Parallax Art fair / PAF

Parallax art fair or PAF are VERY UNPROFESSIONAL and a real scam preying on young artists – google this fair and you will find so many complaining that there was no marketing, that they turned up to find no lighting and bad booths, that the team was completely unprofessional. Remember at an artist’s fair like this YOU are the client, they earn by taking your money, and do not have incentives to help you make money from your customers (visitors) therefore you really have to be 100% confident in the fair and do research them widely. I have been in a battle with these guys for years and their leader ‘Dr Chris Barlow’ refuses to remove me from the marketing list and has been so rude to me every time I have asked. Here is one of the emails I got from him years ago, pasted below, it’s really all about how he is such an ‘enlightened person’ that I should not question being part of his mailing list….

> Hi,
>
> I have removed you, but I haven’t got a clue who you are. I do note that
> you are on Jotta though. And I do tend to receive the most replies from
> some artists on that site about “quality level” without much knowledge
> of that concept when they are asked. You might want to read my latest
> blog post which is all about artists like that and “special knowledge”
> http://drchrisbarlowparallax.blogspot.co.uk/
>
> And no one is begging anyone. I think you’ve made that up.
>
> Sure, what I have to say about art objects is challenging and new for
> some, and people have their castles to protect, so I doubt everyone is
> going to have nice things to say!
>
> CB

MY REPLY:

> Dear Chris,
>
> I have not read your writing, so I am not commenting on your opinions/views. I am simply commenting on the fact that I have asked you around 4-5 times to remove me from your mailing list, each time you promise you will, and then I continue to receive requests to display at your fair. Perhaps it is a system glitch, but it is unprofessional and gives a feeling of being spammed by you. Given the other two emails I forwarded you earlier, I am sure you can see how frustrating it is for me.
>
> I have no idea about the ‘quality level’ of your fair – however, the impression I get from this dialogue with you and the spamming, is that it is not very high. My point is, if this is a mistaken impression, you may want to take steps to avoid me and others like me from having these same frustrations and impressions.
>
>
>

CHRIS’s REPLY:

Hi,

Thanks for your email.

Do read the writing. Life is short and I don’t want to be at
loggerheads. Parallax is a metaphor, and some people really do need to
grapple with alternative ideas. There is a new “sound” in the air. I
repeat: as I say to many, I don’t give a damn whether you exhibit or
not, but take away the ideas behind it. Don’t miss it. There is an
extensive bibliography in the back of the original Parallax catalogue
(it was originally a research exhibition):
http://www.barlowfinedrawings.com/archiveessays.html (it’s at the
bottom the page).

Take care to you and best of luck,

Chris
——-

5 comments
  • Anonymous

    Readers should be cautious about some of the anonymous posters above (they are likely the same person and the website may well be fake too). Readers should refer to recent video evidence of the event, as that is objective. There are videos on PAF TV. including videos by recent exhibitors (including returnees), as well as videos by exhibitors themselves over many years, if you search “Parallax London” on You Tube, it should come up with a few. The event is ten years old now and the comments above by the anonymous posters seem dated and do not reflect reality. Chris hasn’t managed the event since around 2015, so the poster has quoted from very old emails (note that they do not give the date). PAF is also open-submission and doesn’t have a selection committee, as can be see in this video on the website > https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jf9GpYUgg4c

    Parallax Art Fair has a dedicated website for returnees because of the numbers > > https://www.parallaxaf.com/club/index.php
    Some have been exhibiting since 2014.

    For Videos > > >
    PAF TV is here > https://parallaxaf.com/paftv.php
    The YouTube is here > https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCSYcByiQaO-7voCp5jA06gA

  • Anonymous

    Yep, it’s very dodgy. From what I can tell they target recent graduates, inexperienced artists, etc, and flatter them with the idea that they’re invited to ‘apply’ to exhibit in a big fancy show, and then that they’ve been ‘selected’ by their ‘expert curators’. Artists pay upfront, and Barlow and co harvest a new crop of the above every year, so they don’t need to worry about standards or doing anything beyond the bare minimum in terms of producing something that could be called an exhibition. I was on their mailing list for years after falling for their shtick, despite my ever more angry responses and requests that they leave me alone.

  • Anonymous

    The fair has been running events in central London for over 10 years. In that time, around 9000 artists and designers, of all ages and experience, have taken part. There has also been tens of thousands of visitors and it is a well known fair in the capital in public view. This can all be viewed on our website where there are interviews with previous exhibitors and returnees, as well as videos about the fair in general. Dr Barlow is a specialist in the history of art and the philosophy of art history (he does not administer the fair) and wrote a book on the theory which can also be found on the website too. He makes no secret, as is known to everyone who knows and speaks to him (!), about his strong views on the contemporary art world and philosophy of art. In terms of unsubscribing, our emails include an unsubscribe link.

    Website (video section): https://www.parallaxaf.co/paftv.php

    Prescient and Ahistoric (2019) can be found here: https://www.parallaxaf.co/shop/index.php?page=products&category=23&sort=sort1

    • Anonymous

      You think the fact that large numbers of artists have been involved is a *defence* of Parallax? The fact that clearly very few (if any?) come back for a second experience is an indication in its *favour*. Yes, Parallax is accomplished at recruiting a fresh batch of recent art graduates and eager hobbyists and separating them from there cash every year, but I’m not sure that’s something to crow about (except as a money-making enterprise, of course).

      Lovely to see Chris Barlow is self-publishing his word salad for all to see, though. How are sales doing? Prices look v reasonable.

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