We were invited to the VIP preview of the No Commission Art Fair/Exhibition curated by the Dean Collection last Thursday in the South Bronx. Swizz Beatz, the grammy-winning producer, hip-hop artist and husband of grammy-winning musician Alicia Keys is also an avid contemporary art collector and launched his first Dean Collection No Commission Art Fair during last year's Art Basel Miami.
The No Commission Art Fair's strategy is to enable artists to come in contact directly with art buyers/collectors and have all proceeds from the sales of artworks go directly to the exhibiting artists. The usual order of the art world is that artists work through galleries or representatives who make a commission of 40-50% on every artwork they sell.
As Swizz states in this week's Artsy article..."I saw that a lot of artists were going unnoticed - maybe because of their status or their unwillingness to sell out and it reminded me of all the politics that surround art...what if I created a show where there were no politics; where artists don't have to pay a booth or space and get to keep 100% of what they sell." A brave concept, I'll watch with great interest whether it gains traction.
In any event the evening was quite an extravaganza, supported by not just artists of every stripe, but also the hip-hop community with live performances by Swizz's famous friends and Bacardi served up rum-laced refreshments. Along with artworks donated by private collectors and from Swizz's own extensive personal art collection, there was also a considerable amount of artworks for sale with no commissions, of course. Artists works on view or for sale included Kehinde Wiley, Nathaniel Mary Quinn, John Ahearn, Faile Collective, Hassan Hajjaj, Ebony G Patterson, Rashaad Newsome and many more. Swizz announced via his instagram with a following of 1.4 million that 98% of the artworks sold - well done!!