Andy Freeberg on the Art of the Art-Fair Booth


Street photographers know that you don’t always get the best picture when you point your camera at the action. Looking at the lookers, and capturing their reactions, often tells us even more. Andy Freeberg knows this and adds one more layer: He makes art in which the lookers are looking at art—or, more often, ignoring it. The body of work in “Art Fare,” at Andrea Meislin through August 8, was photographed on the art-fair circuit between 2009 and 2011 and is based on the premise that ordinary business and extraordinary art make for great pairings. The juxtapositions are funny, of course, but they also get at the strange reality of these events. Dealers, Freeberg notes, face a conundrum: “You’re spending money on the booth, spending time, you have to make the sales and the connections—but at the same time they have to play it cool.” They also, he says, seem to appreciate seeing themselves. “At the show in New York, some of the people in the photos have come in. I wasn’t sure how they’d react—you know, one dealer in San Francisco told me, I love these, but they’re almost cringe-inducing. But they’re smiling. They get it.”

*This article appears in the July 28, 2014 issue of New York Magazine.