Through up markets and down markets, the proliferation of contemporary art fairs is ongoing. Fair fatigue is real—gallery staff can spend ninety days each year on the road—but what’s the alternative? According to the Art Basel and UBS Art Market Report, 35 percent of gallery sales in 2022 happened at fairs. Some galleries rely on the fairs for up to half of their annual revenues, for better or for worse. “Like American politics, the art fair is a system that no one likes, but no one knows how to fix,” Jerry Saltz wrote in Vulture last year. But it’s a system that works, and if it’s sometimes chaotic, it’s always exciting.
Exciting for whom? For the artists benefiting from opportunities to put their work in front of more collectors, certainly. For the dealers who deal. And of course, for the art lovers with the means to jet from here to there and everywhere to hit the emerging off-the-beaten-path art fairs, which for many of us means anything not in New York, Basel, Miami Beach or increasingly, Los Angeles.
Miami Art Week and Art Basel Miami Beach kick off the winter art season, and the fairs below keep it hot when the weather is cold.
Art Rotterdam 2024
January 31 – February 4
Billed as “the fair to discover new art,” Art Rotterdam, founded in 2000 by Fons Hof, Hans Gieles and Dick van der Lecq, is a leading contemporary art fair held annually in the Netherlands. Known for its focus on new artistic voices and directions, this art fair provides a platform for showcasing a diverse mix of galleries, from well-established names to new, up-and-coming spaces. Held in the iconic Van Nelle Factory, a UNESCO World Heritage site, Art Rotterdam is more than just a marketplace. Since 2013, the entire city has participated in Art Rotterdam with Rotterdam Art Week, during which visitors enjoy a dynamic program of artist talks, museum events, panel discussions, open studios and special projects like video and site-specific installations.
Haute Photographie 2024
January 31 – February 4
Boutique fine art photography fair Haute Photographie has carved out a unique niche in the art world since its launch by Roy Kahmann. Held annually in conjunction with Rotterdam Art Week in the Netherlands, this art fair stands out for its curated, museum-style format, which provides a distinct and immersive experience that showcases vintage photography, contemporary photography and work by rising artists. In 2024, Haute Photographie will focus even more on independent photographers, with works presented by both a carefully selected group of galleries and unrepresented talent. The vibe is intimate, which allows visitors to fully engage with the art of photography in all its forms—and in some cases, with the photographers. One goal of the photography fair is to foster a deeper understanding and appreciation of the medium, and most years there is a rich program of talks, book signings and special exhibitions that offer a unique and enriching experience in the heart of Rotterdam’s vibrant art scene.
India Art Fair 2024
India Art Fair, held annually in New Delhi, is a leading platform for modern and contemporary art in South Asia, showcasing a rich panorama of regional art alongside international works. Since its founding in 2008 by Sunil Gautam, the fair (previously known as India Art Summit) has become a pivotal cultural event in the region, highlighting the vibrant art scene of India and the subcontinent. The fair’s emphasis is on South Asian art, offering a unique insight into the region’s artistic developments and trends. But India Art fair isn’t just an exhibition space but also a forum for cultural exchange, with a program of curated walks, talks and interactive workshops. Think of it as a critical gateway for understanding and engaging with the rich and diverse world of South Asian art—something more collectors, art professionals and enthusiasts should do.
Since its inception in 2002, ZONAMACO has emerged as Mexico’s premier art fair and a central event in the Latin American art scene. The Mexico City fair (which is the largest in Latin America) is actually several fairs: Zélika García initially founded Zona Maco Arte Contemporáneo in 2003, then Salón del Anticuario in 2014 and Zona Maco Foto in 2015. There’s also Zona Maco Diseño, dedicated to furniture, jewelry, textiles and decorative objects, alongside limited editions and historical pieces. ZONAMACO is curated by a team of experts and draws a diverse audience of more than 60,0000 collectors, artists, curators and art enthusiasts annually. The fair is renowned for its emphasis on contemporary Latin American art, providing a significant platform for both established and emerging artists in and from the region while also attracting big-name galleries like Pace. Beyond the exhibitions, the fair enriches its program with lectures and a variety of activities across museums and galleries in Mexico City.
Lille Art Up! 2024
Lille Art Up!, formerly known as the Lille Art Fair, is a prominent annual contemporary art fair held in the bustling cultural hub of Lille, France. Since its launch in 2008 by Lille Grand Palais, the fair has rapidly grown to become a significant event in the European art scene, attracting 30,000 visitors annually. Known for its dynamic atmosphere, it offers not just traditional art forms like painting and sculpture, but also new mediums and digital art. One notable aspect of Lille Art Up! is the thematic exhibitions, which change annually, providing fresh perspectives and insights into current art trends. This approach, coupled with an associated series of talks, performances and interactive installations, makes Lille Art Up! not just an art fair, but a cultural event that engages and inspires its audience, contributing to the cultural richness of the region.
Affordable Art Fair Brussels 2024
This year, Will Ramsay’s Affordable Art Fair returns to Brussels for its fifteenth edition with a selection of Belgian and International art galleries showcasing contemporary art for the rest of us. The fair was initially launched in London 1999 with a mission of democratizing the art market by making contemporary art accessible and affordable to a wider audience. Today, Affordable Art Fair Brussels offers a diverse array of artworks to collectors and art lovers, including paintings, sculpture and photography, with prices capped to ensure the fair actually delivers on its stated goal of art market affordability. While the Affordable Art Fair fairs don’t typically feature “celebrity” artists, it has become a significant platform for emerging artists and galleries to gain exposure and connect with new collectors. The fair’s accessible approach has played a key role in changing perceptions about art collecting, making it inclusive and approachable.
1-54 Marrakech 2024
1-54 Marrakech is one of a few fairs focused on contemporary African art. It was established in 2018 as an extension of its London and New York editions and similarly named after the fifty-four nations that constitute the African continent. Held annually in Marrakech, Morocco, the fair is curated by Touria El Glaoui and typically hosts around twenty select galleries featuring a mix of established and emerging artists. 1-54 Marrakech has been much lauded for its emphasis on cultural dialogue and education, offering a series of talks, panels, and artist-led events alongside the exhibition. The fair’s unique location and focus make it a significant event in the international art calendar, highlighting the growing interest in African contemporary art.
Intersect Palm Springs 2024
Intersect Palm Springs, founded by the team behind the Art Aspen and SOFA Chicago fairs and previously known as Art Palm Springs, is a unique art and design fair held annually in the Coachella Valley in California. Attracting over 10,000 visitors annually, this fair stands out for its integration of contemporary art with 20th- and 21st-century design—all set against the backdrop of Palm Springs’ renowned mid-century architecture and beautiful desert landscape. But what truly sets it apart is the more intimate experience it offers art lovers and collectors, with fewer works on view, allowing for deeper engagement between attendees and the art. This fair not only showcases a diverse range of contemporary talent but also emphasizes design, blending art with functional and decorative pieces that invite people to take the time to contemplate living with their art.
LA Art Show 2024
While LA Art Show may lack some of Art L.A. Contemporary’s edginess and buzz, it is nonetheless a staple of the evolving Los Angeles art scene. “This is a city where there is no prototype for a collector,” dealer Mihai Nicodim told Observer some years ago, and that hasn’t changed. LA Art Show, which was founded in 1994 and will see this year’s opening night (on Valentine’s Day) hosted by actress Lucy Hale, is known for its eclectic showcase of modern and contemporary art shown by a mix of high-profile, international galleries and local Los Angeles art spaces. It stands out in the now artistically engaged city for its broad spectrum of art, ranging from historical works to cutting-edge contemporary pieces, with paintings, sculpture, photography and multimedia installations that attract a global audience of collectors, artists and enthusiasts from around the U.S. and the wider world.
Held annually at The Blue Pavilion designed by French architect Jean Nouvel, ArteGenova in the historic port city of Genoa, Italy, has become a fixture of the European art scene since its inaugural fair in 2003. The fair’s picturesque location draws a wide range of visitors, from serious collectors to industry professionals to casual art enthusiasts, and ArteGenova caters to all of them with a diverse array of art forms—not just paintings but also sculpture, graphic arts, mixed media works and more. This year marks the eighteenth anniversary of the fair, which in the past has showcased works by Rosai, Sironi, Burri, Morandi, Boetti, Warhol, Christo, De Pisis, Duchamp, Ligabue, Baj and Hartung. The fair’s emphasis on accessibility and variety makes it a standout event, providing an inviting platform for both established and emerging artists and galleries from Italy and beyond.
Cape Town Art Fair 2024
Established in 2013, Cape Town Art Fair is the largest art fair in Africa, drawing 25,000 visitors annually to become a significant fixture in the global art calendar. With its focus on creating connections, it offers a unique window into the rich and diverse art scene of Africa while also showcasing global talent. This year, the fair’s theme will be “Unbound,” and artwork by 375 artists from twenty-four countries representing fifty-four different nationalities will be on show in five main sections (Main Section, ALT, Editions, Publications and Connect) and three curated sections (Tomorrows/Today, SOLO and Generations). Over more than a decade, the fair has positioned itself as a crucial platform for artists, galleries and collectors interested in the dynamic and rapidly evolving African art market and the African gallery scene.
Art Wynwood 2024
Art Wynwood, sister show of Art Miami and Context Art Miami, is considered by many to mark the close of Miami’s winter art season. If the name rings a bell but you’re not familiar with the fair itself, you may be remembering the case of the woman who accidentally hip-checked a $42,000 Jeff Koons dog balloon off its pedestal, shattering the sculpture, in 2023. The fair features art chosen by galleries from all around the world, with an eclectic mix of styles, mediums and installations—including installations of street art. Every year, Art Wynwood presents one artist with its Lifetime Artistic Achievement Award. This year’s honoree is multimedia artist Peter Tunney, who operates out of Tribeca while also maintaining a gallery space in Miami’s famed Wynwood Walls. Past honorees include Martha Cooper, Shepard Fairey, Mel Ramos and Logan Hicks.
The Palm Beach Art Show 2024
The Palm Beach Show, also known as the Palm Beach Jewelry, Art & Antique Show, has become one of the most anticipated luxury fairs—and cultural events—in the United States. Known for its overall sophistication, the show juxtaposes genres, periods and movements to focus squarely on all things high-end. The show attracts an audience of the Who’s Who, with a roster of visitors that includes wealthy collectors, celebrities and art connoisseurs who fall into both camps, but it’s actually a solid destination for those new to art fairs thanks to a speaker series geared toward entry-level collectors.
Melbourne Art Fair 2024
Established in 1988, the now-annual Melbourne Art Fair has become a critical platform for showcasing the diverse range of contemporary artists and galleries from Australia, New Zealand and the broader Pacific area. Its distinctly regional focus makes it a must-attend fair for art lovers looking to understand and engage with the range of exciting art coming from this part of the world by both established artists and rising stars. While sales at the larger Sydney Contemporary tend to outpace those at Melbourne Art Fair, Melbourne has long been regarded as Australia’s art capital and the fair, which takes place in the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre, bills itself the country’s “most progressive forum for art.”
Felix Art Fair 2024
February 28 – March 3
Felix Art Fair, inaugurated in 2018, is an annual contemporary art event held at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel in Los Angeles. It was founded by art collector Dean Valentine along with art dealers Al Morán and Mills Morán. The fair distinguishes itself by utilizing the hotel’s unique architecture, with galleries setting up in the poolside cabanas and rooms, creating an intimate viewing experience. Typically, it features around sixty galleries, both local and international, showcasing a diverse range of contemporary artworks. The fair has quickly gained a reputation for fostering a relaxed atmosphere that encourages deeper engagement between attendees and the art on display, setting it apart from the more traditional art fair model.
Frieze Los Angeles 2024
February 29 – March 3
Frieze Los Angeles, which held its inaugural fair in 2019, has quickly become a key event in the international art calendar—one of the many benefits of being part of an art world behemoth. This year’s fair at Santa Monica Airport under the direction of Christine Messineo will celebrate the dynamic culture of Los Angeles and the contributions of its artists to the global scene while also showcasing contemporary works brought in by more than ninety-five galleries from around the world and putting on a program of installations. Perhaps unsurprisingly, given the scene-y vibe, some of the best L.A. restaurants will be putting on pop-ups during the fair.
Outsider Art Fair 2024
February 29 – March 3
Established in 1993, Outsider Art Fair (OAF) leans into its distinctiveness, embracing a diverse tapestry of often lesser-known artists, particularly those who operate outside the conventional art education and gallery systems. Its focus is on art brut, which can encompass a wide spectrum, from visionary art to street art to folk art, but then again, OAF has also featured works by mainstream contemporary art superstars like KAWS, Cindy Sherman, Julian Schnabel and Laurie Simmons. Still, it’s the place to go for art lovers looking for an unorthodox fair experience with artworks by people with unique stories to share. “Collectors have been increasingly exposed to this type of artwork,” Andrew Edlin, owner of the Outsider Art Fair, told Observer in 2020. “The expansion of OAF has been a factor in that, as well as exhibitions at institutions like the Met. It all shows that outsider art is being recognized in the highest echelons of the establishment.”
Even more February art fairs in 2024
Okay, that’s not really all of the February art fairs—just some of the most prominent. Here’s a quick roundup of several more you might want to check out:
Arte Fiera Bologna 2024
Art3f Strasbourg 2024
Feria Material 2024
Salón ACME 2024
QiPO Art Fair 2024
GSTAAD ART 2024
Parallax Art Fair 2024
art KARLSRUHE 2024
February 28 – March 3