The third annual India Art Summit in New Delhi came to a close last week. Eighty-four galleries were represented, showing the work of 500 [mostly Indian] modern and contemporary artists, but 17 prominent galleries from the U.S., Europe and Asia were also included. Organizers reported 128,000 visitors over the fair’s three-day run and millions of dollars in sales.
Critics are quick to point out that the Art Summit in India is by no means in league with such art fairs as The Armory Show in New York. However, it was a far cry from the inaugural fair in 2008, when only 34 galleries and 10,000 visitors showed up and the event’s founder, Neha Kirpal, failed to break even.
The Art Summit is the largest event of its kind in India, attracting the interest of many newly prosperous visitors from all over t he country as well as international curiosity. Among those in attendance was Kiran Nadar, one of the most aggressive buyers in India in recent years. Nadar is also the wife of billionaire technology baron Shiv Nadar and the founder of the Kiran Nadar Museum of Art, which opened on the eve of the Art Summit inside a new shopping mall a few miles away.
In contrast to the Indian Art Summit, Officials in Greece just reported that it will be cancelling the inaugural Athens World Fine Art Fair slated for May 20-23, 2011 at the Zappeion Palace due to continuing concerns about the country’s economic crisis. As the situation in Greece remains uncertain, the realities of fuel shortages, strikes and straining resources have become cause for concern about the appropriateness and practicality of hosting this event at present.