An NYC artwork clearly show exactly where the price ranges are saved in attain

The Affordable Art Fair, which is on display all weekend at the Metropolitan Pavilion in Chelsea, was founded in 1999 as an alternative to the high-priced, blue chip art events that tend to dominate the scene. It bills itself as the only fair with a price ceiling, with costs maxing out at $12,000 and plenty of pieces in the hundreds.

Over 70 local, national and international galleries are taking part in this year’s event. The booths are filled with giant colorful pop art-inspired canvases, black and white photography of people dancing, and uncanny collages of elephants stalking the city. This is the realm of quirky Lego art, pigeon portraits, deer heads and lenticular prints of records. If you’re in the market for the world’s most calming blown-up photo of sea foam kissing the beach, this is the place for you.

Erin Schuppert previously worked for the likes of Christie’s and Phillips before becoming the Affordable Art Fair’s director in January 2022. She says the event creates a welcome space for people who may otherwise feel alienated by the art world.

“Friends and family who have never been interested in what I do, have never shown any semblance of desire to come to the events that I’ve worked before, now are very interested in coming to the fair because it’s truly very fun,” she said.

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Accessibility is a huge selling point. “People are not speaking about art at an Affordable Art Fair in hushed tones or art history speak,” Schuppert said. “It is really a place where anyone can come and talk about what they like and why they like it, without any kind of inhibitions about whether someone’s going to judge their taste.”

She says the fair also stands out because it’s primarily geared toward locals, with about half the booths taken up by NYC-based galleries. “Our audience is not tourists coming in for fairs like maybe Armory or Frieze,” she said. “We are for the people who live here, who are just buying things because they see it and they like it and they want it in their homes.”

Matthew Hutson is one of those New Yorkers. He just bought an apartment near the East Village, and wanted to find something new to hang above his couch. He ended up buying a piece called “Pinch Yourself” by Canadian artist Marie-Ève Lachance.

“It has sort of a sci-fi, abstract kind of feel to it,” Hutson said. “I like the colors, they’re vibrant colors. There are a couple of cartoony characters, you’re not really sure who they are, what they’re up to, and there’s kind of a big open space on one side. So it stimulates your imagination to figure out what could be going on in this picture.”

But the event’s not just for locals. Greg Gerczak has been working with a designer to renovate his home, which included furnishing his walls with all new art. He read online about the Affordable Art Fair and flew up from Richmond, Virginia just to attend.

“For a guy like me who really is a novice and has a fairly short attention span, going from one gallery to another is very daunting,” Gerczak said. “To have everything in one place where I know roughly what the price range is gonna be, as well as the scope of the art, it was worth it for me to make the trip.”

Gerczak ended up buying five pieces during the fair’s opening day — and he’s still here for at least another day. “Hopefully I’m done,” he said with a laugh.

Greg Gerczak loads art into his car.

Ben Yakas/Gothamist

According to Hutson, the Manhattan local, it makes sense that people like Gerczak would find the fair appealing. He says that even if you’re not an art aficionado, it’s easy to spend a couple hours wandering the space’s two floors.

“Even if I weren’t shopping, it would be fun to come here,” he said. “It’s like coming to a gallery or a museum.”

Gallerist Dan Piech feels similarly. He’s the founder of the VAST artist collective, which specializes in ultra-high-resolution image-making.

Piech, who has a background in computer science, says he spent four years running every sidewalk in Manhattan, and photographed them for his series “Concrete Canvas” using a device he invented.

“To give you a sense of the quality, an iPhone shoots a 12 megapixel photograph; professional cameras shoot 50 megapixel photographs,” he said. “These are all 3,000 megapixel, and that’s why they look so incredibly sharp and lifelike – almost as if you have an actual piece of the New York City sidewalk on your wall.”

Dan Piech’s “Concrete Canvas” series.

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The gallery Piech co-owns has shown both his and other photographers’ work at the fair for five years now. He says his “Concrete Canvas” series is a perfect example of the kind of work that suits the fair.

“It’s great art that’s not weird, right? You go to some art fairs and it’s just really esoteric art that’s not going to be interesting to the vast majority of New Yorkers,” he said. “But this really embodies the soul of New York City in a way that just a pretty piece of art or a photograph of the city wouldn’t be able to.”

The Affordable Art Fair runs through Sunday, March 26, at the Metropolitan Pavilion.

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