The Art F City Insider’s Guide to the Art Fairs

by Paddy Johnson on May 12, 2015 Events

Image: Christian Grattan

Image: Christian Grattan

Let’s recap last year’s Frieze Week: It sucked. There was almost no remarkable art at Frieze, leaving NADA as the main fair. NADA was good, but still—one fair worth talking in a field just shy of dozen is nothing to write home about.

This year, we have reason to believe the week will be much better. It comes on the heels of the Venice Biennale, which means a lot of the artists who are showing non-saleable work at the Biennale will show their commercial wares during Frieze week. Artists and galleries bring out their A-games for this shit. Plus, there’s a whole new slew of fairs—namely the Flux Art Fair in Harlem and 1:54 Contemporary African Art Fair. We’re looking to them to diversify the fair field a little. May they succeed beyond our wildest dreams.

And so, before we’ve seen anything at all, we know there will be less suckage than before. In fact, we’ve even been promised a bronze Edward Snowden bust. Not bad—for once, the fairs give us something to look forward to this week.

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Skylight Clarkson Sq

550 Washington St.
Wednesday, May 13 11am-8pm; Thursday, May 14 11am-8pm; Friday, May 15 11am-9pm; Saturday, May 16 11am-8pm; Sunday, May 17 11am-5pmWebsite

Collective Design Fair

Here’s where you can get your designer couches, coffee tables and lamps to match all the art you’ll buy. Is it a good fair? We’ll let you know after we go.

General admission: $25.00



(formerly the Dia Building, between 10th and 11th avenue on 22nd Street)
Wednesday May 13th | 6:00-10:00pm Thursday May 14th | 2:00-10:00pm Friday May 15th | 2:00-10:00pm Saturday May 16th | 12:00-10:00pm Sunday May 17th | 12:00-6:00pm Website


Much like Miami’s UNTITLED., SELECT boasts a curator. Brian Whiteley will be responsible for this year’s magic, of which we believe there will be plenty. Their exhibitor list looks pretty good! Plenty of Brooklyn-based galleries we like (Transmitter, Fresh Window Gallery, and ODETTA) and plenty of non-profits we like too (Pioneer Works, BRIC, and Skowhegan). We especially like the focus on emerging and mid-career art. May this fair see plenty of foot traffic and sales.

General admission: $20.00


The Boiler

191 North 14th Street, Brooklyn, NY
Wednesday-Sunday, 12-6pmWebsite

SEVEN: Anonymity, no longer an option

An alternative to the alternatives: A group show on the subject of surveillance, patriotism, and sacrifice organized by seven galleries, showcasing the work of seven artists. See work by Trevor Paglen, Katarzyna Kozyra, Mark Tribe and more. Also see a bust of Edward Snowden by Anonymous. With the political weight of those players, that bust alone will be worth the trip.

General admission: Free



Frieze tent

Randall's Island Park
Thursday, May 14 11am - 7pm; Friday, May 15; 11am - 7pm Saturday, May 16 11am - 7pm; Sunday, May 17 11am - 6pmWebsite

Frieze Art Fair New York

The largest art fair in the city, located on Randall’s Island. Yes, that means you have to take a boat to it. We find this fair a little sterile—it’s too high on tasteful art with nothing to say—but if you can spare the 44 bucks it’s worth going to.

General admission: $44.00

Corn Exchange Building

81 East 125th St at the NW corner of Park Ave
THUR/FRI/SAT 11:00 am-8:00 pm & SUN 11:00 am to 6:00 pmWebsite

Flux Art Fair

A new contemporary art fair in Harlem. This fair will collaborate with local Harlem artists and cultural institutions, which frankly, is much needed in art’s white landscape.

General admission: $20.00


Pier 94

55th Street and West Side Highway
Thursday May 14 : 5pm-9pm; Friday May 15 : 12pm-8pm; Saturday May 16 : 12pm-8pm; Sunday May 17 : 12pm-6pm Website

Art Miami New York

Fans of Mel Ramos, Mel Bochner, Julian Opie — make this fair your home for the next few days. There’s always plenty of this work at Art Miami. This kind of art isn’t our bag, but it looks as though there will be exhibitors we’ll gravitate to as well; Accola Griefen has a reputation for sussing out strong female artists, for example, and the No Longer Empty curatorial project usually finds a few under-known artists to showcase for their shows. So, not totally a lost cause for us, and definitely a go-to site for those who love paintings of women riding cigars.

General admission: $25.00


Pier 36 | Basketball City

299 South Street on the East River
Thursday, May 14; 6pm to 8pm; Friday, May 15; 11am to 7pm; Saturday, May 16; 11am to 7pm; Sunday, May 17; 11am to 5pmWebsite

NADA New York

We love this fair. In our opinion, this fair is where the best emerging galleries show in the New York Fairs. No weird architecture, like the ballrooms in Miami—just a never ending grid of cube booths, but that’s okay. It’s on the water, so it’s at least pretty and it’s FREE.

General admission: Free



Pioneer Works

159 Pioneer Street
Opening from Fri May 15, From 12:00 PM to 8:00 PM On view Fri May 15 - Sun May 17Website

1:54 Contemporary African Art Fair

It’s about time. This fair will showcase contemporary AFrican art and cultural production for the international market. It’s a small fair—only 15 galleries with the work of over 60 artists—but with all the other fairs out there, that’s a blessing.

General admission: $10.00 (purchase at the door only)

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