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Tomorrow through March 8, SCOPE New York opens its doors at the Metropolitan Pavilion in Chelsea to the public. To celebrate its 20th anniversary, the special edition will showcase 60 international galleries, a schedule of event and performances, and special projects highlighting SCOPE’s journey over the past two decades.
Whitewall spoke with SCOPE President and Founder Alexis Hubshman about the milestone, this year’s programming, and how the fair continues to propel new voices.
WHITEWALL: This is the 20th anniversary of SCOPE New York. How do you feel the New York show compares to others? Any specific highlights this year?
ALEXIS HUBSHMAN: Each city we exhibit has its own personality, and SCOPE’s mandate of showing new talent attracts all collectors interested in what gems the emerging art world has to offer. Our New York show has historically been a more intimate VIP preview, giving a peak of the year to come and allows us to showcase our unique take on what creative culture has to offer. This year, SCOPE will be continuing the focus on its New Contemporary program which will feature awards and travel grants for artists and galleries from around the world.
WW: Tell us a bit about The New Contemporary.
AH: The New Contemporary is the evolution of the graffiti and urbanism movements into an art world context, transcending genres and trends. What was once deemed “alternative” is now being celebrated in the world’s most formative museums, institutions, and collections. SCOPE is proud to be deepening its ties with the genre through a focused exhibitor program.
WW: Can you tell us a bit about the Program Awards?
AH: SCOPE New York is proud to have granted Program Awards and Travel Grants to galleries exhibiting solo-shows or focused programs within The New Contemporary genre. These grants and awards are made possible by the proceeds of past artist projects at SCOPE that paid it forward.
WW: How do you feel SCOPE’s role in the art fair sector has evolved?
AH: Over the last twenty years, I’ve had a front-row seat as the art world has transformed during the rise of the art fair. From a scrappy upstart to creative R&D, SCOPE has played many roles in this reconfiguration of the gatekeeper.
It has been gratifying to watch the evolution of an instinct and how we continue to inspire our base of collectors with creative cross-industry VIP programming and monumental sponsorship activations.
WW: Tell us a bit about how SCOPE is an incubator for new voices.
AH: We embrace our role in systematically building up and professionalizing the galleries we showcase. By creating a first of its kind online management system where they can choose to build and curate all aspects of their participation as well as broaden their social media exposure, we’ve supercharged their growth in a way traditional PR firms cannot provide.
Much has come full circle in the twenty years since SCOPE started as the original satellite art fair. Blue Chips dominate the market again while smaller galleries are once again struggling to survive, but I am proud that SCOPE remains a safe haven and an incubator for new voices to thrive and grow.
WW: SCOPE is a fair we enjoy going to, regardless of location, for its accessible feel and its dynamic roster. Are there any new inclusions this year that you’re particularly excited about?
AH: We are excited to have worked with artist Brendan Monroe to design a city-wide wheat pasting campaign as well as a special print edition exclusivity sold at SCOPE New York. A portion of these proceeds will be put into an artist fund that will help bring future artist projects to life at future editions of SCOPE.