According to UBS’s Art Market Report, there were almost 300 international art shows in 2018 across every continent, with about 52% of the fairs in Europe. The travel and energy necessary to see most of these have been leading to a phenomenon called “fair-tigue”. Thankfully, you don’t have to cross an ocean to find a great art fair in your region.
We’ve gathered the most prestigious art fairs with the highest attendance rates in the world. Below, you can find at least three options per continent/region.
United States and Canada
Art Basel Miami
Art Basel began in Switzerland in the 1970s. In the early 2000s, it opened in Miami Beach, a location deemed perfect to fit between Latin and North America. It attracted 30,000 visitors in just its first year, rising to 83,000 in its 2018 edition. The Miami Beach edition features all forms of art within the modern and contemporary scene, including paintings, sculptures, film and digital art. It boasts a variety of pieces by young artists as well as established names like Andy Warhol. You can visit Art Basel Miami every December, when the tropical heat gets just a little bit cooler.
Next Date: December 5-8, 2019
Visit Art Basel, Miami for further details.
The Armory Show
The Armory Show is named after a New York modern art exhibition held in 1913. It was famous for being the first show of its kind in the United States, and introducing Americans to popular art styles from Europe, such as Cubism and Fauvism. It’s held annually in March in the Piers of Manhattan.
This spin-off of the original Armory Show began in 1994, and has since welcomed an average of 55,000-65,000 visitors per year. Following the ambitions of its namesake, The Armory Show aims to introduce viewers to leading and innovating new artists of the century.
Next Date: March 5-8, 2020
Visit The Armory Show for further details
TEFAF New York
TEFAF New York has a Spring and Fall edition every year. The Spring show focuses on contemporary art and design, while the Fall fair covers fine art and décor from antiquity to the 1920s. TEFAF is actually a European company; its name is an acronym for The European Fine Arts Fair. Their first event opened in Maastricht, Netherlands, which also focused on ancient art and antiquities (Read more under Europe). It has since become one of the most highly-visited fairs in the world. Their New York branches opened three years ago, so most people who go are still US-based. But the high-quality artwork TEFAF New York brings makes it well worth a visit.
Next Date: November 1-5, 2019 & May 8 – 12, 2020
Visit TEFAF New York for further details
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Art Toronto is dedicated to modern and contemporary art. It’s held downtown each year at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre. In 2019, it showcased 100 galleries from 8 countries, most of which were based in Canada. This year, you can find Canadian, American, German, English and Mexican galleries in the Main section.
It will also feature a section for Solo shows, a Verge section for young galleries, and one for Arts & Cultural Institutions. Soon, Art Toronto is opening a space called FOCUS: Portugal. It will be curated by João Ribas, the same man who worked on the Portuguese Pavilion for the 2019 Venice Biennale.
Next Date: October 25-27, 2019
Visit Art Toronto for further details
This fair takes the honor of the most visited art fair in the world, seeing 92,000 visitors in 2015. Given its connection to Latin America, it invites a large fanbase of art collectors from Peru, Argentina, Colombia and more. Artists who get to exhibit here have the opportunity to win various awards, such as the illy SustainArt Award for emerging artists or the ARCO-BEEP Electronic Art Award. You can check out this fair every year in February.
Next Date: February 26- March 1, 2020
Visit ARCOmadrid for further details
This contemporary art fair opens every October in The Regent’s Park, London. About 60,000 visitors come on average to see the mix of emerging and established artists represented from over 30 countries. This year, Frieze London will represent 160 galleries from popular cities like Paris alongside lesser-represented locations like Athens, Cape Town, Havana, and Oslo.
Next Date: October 2-6, 2019
Visit Frieze London for further details
Masterpiece London dedicates itself to masterpieces across genres. You can see its annual collection of antique jewelry, furniture, statues, and objets d’art near Sloane Square. In 2018, some of its highlights included the Five Stages of Maya Dance portraits by Marina Abramović and late waterlily paintings by Monet. Tickets for the next fair will open in Spring 2020.
Next Date: June 25 – July 1, 2020
Visit Masterpiece for further details
FIAC, International Contemporary Art Fair
FIAC gets an average of 75,000 visitors per year. Started in 1974, it mainly features modern and contemporary art from French and international galleries. It’s held in the famous Grand Palais monument in Paris. In 2019, it featured 199 galleries, 27% of which were French.
Next Date: October 17 – 20, 2019
Visit FIAC for further details
TEFAF’s original Maastricht, Netherlands fair prides itself on presenting ”7,000 years of art history”. It might feel a little like if you were walking through the Louvre or Met; except that visitors are welcome to buy the Renoirs and Greek gold jewelry at this large exhibition. TEFAF Maastricht’s popularity attracted 70,000 visitors in its 2019 edition alone.
Next Date: November 1-5, 2019
Visit TEFAF Maastricht for further details
La Biennale Paris
La Biennale Paris started as a French Antiques Fair in 1956. Its initial location was at the Porte de Versailles, but it was moved to the Grand Palais in 1962. Since 2017, it’s opened annually, but retains its name as The Paris Biennale.
The fair’s president, Christopher Forbes, said it was necessary to be on the calendar every year to be competitive. Like other fairs, it has expanded its scope far beyond one theme. Now, you can see “six millenniums of art” under one roof.
Next Date: TBD
Visit Paris Biennale for further details
BRAFA Art Fair
The biggest art fair in Belgium, BRAFA promotes itself as more than an art fair. Every edition includes a special exhibition hosted by either a major museum, cultural institution, or artist. Art tours are provided to educate visitors about the masterpieces, and each day offers a schedule of art talks by experts. You can visit BRAFA at Tour & Taxis, a historical industrial site in Brussels. Last year, BRAFA was visited by 66,000 visitors.
Next Date: January 26- February 2, 2020
Visit BRAFA for further details
PAD stands for Pioneering event of Art & Design. Living up to its name, it represents a collection of 20th century art, design, and décor in London’s affluent Mayfair borough. PAD London’s 2018 press release highlighted designs inspired by nature, ceramic crafts, and tribal art among its interesting offerings. Although this fair often hosts less galleries than its alternatives, some people are attracted to it for its selective, refined experience.
Next Date: September 30 – October 6, 2019
Visit PAD London for further details
PAD Paris is held near the Louvre at the Jardin des Tuileries. It has announced that the 2020 edition will have a collection of primitive art. A large portion of its exhibitors are French, but galleries from China, the UK, and Greece also make the list. In addition to ceramics and jewelry, they will feature Pre-Colombian and Asian art. This year, PAD also opened a new location in Monaco.
Next Date: April 1 – 5, 2020
Visit PAD Paris for further details
Asia Pacific (including Australia, New Zealand)
Melbourne Art Fair
The 2020 edition of this fair is projected to represent over 50 prestigious galleries from Australia and New Zealand. It has opened every two years since 1988, attracting thousands of visitors in each edition. Next year’s event will coincide with the DENFAIR, Australia’s biggest design and architecture trade show. Visitors here can expect to see a rainbow of galleries from Melbourne, Sydney, Auckland, and Wellington.
Next Date: June 18 – 21, 2020
Visit Melbourne Art Fair for further details
India Art Fair
This annual fair takes place in India’s capital city of New Delhi. It’s 11th edition closed in February 2019 and featured 75 exhibitors. It has shown prestigious artists such as M.F. Hussain, Amrita Sher-Gil, Anish Kapoor, and Ai Weiwei.
In recent years, it’s been representing more Indian galleries to support emerging artists who are not on the international radar yet. You can expect to see 70% of galleries from India and South Asia in the next fair.
Next Date: January 30 – February 2, 2020
Visit India Art Fair for further details
ART STAGE occurs every January in Singapore. It was created by Lorenzo Rudolf, the Director who lead Art Basel to major success. As one of the few international art fairs in the Southeast Asia region, it bridges foreign galleries with local.
ART STAGE Singapore includes exhibitors from Tokyo, Taichung, Seoul, Hong Kong, and of course, from Singapore. In 2016, ART STAGE expanded its scope to host a smaller fair in Indonesia, ART STAGE Jakarta. There, viewers can see exhibitors from Jakarta, Busan, Manila, and Bangkok. While this new fair location is still growing, its Singapore edition has seen great success. In 2017, 33,200 visitors came to see ART STAGE Singapore.
Next Date: January 25 – 27, 2020
Visit ART STAGE for further details
ArtBo is held annually in Bogotá, Colombia. It is the official international art fair of Colombia, created by the nation’s Chamber of Commerce in 2005. Since its opening, it’s become one of the leading art fairs in its region.
Vogue even dubbed it the Art Basel of Latin America. In 2016, over 35,000 came to visit. If you can’t make it to the main fair, you can check the dates for ArtBo Weekend. This free event displays art exhibitions across museums, galleries, and other spaces in Bogota.
Next Date: TBD
Visit ArtBo for further details
Based in Buenos Aires, Argentina, arteBA opened its doors in 1991. In 2018, it included workshops for children, live performances, free guided tours, and presentations to garner public support for the arts. It featured 87 galleries from 27 cities, many of which were based in Latin America. Some gallery locations came from Bogota, Rio de Janeiro, Caracas, and Punta del Este. arteBA is held annually, usually in May, April, or June.
Next Date: April 16 – 19, 2020
Visit arteBA for further details
Zona Maco began in 2002, it occurs twice a year in February and August. It’s located in Mexico City at the Citibanamex Center. In 2018, it featured 180 galleries from 22 countries.
Zona Maco is recognized for its combination of both art and design, and is part of what earned Mexico the title of the 2018 World Design Capital. The fair’s Diseño section combines contemporary art with furniture, jewelry, and other décor.
Next Date: February 5 – 9, 2020
Visit Zona Maco for further details
Africa and the Middle East
An annual fair, Contemporary Istanbul opens every September. In 2019, they reported a total of, “74 galleries from 23 countries, 510 artists and more than 1,400 artworks”, plus 74,000 visitors.
Istanbul’s cultural scene is strengthening despite the region’s political instability. The city is fostering its art sector by hosting this event alongside the Istanbul Biennale, and the opening of the new Arter Museum.
Next Date: TBD
Visit Contemporary Istanbul for further details
1-54 Contemporary African Art Fair
This is the most prestigious fair dedicated to African art worldwide. It began in 2013 in London, but has expanded to a location in Marrakech, Morocco in 2018. Its name is based off the 54 countries that comprise the African continent.
In 2019, the fair featured 18 galleries in the La Mamounia hotel and represented over 65 reputable artists. However, it’s smaller stature has attracted visitors who want to take their time with each piece. Last year, 6000 people went to the fair, some of which came from the Royal Academy of Arts and the Smithsonian.
Next Date: February 22 – 23, 2020
Visit I-54 for further details
Located in the major hub and financial center of the UAE, Art Dubai reported 28,500 visitors in its 2019 edition. The fair is managed by The Art Dubai Group, which provides a unique educational program to local artists.
By teaching art and design, it has helped launch 130 students to receive commissions and attend fairs. Today, Art Dubai is considered the leading art fair in the Middle East.
Next Date: March 25- 28, 2020
Visit Art Dubai for further details