The almost over-energetic Alexis Hubshman is director of SCOPE, the fair that won’t sit still. One day he’s talking about new SCOPEs in Madrid or Dubai, the next he’ll tell you about the SCOPE Foundation and its commissioning program, or the new cinema series, or whatever next new twist on the art fair formula he’s busy hatching. I’ve probably followed the development of SCOPE more closely than any other fair, and Mr Hubshman and I have had our disagreements along the way, but it is impossible to dislike him, even if attempting to limit him to five simple points for the purposes of my On the fingers of one hand column is almost impossible. But pin him down and you discover the philosophy that guides his energy:
– The niche that we carved out for ourselves at SCOPE wasn’t a fluke. We’ve always concentrated on emerging artists, younger artists, artists earlier in their career. That means we offer work at price points that are more palatable in the present climate.
– We don’t call our collectors “V.I.P.s,” we call them “patrons.” Our collectors get the opportunity to be direct patrons of new emerging artists. The thing I’ve always appreciated about SCOPE collectors – and I identify with this as a young collector myself – is they like treasure hunting, they love discoveries, they love uncovering jewels behind big stones.
– No matter what kind of thing collectors want to buy, they don’t want to spend $500,000 at the Armory Show any more, but they’re excited to spend $5,000 or $7,000 or even $25,000 at our fair. We saw this in Miami in December. A lot of people told us they’d gone to Art Basel Miami Beach and they weren’t going to get as much as they expected. We did very well out of that.
– Wait until people see this fair! There are so many one-person shows, so much work with gravity. Artists are taking stock. They might not be selling as much, but they’re having the opportunity to go back to the drawing board and to reflect a little deeper on what’s going on. A lot of the pieces are real pearls of wisdom, because artists are making statements about life. This is less art about art, and more art about life.
– There’s work in this SCOPE like I haven’t seen before. I must admit, even in SCOPE Miami I’d see a lot more eye-candy and in-your-face production values. This fair has work for the collector who’s looking for something that’s not just another piece that looks like somebody else’s. It’s so refreshing – it’s no longer the eye-candy trophy scenario!