Three months after taking over Viennafair (or, more accurately: after saving it from a close-down), Russian-born New York City resident Sergey Skaterschikov has put the expo on track – well, sort of.
There have been some signs that “Viennafair – The New Contemporary” won't be a success automatically, and so the new owners have accelerated the speed. They axed the old artistic team of Schöllhammer/Saxenhuber so fast that even the local partners – a group of collectors led by former Mumok director Edelbert Köb – were taken by surprise. “It simply didn't work,” said Skaterschikov, who made an appearance in Vienna today to convince gallery owners that they will see the best selling Viennafair ever.
The news wasn't bad, at all: Vita Zaman, a native from Lithuania who has operated galleries in Vilnius, London and New York, and Christina Steinbrecher, who collects all the cool jobs Moscow has to offer, are the new faces of the fair. A third, yet not named person (who has first to quit an active contract elsewhere), will complete the team shortly. Also, the Vienna office has recently gotten a doubling in staff and capacity.
But probably most importantly, Skaterschikov has established an investment vehicle that is committed to purchasing a selection of art works for at least one million euro at the booths in Vienna. What exactly is put into this fund (called “Art Vectors Investment Partnership”) will be decided by a jury, currently being assembled by Köb. Among the first people who have accepted a role in this committee is Joseph Backstein.
Viennafair starts on Sept. 19 with an International Art Industry Forum, which is a great strategic innovation to the fair in sleepy Vienna, where even people of high rank may boast about their detest of contemporary art.