All That Hoopla. (2016)

In 2016, Clare Strand customised a fairground hoopla stall and placed it outside an art fair. The invitation to the public was to pay five Euros to ‘hoopla’ a photograph and win one of her limited edition, signed photographic works. The very same works which were being sold at the art fair at full cost.

With this intervention, Strand undermined her gallery representation by going into direct competition with it. By taking an uncalculated risk of which activity (the art fair or the Hoopla stall) might be the more financially lucrative, Strand in turn attempted to achieve a more level playing field for the ownership of her artworks.

The work, All That Hoopla is an endeavour to make tangible and decentralise the dynamics of conservative and hierarchical art market structures, not only for Strand’s potential audience but also for her own artistic and commercial agency. The stall operates as a microcosmic art world, highlighting the variables of chance, luck, loss, fluke, risk and the vagaries of fortune, all of which are central themes of Strand’s ongoing practice.

All That Hoopla operates as a ‘social event’ which brings people together and negates the standard dynamics of gallery and public, artist and audience, gallerist and artist. The stall continues to be installed and played at different festivals, fairs and venues, open to anyone that wants to play the game and make an investment gamble in the art market.

‘In many ways, Clare Strand’s Hoopla is a striking example of the avant-garde of the early 20th century: humour, playfulness, vernac- ular, transgression of the codes of artistic “good taste” and a sense of collective happening are all evidence of this. However, behind the festive character is revealed an ironic and precise attention to the mechanisms that govern our relationship to art in the modern era: from the place of the spectator to the role of the artist and the question of the art market.’

Damarice Amao Curator of Photography, The Centre Pompidou