Let’s be real: most of us don’t have much cash to splash on regular holidays, let alone go on an art-buying rampage at some of the world’s leading art events. But it’s nice to dream, right?
So just in case, if ever the day comes when you’ll be able to hop on your private jet to collect exquisite art, we’ve found some of the world’s coolest art events you need to travel to. (And if you’re a starving artist by any chance, you should probably apply to all these events and get your name out there—Instagram will only take you so far.)
Here are 15 of the world’s coolest art events to travel to.
Art Basel | Various Locations
Easily one of the most famous art fairs, Art Basel brings the international artworld together with the world's leading galleries showing the works of over 4,000 artists. A full program of artworld talks takes place each day and exhibitions and events are also offered by cultural institutions in Basel, Switzerland and the surrounding area, creating an exciting, region-wide art week.
Foire Internationale d’Art Contemporain (FIAC) | Paris, France
Founded in Paris in 1974, the International Contemporary Art Fair (Foire Internationale d’Art Contemporain) brings together around 200 exhibitors in the Grand Palais, including many of the most influential specialists worldwide in the fields of modern art, contemporary art and design. The 2019 edition will take place from 17 - 20 October and you can buy tickets here.
Frieze Art Fair | London, UK
Frieze London (there are also Frieze art fairs in Los Angeles and New York) features more than 160 of the world’s leading galleries. You can view and buy art from over 1,000 of today’s leading artists, and experience the fair’s critically acclaimed curated sections and Talks programme. The 2019 edition of Frieze London will take place in Regent’s Park from 3–6 October and you can purchase tickets here.
Sydney Biennale | Sydney, Australia
Since its inception in 1973, the Biennale of Sydney has provided a platform for art and ideas, showcasing the work of nearly 1,800 artists from over 100 countries. It’s considered one of the leading international contemporary art events, recognised for commissioning and presenting innovative, thought-provoking art from Australia and around the globe. The 22nd Biennale of Sydney will be presented free to the public from Saturday, 14 March to Monday, 8 June 2020—you can learn more about it here.
Affordable Art Fair Hong Kong | Hong Kong, China
At Hong Kong’s Affordable Art Fair, over 115 local and international galleries will showcase a stunning collection of fresh and affordable contemporary artworks, priced between HK$1,000 and $100,000, to help you bring your home to life. With everything from traditional ink painting, abstract canvases, stunning sculptures, editioned prints and eye-catching photography, you can find an artwork to suit every space, taste and budget. You can look back at the May 2019 lineup here.
Whitney Biennial | New York City, USA
The Whitney Biennial is an unmissable event for anyone interested in finding out what’s happening in art today. Introduced by the Museum’s founder Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney in 1932, the Biennial is the longest-running exhibition in the country to chart the latest developments in American art. The current format—a survey show of work in all media occurring every two years—has been in place since 1973, and more than 3,600 artists have participated. The 2019 Biennial runs from 17 May–22 September and you can still buy tickets here.
Echigo-Tsumari Art Triennial | Echigo-Tsumari, Japan
This one’s more an art field than an art fair, but that’s really what makes it so cool. Approximately 200 artworks, which have been created since the first Echigo-Tsumari Art Triennale, are dotted all across the Echigo-Tsumari region. Hubs are open throughout the year and main abandoned house/closed school projects are open between May and October every year. There are also special exhibitions and events held during different seasons—you can check out what’s open in 2019 here.
Harbin International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival | Harbin, China
The Harbin International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival consists of various winter activities, events, and four theme parks—yep, we’re not kidding. The festival includes many activities and events, like ice and snow carnivals, international ice sculpture competitions, ice lantern shows, ice and snow film art shows, painting exhibitions, calligraphy displays, photo exhibitions and much more. This year’s festival will be held from December 25 2019 to February 25 2020 and you can learn more about it here.
The Venice Biennale | Venice, Italy
If you’re looking for the art event to trump them all, then you’ll want to hear more about the Venice Biennale—the organisation has been around since 1895. Nowadays, The Biennale has an attendance of over 500,000 visitors and focuses on contemporary art, including art events, contemporary dance, architecture, cinema and theatre. The 2019 Biennale runs from 11 May - 24 November 2019 and you can buy tickets here.
ARCO Madrid | Madrid, Spain
ARCOmadrid is Madrid’s International Contemporary Art Fair and is one of the main contemporary art fairs on the international circuit. The 2019 edition included 203 galleries from 31 countries with over 1,350 participating artists and consolidated ARCOmadrid’s role as a meeting place for collectors, galleries, curators and art professionals from all corners of the globe. The 2020 art fair will run from 26 February - 1 March 2020 and you can learn more about it here.
Art Dubai | Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Founded in 2007, Art Dubai is a leading international art fair that takes place every March in Dubai. The 2019 edition showcased over 90 galleries from 41 countries, which further solidified Dubai’s position as a global meeting point for the arts; you can view the 2019 catalogue here. The next fair will take place from 25 March - 28 March.
The European Fine Art Fair | Maastricht, The Netherlands & New York City, USA
Established in 1988, The European Fine Art Fair (TEFAF) is widely regarded as the world’s pre-eminent organization of fine art, antiques, and design. TEFAF runs three Fairs internationally: TEFAF Maastricht, which covers 7,000 years of art history; TEFAF New York Spring, focused on modern and contemporary art & design; and TEFAF New York Fall, covering fine and decorative art from antiquity to 1920.
Art Cologne | Cologne, Germany
Established in 1967, Art Cologne is an international art fair presenting 20th and 21st-century art. Having started with just 18 galleries in 1967, it now hosts over 2,000 artists every spring, covering well-known to young and emerging artists. The next fair will be held on 23 - 26 April 2020.
India Art Fair | New Delhi, India
India Art Fair is the leading, annual event where you can discover modern and contemporary art from South Asia and it’s also a portal to the region’s cultural landscape. The fair’s programme draws together galleries, artists, private foundations, arts charities, artists’ collectives, national institutions, cultural events and festivals; you can take a peek at the 2019 programme here. The next India Art Fair will take place on 30 January - 2 February 2020.
The Armory Show | New York City, USA
The Armory Show is New York City’s premier art fair and a leading cultural destination for discovering and collecting the world’s most important 20th- and 21st-century art—it features leading international galleries, innovative artist commissions, and dynamic public programs. Since its founding in 1994, The Armory Show has served as a nexus for the art world, inspiring dialogue, discovery and patronage in the visual arts. The next show will run from 5 March - 8 March 2020.
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Image credit: Art Basel