composed of many members. You have a plurality of visions in each committee for each fair. A Committee changes every time. You have to be very honest because you would also expect other galleries to be honest if they were in your position. At a certain point they are also judging our work.
Who chooses the committee and what are the criteria?
The fair’s director decides on the committee. Each director of each fair builds his or her own committee and is trying to get a compilation of people with different voices. However, the chosen galleries’ ethics are crucial. I don’t think that you will see committees of leading art fairs composed by galleries without a certain reputation.
After the committee is set up – what stands at the beginning of the selection? I guess you get a lot of different portfolios…
Actually, it is not so complicated because of the different sections of the fair. You look at every application for the main section focusing on the artistic quality.
Anna Maria Burgstaller and Sabrina Möller
Photo Credit: André Morin