Paris Photo LA, fourth edition, that was supposed to happen May 1st, 2016, has been canceled.
It is a sad day for Photographers and Photography.
Paris Photo LA was organized by Reed Exhibitions, part of the group RELX (result of the merger in 1993 between the British company Reed International PLC and the Dutch publishing house Elsevier NV). RELX represents 15% of its overall turnover, through Reed Exhibitions. In this sector, the group is present in 43 countries with 500 events and 43 business sectors, such as construction, aerospace, energy … but also art, which account for 10% of turnover of the group. World leader, the company is two times larger than its direct competitor, the British company UBM.
Los Angeles too far, too expensive?
It has been canceled says French newspaper Le Journal des Arts, because “the galleries would not come in sufficient numbers“. The point of view of the galleries is clearly understandable.
First of all, galleries from Europe are those who are willing to participate to such a show, because the reputation of LA as a great place for photography precedes anything else and because the US market is always attractive. But, unfortunately those same galleries from Europe who would like to come do not have sufficient financial resources to go that far and to pay that much. It’s not a secret that Europe is in crisis and as a consequence, art galleries too.
Second of all, galleries from Los Angeles and from the US prefer more and more to dilute the Photographs within generalists art fairs out of town like in New York, or Europe, or also some new appealing ones like in Mexico.
Not only, this is the beginning of some adjustments
In that field of art fairs, like anywhere else the competition is worldwide. It’s getting harder because gallerists (like collectors) go where things are new, good and where the market is.
It is in Abu Dhabi? Dubai? they go there. And if, next year it happens to be in Columbia? Mexico? with cheaper booth, attractive collectors, good restaurant, new places to discover, gallerists move there, no matter what.
Too many art fairs kill art fairs? yes and no. I would prefer to say the whole system of art fairs needs to reevaluating itself. It is time for some adjustment.
And it sounds like it has just started!