Attending an art fair is an excellent way to immerse oneself in the latest exhibitions, cutting-edge art trends and artworks from around the world. Not only is it for the world to see what's new and for collectors to get collecting, but it is for art galleries and artists to showcase themselves and opportunities for new art programs to become established within communities.
Art Basel is an international art fair started in the 1970s in Basel, Switzerland, by three gallerists. It currently features over 200 galleries and more than 4,000 artists worldwide. In the early 2000s, Art Basel began to spread its shows worldwide to Miami Beach, Hong Kong and Paris. Art Basel exhibits art shows and works alongside the host city’s local institutions to grow and develop art programs in those areas.
Even though Art Basel provides a platform for galleries to show and sell work, it has become a popular global event to visit.
This October, you can check out Paris+ par Art Basel, split into two areas at the Grand Palais Ephemere and Champ de Mars in Paris. Galeries is the leading exhibition of Paris+ par Art Basel, and it will feature galleries that focus on modern and contemporary art from traditional mediums to digital art. The other area will be the Galeries Emergentes, showcasing younger and new artists through solo exhibitions.
Frieze, celebrating 20 years this year, is an art fair that began in 2003 in London and originally started as a contemporary art magazine by its co-founders, Amanda Sharp and Matthew Shopover. Over the years, Frieze has expanded to include annual exhibitions in New York City, Los Angeles and Seoul. Frieze London will be taking place this month in London’s Regent Park, and what makes this art fair so unique is its focus purely on contemporary art and living artists. This edition explores the Artist-to-Artist program, where Frieze London has invited eight world-known artists to propose and create a counterpart for a solo exhibition at the fair.
Another area of the fair is Frieze Masters, which looks at artwork made before the year 2000 and at the relationship between historical art and contemporary practices. An exciting exhibition to attend is Modern Women, which focuses on works created during 1880-1980, a crucial time for women’s rights and feminism and is dedicated to solo shows by women artists.
Between these two fairs in London, Frieze has an average of 60,000 visitors each year from all different backgrounds, from the general public to curators, artists, collectors, critics and gallerists.
The European Fine Art Foundation (TEFAF)
The European Fine Art Foundation, was established in 1988 and features the world's best fine art, antiques and design. TEFAF runs two fairs: one in Maastricht, Netherlands, which focuses on 7,000 years of art history, and another in New York City, focusing on modern and contemporary art and design. This platform allows international dealers to showcase museum-quality works from all genres and eras to a wide range of collectors and expert judges. This year alone will showcase works from 280 top dealers from 22 countries worldwide in March and May of 2024. Additionally, TEFAF will showcase many unique programs and diverse collections of art, jewelry, and ceramics to celebrate its 35th anniversary around the sun.
Vancouver Visual Art Foundation (VVAF)
If you can’t make it to these art exhibitions worldwide, look no further. Here in Vancouver, we have our annual international art fair with the Vancouver Visual Art Foundation called Art Vancouver at the Vancouver Convention Centre East. We welcome all artists to exhibit for this fantastic event April 11–14, 2024. For those who don’t know, VVAF is a non-profit organization founded in 2015 to bring attention to Western Canada’s art scene. Art Vancouver is a spectacular event exhibiting a mix of respected galleries and Canadian and international artists in downtown Vancouver.
Not only does VVAF offer an annual art exhibition, but it also has invested time into the local community. Art Downtown was introduced in 2020 for the summer months as an art market that happens twice a week, offering a way for locals to interact with artists and their work by watching the live creation of local artists' work. Also in 2020, VVAF opened the art gallery Art @Bentall to showcase local artists under one roof. Art @Bentall gallery rotates exhibitions and focuses on spotlighting diverse artistic voices during crucial times such as Indigenous History Month and Black History Month. And to connect to the community even more, during the pandemic, VVAF launched online art classes led by B.C. artists that reached the local public and international audiences.
So, it doesn’t matter if you’re a visitor from the public looking to see contemporary art by living or passed artists; interested in artifacts such as jewelry or ceramics to add to a personal art collection; or are on the other side of things and are a gallerist, curator, artist or collector. Anyone can easily enjoy their time at either of these four prestigious art fairs hosted worldwide.
By Sammy Gerrit