The Manchester Contemporary and Buy Art Fair takes place every year and is the only UK invitational art fair for critically engaged contemporary art outside London, and has sold millions of pounds of contemporary art including works by Damian Hirst, Tracy Emin and Grayson Perry. This year is its tenth edition and marks an exciting change of locations from Granada studios to Manchester Central. In addition to the fair, there was an extended programme of talks, events, demonstrations, and for the first time the Buy Art Fair Fringe had affiliated events and initiatives spilling out across the whole city widening the fairs reach.
This year the Buy Art Fair and the Manchester Contemporary were together within the vast space of Manchester Central, and the separation that the old space at Granada Studios created is removed, as the Buy Art Fair stands merge together with the Manchester Contemporary stands, allowing visitors to seamlessly flow between the two without realising there is a divide. The divide is due to the different aims of the two sections, the main reason behind the Buy Art Fair is to get people to invest in art, whilst the Contemporary is to promote artists. The Buy Art Fair’s focus is to make it easy for everyone to buy original and affordable art by creating a space that offers visitors a wide range of art from traditional to the contemporary, and the opportunity to compare the artworks within one space. The Manchester Contemporary sits alongside the fair to provide a platform for critically engaged art, in which galleries select emerging and early career artists that showcase more experimental or challenging work, with the chance for collectors to invest in artists hailed to be the next big thing. Throughout the weekend within the Contemporary there were various talks that discussed the artists and ideas and allowed experts to share their knowledge giving visitors a greater insight into the galleries and artworks.