Fair  November 1, 2022  Sarah Bochicchio

Jill Bokor Speaks About the Upcoming Salon Art + Design Fair

Courtesy Protuondo

Ceiling light, Brass, painted metal and opaline glass. Ceiling light with three perforated and lacquered metal shades, opaline glass. Stilux, c. 1958, Italy. Height 120 cm x Diameter 75 cm

Salon Art + Design has, over the last decade, become an unmissable event on the fall arts calendar. Now in its eleventh edition, Salon returns to the Park Avenue Armory in New York, from November 10th to 14th, featuring an impressively varied list of exhibitors. 

Salon Art + Design is unique in its breadth; the fair features global art and design objects from antiquity to the present. This year there will be fifty-two exhibitors, many of whom are international participants attending for the first time since the pandemic—making this year’s line-up even more exciting. Before the fair opens, Art & Object spoke with art world icon Jill Bokor, the fair’s executive director, about what we can expect this year.  

Courtesy Maison Gerard, Photo: Maison Gerard

Franck Evennou, Bronze and Marble Console

Art & Object (A&O): First, congratulations on pulling together an exciting line-up for this years Salon: Art + Design! Salon is widely considered to be the most anticipated event of the fall arts calendar—how does it feel to be in the eleventh iteration of the fair? 

Jill Bokor (JB): Thank you. It feels wonderful. I think that one of the upsides of COVID is that it gave us a renewed appreciation and gratitude for things that we might have taken for granted.

A&O: What was your planning process like for this year? What elements are you particularly excited about?

JB: Our great hope was that many of our European galleries who couldn’t travel last year would return to the fair, and they have. In addition, we have a number of new international galleries, some of which have not been seen in this country before, so we’re very excited about that, too.

A&O: I know last year there were some international participants who couldnt make it due to pandemic restrictions. Are there international exhibitors you are particularly eager to showcase?

JB: We are delighted to welcome our first Egyptian gallery, Le Lab, that specializes in Middle-Eastern design. That’s a first for us. We also have a design partner, Klove Studio, from India who will showcase amazing totemic lighting design.

Courtesy Galerie Artempo

Agustina Ros, Jewelry Objects Bubble Tetris

SB: One of the unique elements of Salon is its inclusion of a huge range of materials, both in terms of medium and time period. Were there any significant themes or exciting juxtapositions that came out as you were working on this years lineup?

JB: Salon isn’t really thematic except for the expectation of excellence in our exhibitors. I do love that we are the only fair that juxtaposes ancient art and design with contemporary. We literally show works from 2022 BC and 2022 AD.

A&O: Salon: Art + Design will be taking place, as usual, in New York, and I know your relationship with the city goes back even further than Salon. How have you seen the New York art scene change over the years?

JB: I’ve been in the art world since the mid-1980’s so I’ve seen a lot. That was the decade of conspicuous consumption (which might sound funny given current art market prices). I think at that time, people collected name artists and bought (for very inflated prices) less than stellar works of art just to have the name included in their collections. 

Today, the hunt is for quality and we see that time and again at Salon. I’ve also noticed a sea of change in that people used to collect vertically, choosing to form a collection of old Masters or American furniture and develop very specific collections. Over the past eleven years at Salon, people have been mixing it up more—vintage and contemporary are equally sought after by the same collectors and designers.

Courtesy Liz O’Brien

Louis Cane, Pair of bronze oak trees with acorns in square planter boxes. French, c. 2017

A&O: What does it seem like buyers are looking for this year? Have you sensed a change in tastes? 

JB: The pandemic created a new marketplace. People’s lives are more concentrated in their homes now and they are paying a lot of attention to the things they live with. I do think that glass is having a moment, as is maximalism. People got tired of sparse design during their confinements so we’re seeing homes with larger, more statement-like pieces with more varied collections.

 A&O: Perhaps it is still difficult to say, but how do you think the last two years have changed and will continue to influence art fairs and the art world more broadly?

JB: People have a heightened appreciation for the experience. We saw that last year. Instead of being limited to online viewing rooms, people were thrilled to be having an in-person experience again. The participants last year all reported renewed interest in dialogue and the palpable experience of being able to sit in a chair, hold a ceramic, and admire a painting in real-time instead of in pixels. This enthusiasm is even greater now that collectors are feeling safer—they very much want the conversation and connection.

Courtesy R&Company, Photo: Joe Kramm

Rogan Gregory, “Croissant”, lounge chairs in sculpted shearling with upholstered swivel base. Made and designed by Rogan Gregory, USA, 2021.30" (L) x 40" (W)76.2cm (L) x 101.6cm (W)

A&O: What can we expect to see in terms of special exhibitions and panel discussions? 

JB: Our special exhibitions this year are fabulous. As mentioned there is lighting from India. We also have a collection of the world’s finest gems and minerals. We are also welcoming three very different jewelry galleries: one for highly collectible art jewelry, the second is an Haute jewelry designer from London, and the third is an elegant and well-known New York jewelry designer.  And, for the first time, we welcome a renowned French interior designer who is showcasing his first line of furniture.

A&O: Is there anything else you want to highlight?

JB: Really, that there is something for everyone at the fair. People don’t, for example, always know that antiquities can be quite accessible and that they’re a great mix of contemporary design. More and more of our exhibitors are bringing in accessible pieces so that younger collectors can put a toe in the waters of collectible design. This year we’ve achieved a lovely balance of geography, genre, and period and I’m very excited about that.

About the Author

Sarah Bochicchio

Sarah Bochicchio is a New York-based writer and researcher. She focuses on history, fashion, art, and gender—and where all of those things intersect.

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