Art Cologne opens its doors for the 52nd time this week with the 9th edition since Daniel Hug became Director of the fair. ArtDependence had the opportunity to sit down with Mr. Hug for about an hour despite his busy schedule the day before the official opening. Art Cologne, he says, was the world's leading art fair from 1967 - 1994. In 1994 there was a visible decline that lasted until around 2007. Reasons for the decline included some poor decisions and the rise of the Frieze Artfair, a hip young artfair in London that changed the game for everyone.
Daniel Hug was appointed Director of Art Cologne in 2009 and has since made several smart decisions. Hug moved the fair from Hall 11 to hall 4. Hall 11 had 4 entrances, which meant that the visitors had 4 possibilities entrances to the fair, creating a desolate feeling. Hall 4 just has 1 entrance. Mister Hug also downsized the number of participating galleries from 290 to around 200. Another reason for the regenerated success is the location of the fair, less than 2 hours from Brussels by High Speed Train and 2 1/2 hours from Amsterdam. Art Cologne is also carving out a niche as a show which displays both contemporary art and modern art from the 20's until the present day. For Hug, this results in less competition between the different galleries on display as they often represent widely different periods. Furthermore, loyalty from worldwide galleries throughout the years, combined with excellent work from quality local galleries, make the fair attractive to artlovers and prominent collectors from all over the world. These days, the fair is also accompanied by a high quality printed magazine - Kunstmesse.
This year's exhibitors include Daniel Bucholz, Gagosian, David Zwirner, Galerie Schoettle, Wentrup Gallerie, Pace, Klemm’s, Kamel Mennour, White Cube, Jocelyn Wolff, Eigen + Art, Pearl Lam and Thaddaeus Ropac to name just a few.
Image: courtesy Art Cologne.