Monday, April 21, 2014

Inaugural Edition of Silicon Valley Contemporary Points to Burgeoning Art Market in the Valley

Inaugural Edition of Silicon Valley Contemporary Points to Burgeoning Art Market in the Valley

April 17, 2014 (San Jose, CA) — On Sunday, April 13th, Silicon Valley Contemporary closed a successful inaugural year for the Valley’s first art fair. The premier event drew over 6,500 attendees to the San Jose McEnery Convention Center, with over 2,000 lining up for the VIP Opening Night Preview to benefit the San Jose Museum of Art. Silicon Valley Contemporary delivered on its aim of building bridges between the art and tech worlds and grooming a new collector base for cutting edge contemporary art works.

Ultimately, the fair indicated strong interest in the region for viewing and collecting fine art, spread across mediums and demographics. The fair’s robust panel discussion program proved immensely popular, with standing room only audiences learning about the fine art market and collecting from national art experts. As an exercise in new market disruption, one of the Valley’s core tenets, Silicon Valley Contemporary’s first year proved a telling experiment, revealing effective modes for educating and engaging this audience, which the fair plans to build on in its 2015 return. “Fair goers demonstrated interest in all genres, and this positive response to our first-year effort from thousands of art enthusiasts is encouraging and establishes a strong foundation on which to build next year,” said Rick Friedman, President, Hamptons Expo Group and founder of Silicon Valley Contemporary.

Silicon Valley Contemporary brought a fair that matched the innovative spirit of the region, “the #1 filer of new patents in the United States,” as Kerry Adams-Hapner, San Jose’s Director of Cultural Affairs & Deputy Director of Economic Development, pointed out in Thursday’s press conference. The first year fair was also host to a range of other first-and-only claims—first time art acquisitions by new collectors, first time art fair attendees in a growing market, and the first Drone-produced paintings.

Throughout the fair, guests were seen using the Collectrium app to identify works of art they were interested in. The official technology partner of the fair, Collectrium produced the Silicon Valley Contemporary app for iPhone and iPad, a comprehensive digital guide to the fair's exhibitors and artworks available in real time point-and-shoot display through Collectrium’s revolutionary image recognition feature.

Jamie Austin, Curator and Director of Programs for ZERO1, a preeminent authority on the intersection between art and technology, attended the fair and spoke of the positive impact of the event for the area, stating, “Silicon Valley Contemporary was a welcomed experiment in downtown San Jose. From the strong collection of videos in the "Moving Image Experience" to media projects by Gary Hill and the Marina Abramovic Institute, I appreciated the fair's focus on showcasing artists using technology as a tool to create innovative new work."

Sales documented at SVC were in a range of mediums and price points–from major works placed in prominent collections to Low-Brow and Street Art pieces purchased by novice collectors, proving a viable market for fine art in the Valley. Opening night sales kicked off with the purchase of Jasper Johns’s Lands End, for $28,000, and a Mark Flood Untitled painting, for $80,000, sold at Mark Borghi Fine Art, and continued through the final hour of the fair with Seoul based Art Company MISOOLSIDAE selling a Jeong Hyun-Sook. Additionally, the first known Bitcoin sale at an art fair, Off Limits but Blessed by The Fed by Dana Louise Kirkpatrick sold by KM Fine Arts Gallery for more than 40 Bitcoins. Many exhibitors cited interest and follow-up that would extend sales through the coming weeks, and numerous new contacts made.

Lester Marks, a noted Houston based collector and featured guest speaker at the fair, acquired a major work for his collection at the fair by the 2014 Distinguished Media Artist, Gary Hill, asking price $65,000. In a comment made shortly after he said, "I'm very excited to have acquired Klein Bottle with the Image of Its Own Making (after Robert Morris) by Gary Hill from James Harris Gallery at Silicon Valley Contemporary. This piece will join another important work of art in my collection—a video piece by Bill Viola. It’s an honor to have work by two pioneers working with the moving image and new media." Produced in an edition of five, Marks acquired the third in the edition, as well as a piece by Turkish video artist Rafik Anadol.


Regarding the sale of the Gary Hill piece to Lester Marks, Mr. Harris of James Harris Gallery (Seattle, WA) said, “The pieces I brought of Gary Hill’s were a great complement to his Depth Charge piece in the Moving Image Experience. With the sale of Klein Bottle..., the fair was very successful for me. I also noticed that the collectors who came through were not specifically focused on new media, they had a range of tastes.”

Anthony Luzi, of Bash Contemporary (San Francisco, CA) proclaimed opening night “...phenomenal, better than expected...” and reported strong sales and interest, explaining, “Overall, the fair seemed to do great for the first year. We made sales, the connections were great and I was glad to see interest in the work we show coming from collectors in their 40s, 50s, and 60s.”

Jennifer Kellen of ACE Gallery, (Los Angeles, CA) noted meeting visitors from many cities including Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York, Boston, Houston and more. The gallery made sales and did well, and Ms. Kellen noted there was particular interest in Ben Jones’s piece SGI Video Painting 1, which débuted at the fair. When asked about the relevance of an art fair in Silicon Valley, Ms. Kellen replied, “The thing that makes a work of art unique is innovation. Artists as well as people in the tech industry are innovators - the basis of both industries is solving problems.”


“The fair is a proper art fair - seriously done, with some rigorous pieces.” - Caille Milner,San Francisco Chronicle

“ dealers are ravenous to tap into this rising class of monied tech industrialists, knowing full well that they are the most significant contenders for being the patrons of tomorrow.” - Andrew Goldstein, Artspace

“...the mood on Thursday night was very upbeat, curious, and optimistic. Dealers aren’t expecting immediate returns, just trying to figure out what type of work will help them get a foothold in Silicon Valley.” - Ben Sutton, Artnet

“Situated in the country’s mecca of innovation...the event caters to the newly minted tech titans –  the startup set and their ecosystem of supporters. But like with any art fair organized by New York’s Hamptons Expo Group, SVC will be well-attended by NorCal’s most established collectors, curious consultants, dealers, and museum directors as well as those who want to see and be seen at the ‘next generation art fair.’” - Nathalie Danilovich, 7x7

Event Images
Images of the opening night event are available via Dropbox.

About Silicon Valley Contemporary
Silicon Valley Contemporary is the first art fair in the heart of California's technology industry mecca, connecting select international exhibitors with this highly desirable market through innovative programming and events. Silicon Valley Contemporary will bring together innovators and influencers from the worlds of art and technology, including curators, collectors, museum directors, international artists and art dealers, CEOs, and angel investors. The fair offers the public an opportunity to see the how the newest technological innovations are impacting art practices around the world.
Silicon Valley Contemporary Contact:
HEG – Hamptons Expo Group
223 Hampton Road
Southampton, NY 11968
Main Office: 631-283-5505
Fax: 917-591-5415

Follow Silicon Valley Contemporary on Social Media:
Twitter @SVcontemporary
Instagram @SiliconValleyContemporary


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