While many of the regular art fairs might have been postponed this year, there’s still a crop of them who are embracing the ‘new normal’ with cleverly thought-out, innovative iterations. One of these is the Art Car Boot Fair, which this year will be taking place in its first-ever viral version.
Well-loved for its quirky personality, the Art Car Boot Fair was originally inspired by the trailblazing Hoxton-based art events in the late 90s, like Joshua Compston’s ‘Fête Worse than Death’ and Gavin Turk’s ‘Livestock Market’ and ‘Articultural Shows’. Like the Art Car Boot Fair, these events also celebrated the weird and wonderful within the world of art.
The first edition of the Art Car Boot Fair took place London in 2004 with a line-up of around 30 artists. Now, it takes place twice a year and features a diverse mix of 150 artists, from Turner Prize winners to rising stars, classically trained fine artists to contemporary street artists. Coming together, they offer visitors the chance to engage with both them and their art informally. But they also offer the opportunity to pick up their pieces for specially reduced prices.
Today, that concept remains, albeit in a newly altered viral version. Art Car Boot Fair favourites will still be returning for this edition, including Gavin Turk, Polly Morgan, Pam Hogg, Marcus Harvey, Sara Pope and Pure Evil. They will be joined by a host of exciting new artists, such as Rankin, Noel Fielding, Helen Beard, Claire Partington, Hayden Keys, Charlotte MacMillan and Robert Cooper, all of who have designed work specifically for the fair.
This year’s new online experience is designed to overcome the challenges posed by the global pandemic. In fact, many of the artists taking part have been inspired by the situation we find ourselves in this year. For example, Pam Hogg has created posters for the endless films she has been watching during lockdown, while Susie Hamilton has produced mask-clad portraits of NHS workers. Meanwhile, the blackened Union Jacks in Marcus Harvey’s ceramic sculpture reflect the dark times our country has experienced.
In order to capture the spirit of the fair that visitors would normally experience, a digital Programme of the Day is being held. Featuring a wide variety of artist-led events and experiences that will take place alongside the fair itself. Expect live drawing classes, special readings, radio broadcasts, artist interviews and plenty of performance art.
“Despite this year’s move online, we’re also proud to be maintaining our unique focus on interaction between artist and audience,” says Karen Ashton, founder of the Fair. “Visitors will be able to talk directly to the artists through Zoom and Instagram, as well as take part in a vibrant programme of immersive events.” It may not be the Art Car Boot Fair as you know it, but there’s no doubt it’ll still be a democratic and engaging way to access and buy art.
The Art Car Boot Festival will take place online on 20 September, 12pm – 6.30pm; Premium access from £12