Free Art Fair


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Marlene Dumas on The Free Art Fair

“Talking about, or using  the word ‘free’ gets me into semantic problems: Because on the one hand, like the artist John Chamberlain said about art  (in 1982), “you don’t have to own it, you just have to perceive it, art is free.” That is absolutely true .But on the other hand I don’t think that anything in this world is really free, you have to pay in one way or another,  (just like free love does not exist) but that does not mean that money is the only way to pay.  I think it is wonderful that some people are prepared to pay a lot of money for art, although it doesn’t necessarily mean that all of them care for it that much. Art needs people who want to pay. For me The Free Art Fair is not against money, it is about the freedom to sometimes play in a different way.” Marlene Dumas 2009. (Dumas will be doing a book signing at The Frith Street Gallery during frieze/free week

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Free Art Fair will be The Barbican

We’re excited to announce that The Free Art Fair will be taking place at the amazing Barbican!

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The Free Art Fair Three 2009

Press Release

12-18 October 2009

The Free Art Fair will take place for the third and final time in London in 2009. The art fair where all the work is given away at the end will be the biggest best most fun version ever. For once instead of art going to the highest bidder or those who can afford it, someone who really loves an artwork will be able to have it for free. Artists participating will be asked to incorporate the idea of free into their work by making work that they always wanted to make but felt like they couldn’t.

Last year 50 artists gave away art work including Stella Vine, Bob & Roberta Smith, Gavin Turk, Chantal Joffe, Danny Rolph, Harry Pye and many others. People queued for three nights to become free art fair collectors, 2000 catalogues were given away, and thousands of people saw the exhibition. The giveaway was discussed as a counterpoint to the commercialisation of the art world in global publications and was featured live on all the main UK TV channels.

This year’s fair will be the last in London.  The Free Art Fair is made entirely without any budget with everyone giving what they love or do best for free. The location and artists will be confirmed on

For ideas, comments, suggestions please write on our website
For sponsorship (in kind), press enquiries etc please contact Jasper Joffe T:079571 36066
For volunteering at The Fair please contact Henrik Potter

Should we do another Free Art Fair in 2009?

That’s the question. Is there any good/bad reason to do another one? Does the recession make freedom more or less necessary? I’d welcome your thoughts, suggestions, ideas, etc.

And if you’re in Canada, come discuss the whole thing on May 8th at Eyelevel Gallery in Halifax. This is part of a lecture series called “Where have all the radicals gone?”

Lewis Hyde in The New York Times

Lewis Hyde, author of The Gift, and interviewee from the The Free Art Fair catalogue is profiled in NYT.

Martin Sexton's Free Stonehenge

If you missed it at the fair, we’ve just got this in from Martin

The free art collectors

Here are some brilliant pictures of the final day by Ella Bryant. She is a photographer and free art fair volunteer. It was a successful day and I can report that at the free art fair 100% of work went to collectors.

The Free Art Fair handbook here to download as a pdf

Here is the lovely little book designed by Paulus Dreibholz and team. 2000 of them went at the fair, so here is the pdf if you want to read it.

The Free Art Fair 2008 is complete!

Phew. Sorry if you’ve been trying to see the website, it’s been down all day because we had too many hits because the free art fair was the lead picture story on the bbc news site! It is a good problem to have in a way, but has taken most of the day to fix.
Anyway, the give-away was brilliant. More than a hundred people queued, many overnight. Matthew Collings’ picture was the first piece to go, and the people who got work seemed really happy when they got it. Below are a few links to coverage, and please post your stories here as well. It was live on BBC News throughout the day, and on ITV London Tonight, the BBC World Service and Radio 5. I will be posting pictures, video etc soon and the pdf of the catalogue wil be put up for you to download. I am interested in how you think The Free Art Fair should develop, also criticisms, praise, and all other ideas! Thank you all the artists, helpers, queuers, and others who made it great. JJ about 9 mins 20 secs in

Daniel Lehan “Free Art”