Work by Alvin Zafra (Karen H. Montinola Selection). COURTESY OF ART FAIR PHILIPPINES
Happening from March 1 through March 4, the sixth edition of Art Fair Philippines promises to be bigger than ever, with its exhibition space totaling more than 13,000 square meters spread out over several floors. Fifty-one galleries—36 of them local—are set to participate, including 1335MABINI, Archivo1984, Artery Art Space, ArtInformal, Leon Gallery, Mo_Space, Salcedo Private View, Silverlens, The Drawing Room, West Gallery, and more.
Art Fair Philippines organizers Trickie Lopa, Lisa Periquet, and Dindin Araneta
According to Trickie Lopa, who co-founded the fair alongside Lisa Periquet and Dindin Araneta, last year’s fair saw over 40,000 visitors enter the venue. “This year, the opportunity to learn at Art Fair Philippines has also gotten bigger,” Araneta adds. “We’ve developed our educational thrust over the years to accommodate the growing and eager audience.” Apart from the scheduled ArtFairPH/Talks, co-presented by the Ateneo Art Gallery, and the ArtFairPH/Tours organized with the Museum Foundation of the Philippines, visitors can look forward to an enhanced focus on photography, as Art Fair Philippines introduces the section ArtFairPH/Photo, co-presented by Swiss bank Julius Baer. Complementing the fair’s schedule is the 10 Days of Art initiative, a series of events mounted by partner establishments around the city.
Whether you’re at Art Fair Philippines or at other museums or galleries around the world, these rules we’ve compiled are universal.
Unless it’s an interactive exhibit with signs that plainly state otherwise, a rule of thumb at fairs, galleries, and museums is not to touch the art. Further to that, it’s important to be very careful while handling food and drinks within close proximity of any work. Consider each piece precious, and remember that it cannot be replaced nor recreated by the artist.
View the art from a reasonable distance.
In places where you are one of thousands of people wanting to look at something, it doesn’t hurt to be mindful of others. Know that many other visitors want to have the complete experience, and not everyone will get the opportunity to stand so close to a piece of art—so take a step back and make sure you aren’t obstructing the view.
Whether you want to wear high heels is completely up to you, of course, but an art fair as expansive as this year’s Art Fair Philippines is best navigated in comfortable clothing and shoes. Fair organizers strongly discourage coming in with large, bulky bags or backpacks to avoid bumping into people, or worse, the artwork.
Taking pictures is okay; taking pictures with a camera flash is not.
Museums, galleries, and art fairs generally allow photography (save for special exhibitions that take extra precautions for security reasons). What you will often find that they do not allow is taking pictures with a camera flash, as it is widely believed that the light and heat emitted can cause damage to paintings over time. Forbidding the use of a camera flash also improves the experience for other viewers. Additionally, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with wanting to snap photos of your favorite pieces, or documenting your day at the fair—but always, always be considerate of other visitors who may not have as much time to take a look at everything. Take pictures quickly if you must, and don’t hog the space.
Don’t criticize the works on display out loud.
Yes, you’re entitled to your opinion, but the artists who have put months and even years of work into the very piece of art you’re looking at also deserve respect. Many of the artists, gallerists, and curators who have mounted the exhibition tend to stick around their space and are happy to discuss the work with attendees, so unless you’ve been asked for some constructive criticism, it’s best to keep scathing thoughts to yourself.