2016 Melbourne Art Fair cancelled after withdrawal of major galleries

Courtesy Melbourne Art Fair

The nonprofit Melbourne Art Foundation has announced that the 2016 edition of the Melbourne Art Fair (MAF), due to open in August at the Royal Exhibition Building, has been cancelled. Anna Pappas, chairperson of the Melbourne Art Foundation, cited among other reasons, the withdrawal of a number of high-profile galleries from the fair (including Roslyn Oxley, Tolarno Galleries, and Anna Schwartz), just a day before payment to the foundation for exhibiting was due, The Guardian reports. The fair could have gone ahead and filled the spots, but in Pappas word, ‘we have no interest in becoming an affordable, mediocre art fair’. The foundation says it is planning on bringing back the fair at a later date, and will take this time to reflect on a new model. 

In an interview with ArtAsiaPacific, one of the gallerists at the fair said the decision was motivated by the unofficial announcement that Sydney Contemporary, a biannual art fair launched in 2013 by Art Fairs Australia (AFA), would be running annually as of 2017. Incidentally, AFA recently terminated its contract with the Melbourne Art Fair, just 18 months into an agreed 20-year term.

19 February 2016.