Top Tips For Getting The Most Out Of Your Next Art Fair
Art Fairs can be intimidating. An integral part of the art market ecosystem, they bring together artists, dealers, collectors, curators, critics, patrons, and other advocates of the visual arts all in one place at the same time. As Frieze opens for its fifteenth edition in October, we are re-sharing a piece from last year in which Kristina McLean, Head of VIP Relations, Frieze Fairs, offered her top tips on how to make the most of the experience of visiting an art fair.
Read her advice below and if you want to learn more about how to navigate Frieze and Frieze Masters take a look at our course, Contemporary Art in London (starting October 2).
Plan your visit
Art fairs can be daunting, and if you don’t plan your visit, it can be easy to miss great work. Study the map of the fair before your visit and have it close to hand. It is impossible to stick to a pathway through the fair (you will inevitably be led astray by eye-catching artwork or coffee/cake pit stops) so mark the galleries you know you’d like to see and check them off as you visit them.
Don’t just stick to visiting the galleries you know - the fair is a place for discovery, where the very best galleries from around the world come together. Never been to Bogota, Mumbai or Shanghai? You can visit leading galleries from these cities within a few hours. At Frieze, the young section - Focus, always includes new galleries who haven’t participated in the fair before - so this is a great place to discover young talent.
Don’t be shy - ask questions
Galleries put their best foot forward at the fair, bringing works by their most exciting artists, and they are keen to talk about them! Especially later in the week, galleries are itching for some conversation. Don’t be shy to ask about an artist, whether they have any exciting exhibitions coming up, where they’ve shown recently and prices.
"You can tell a really serious collector by their footwear: they are all in trainers."
Remember that great work you saw on stand B23… or was it D23? Avoid confusion by taking lots of pictures and notes - do have a look at the wall labels for reference and make sure you take down the name of the gallery too. Reading through your notes at the end of the day will remind you of what you saw, and what you might want to go back to take a closer look at.
Comfort first, style second
You are going to be on your feet a lot, so wear comfortable shoes and make sure to stay hydrated! You can tell a really serious collector by their footwear: they are all in trainers.
Take your time
It’s not a race! Make sure you have plenty of time to visit both Frieze London and Frieze Masters, and build in time for a lunch at Locanda Locatelli or Petersham Nurseries, both hosting pop ups at the fairs this year. You'll need all your strength!
Kristina McLean is Head of VIP Relations at Frieze Fairs, a platform for the world’s most exciting galleries bringing together works ranging from 3,000 year old fish hooks to cutting edge contemporary art.