Culture Spy: Fair Warning

Posted June 27, 2023 in Events by Ashleigh King

With TEFAF/Maastricht in the rear-view mirror and Art Basel/Miami Beach still way off in 2023, here’s a quartet of intriguing, very different, upcoming global art fairs to whet your visual appetite.

Art Basel

Switzerland, June 15-18

Even if you’re a regular habitué of the Art Basel/Miami Beach art show (scheduled for December 8-10 at the end of this year), you really do owe it to yourself to visit the original in Switzerland this summer. If you haven’t been, or haven’t been in a while, the show epicenter, the Messe in Basel (detail shown above), recently underwent some apt remodeling and re-envisioning in the past few years to become a more artful venue, stretching beyond a mere municipal convention center. While the site hosts multiple industry shows throughout the year, Art Basel is when the Messe – and indeed the whole town of Basel – pulls out the stops for visitors. Expect attendance from over 200 leading globally important galleries, with over 4,000 artists from five continents represented. The ongoing grouping of unexpected, out-of-the-box works – curated by art historian Giovanni Carmine and dubbed Unlimited – promises to be extra special this year.

Tokyo Gendai

Yokohama, July 7-9

The inaugural Tokyo Gendai show is slated to bow during the relative lull of summer at the Pacifico convention center in Yokohama this year. Still, it offers a lot of promise as Asia’s newest, most innovative art fair in response to strong art show scenes in both Hong Kong and Korea. Offering a particularly innovative VIP program for attendees that extends into studio visits and cultural experiences throughout the Tokyo region, this show is organized by the esteemed organization The Art Assembly. For a first-off experience, it plays like a safe and interesting bet for visitors and collectors. Expect 80 to 100 galleries to be represented. Japan in the sunny summertime? Why not?

The Armory Show & Independent 20th Century

New York City, September 8-10

The titular post-Labor Day show to kick off the hub of the art season, The Armory Show, will return to the cavernous Javits Center in New York City. With significant growth seen at last year’s show (240 exhibitors), organizers hope to expand to fill the space even more in 2023. A trio of notable curators – ICA/Boston’s Eva Respini, Carcoss/ Tagish First Nation curator Candice Hopkins, and Whitney Museum Curator of Performance Adrienne Edwards (pictured below) – have been selected to run special programming for the show and hopes run high for some intriguing and inventive agendas, events and happenings.

A woman in a black suit sitting on a chair in front of a grey concrete wall

For those in the know, the second edition of Independent 20th Century runs concurrently with The Armory Show at the Battery Maritime Building at Cipriani South Street. Its more than 30 exhibitors work overtime to highlight modern works that expand the accepted boundaries and definitions of 20th Century art. Expect to discover some outliers there if you attend.

Frieze London & Frieze Masters

London, October 11-15

Definitive arts publication group and platform Frieze’s important contemporary art fair at The Regent’s Park, London, will run concurrently with the Frieze Masters show (which focuses on works made before 2000). As with years past, expect upwards of 160 exhibitors, curated with the organization’s uncannily exacting eye on works and artists that are at once groundbreaking, important and usually at a tipping point for speculative collecting. Under newly named curator Fatos Üstek, Frieze Sculpture, the public art offshoot of the shows that run in The Regent’s Park from September 20 – through Frieze London and Frieze Masters – until October 29, will undoubtedly greet show-goers and London’s populace at large, with an unforgettable feast for the eyes, as well.

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