About Zero Art Fair

AI-generated Art Storage images created by Adobe Firefly 


Zero Art Fair is conceived by artists Jennifer Dalton and William Powhida. 

Zero Art Fair is an experimental way to match artworks with people who want to live with art but can’t necessarily afford it. Developed by artists Jennifer Dalton and William Powhida, the fair uses a ‘store-to-own’ contract to offer artworks free of charge, but with strings attached.  


The contract includes a 5-year vesting period before ownership is automatically transferred to the new owner.  During that time, the contract grants the artist the right to sell the work, borrow the work for exhibition, or under certain conditions request the return of the work. It also grants the borrower a right of first refusal and a prorated discount on the retail price, if another collector expresses interest in buying the work.  After ownership is transferred, the contract grants the artist 50% of the sale price if the work is later sold, and a 10% royalty in perpetuity on subsequent resales. Originally developed for William by NYU Professor Amy Whitaker and artist Alfred Steiner, the contract is designed to allow artists to give their work away without letting go of its potential value.  


The organizers are planning to launch Zero Art Fair July 19-21st, 2024, in New York’s Hudson Valley during Upstate Art Weekend in a beautiful barn in Elizaville, New York.  Early funders who contributed $500 or more will receive earliest access to the works in the fair. For those with the means, supporting Zero Art Fair is a great way to help others discover art they want to live with.  The fair will run for three days using the contract to transfer works at no charge. 


If you’re an artist interested in participating please read our submission guidelines and apply before May 20th.  If you're a patron looking to help provide funds to make the fair happen, please look at the ways you can contribute. If you're interested in helping us out on the ground before and during the fair, please fill out our interest survey to see how you could help!  As the fair approaches we will be updating our FAQ section below.  If you have any other questions, please email us zeroartfair@gmail.com



We have a long history of creating socially engaged art and an equally long history of making more artwork than we sell.

FAQ

What?

Zero Art Fair is an art fair where all of the artwork is offered for free, but with strings attached in terms of artists’ rights.


Why?

Every artist we know has a storage problem. Meanwhile few people we know can afford to live with the art they love. What if these two problems could cancel each other out, even a little bit? The artists behind Zero Art Fair have long enjoyed critiquing the art market. This is an effort to build something rather than just tear down. 


Who? 

Jennifer Dalton and William Powhida are Brooklyn-based artists who have a long history of critiquing the systems of the art world, and an equally long history of making more artwork than they sell. In addition to their individual artistic practices, since 2008 they have collaborated on art interventions addressing problems of access, hierarchies and power imbalances, among them #Class and #Rank in conjunction with Winkleman Gallery in 2010 and Month2Month, in conjunction with More Art, in 2016.


Where? 

Zero Art Fair will take place in a beautiful “party barn” in Elizaville, NY, in the Hudson Valley.  The address is 365 W Pond Lily Rd, Elizaville, NY 12523.  


When?

April 29 - May 17:  open call for participating artists

By June 5:  artists notified of results

Time window TBD:  delivery of artworks to centralized locations in Brooklyn and Elizaville

July 19-21 Zero Art Fair


Is the art going to be any good? 

We believe the art market has done a very limited job of elevating the best art into view, and that there is a lot of great art sitting in boxes in the dark. We are working with a team of arts professionals to curate the fair so that it is also an excellent exhibition. 


Is this a replacement for the art market? 

This is not meant to replace the market. It is an experiment that can exist alongside it.


Why does this model involve artists working for free, yet again?

Our perspective is that the market is a fiction for most working artists. Artists sell artwork when they can, but most make far more work than they can sell, and would be thrilled to have more of their artworks find loving homes.  This is a way to take that work out of the dark. 


Won’t people just take all the artwork on the first day? 

We plan to enforce a limit of one free artwork per collector per day. Depending on how much artwork is left on Sunday, the last day of the fair, we may amend that policy.


Where is the money you raise going? 

Building the wall structures the artwork will hang on, paying the people who work with us, renting port-a-potties, paying to participate in Upstate Art Weekend, buying event insurance, subscribing to software, and other practical realities of making this happen. We are committed to transparency; we will continue to post our expenses and fundraising. We ourselves are not currently getting paid, but we are logging our time. If we end up with funds after taking care of the above we will pay ourselves $25/hour for our time to the extent possible. 


Did you invent this idea? 

This is our twist on an idea that’s been out there for decades. Here are some of our inspirations and antecedents:

Seth Siegelaub and Robert Projansky’s The Artist's Reserved Rights Transfer and Sale Agreement

Adam Simon’s Fine Art Adoption Network

Sean Naftel’s Free Art at #Rank

Yevginiy Fiks’ Adopt Lenin at Winkleman Gallery 

Jade Townsend’s Crazy Amazing Garage Sale at Auxiliary Projects


Who’s helping you? 

Current sponsors include Blue Medium Public Relations, Netvvrk, and private individuals who have contributed to help this happen. 


ADVISORY BOARD

Our advisory board is composed of people who have helped us develop the fair by sharing their experience and expertise. This board will continue to grow as we build Zero Art Fair.  


Franklin Boyd, Attorney

Manon Slome, Co-Founder, No Longer Empty

Jessica Hargreaves, Co-Founder/Director, Mother-in-Law’s

Micaela Martegani, Executive Director and Chief Curator, More Art

Magda Sawon, Founder/Director, Postmasters NYC

Alfred Steiner, Attorney and Artist

Adam Simon, Artist, founder Fine Art Adoption Network

Amy Whitaker, Professor, NYU
Edward Winkleman, Author and private dealer 

Lauren Wittels, Partner, Luhring Augustine Gallery

Contact us at zeroartfair@gmail.com
Follow us on Instagram @zeroartfairs