Art Market

Your Strategic Guide to the Spring Art Fair Season

Abigail Cain
Feb 2, 2016 11:00PM

With spring fair season rapidly approaching, we’ve combed through the schedule to offer a guide to the must-see upcoming shows. From São Paulo to Dubai, from inaugural editions to 50-year anniversaries, from cutting-edge video art to rare antiques—these fairs run the gamut of what the art world has to offer.

Photo of The Armory Show 2015 by Christophe Tedjasukmana for Artsy.




Centro Banamex. Mexico City, Mexico

Preview: Feb. 3 (11am, 4–9pm)

Public Hours: Feb. 4–6 (12–9pm), Feb. 7 (12–8pm)

Why You Should Attend

As the New York Times’s number one destination for 2016, Mexico City is an up-and-coming metropolitan area worth visiting in its own right. It’s also home to one of the most international Latin American fairs, ZsONA MACO, whose 13th edition will feature 123 galleries from 25 countries spread throughout five sections: General, New Proposals, Zona Maco Sur, Modern Art, and Design.

Art Rotterdam

Van Nellefabriek, Rotterdam, The Netherlands

Opening by invitation: Feb. 10 (6–10pm)

Public Hours: Feb. 11 (11am–7pm); Feb. 12 (11am–9pm) + Special evening opening Feb. 12 (6–9pm); Feb. 13–14 (11am–7pm)

Why You Should Attend

With a focus on young and emerging artists, Art Rotterdam still pays homage to history with its choice of location—the Van Nellefabriek, a UNESCO World Heritage site built in the 1920s. Now in its 17th year, the fair presents more than 100 galleries with sections devoted to video art and up-and-coming Dutch artists.






One of the most highly attended art fairs in the world, ARCOmadrid celebrates its 35th anniversary with a special section revisiting 35 influential galleries from various points in the fair’s history. This year’s Solo Projects section will revolve around the dual themes of subversion through humor and the interplay between time and art, specifically in the areas of dance, theater, and music. Also new in 2016: the fair will expand to Portugal with ARCOlisbon in May.

The Armory Show 2015. Photo by Christophe Tedjasukmana for Artsy.




The Armory Show

Piers 92 & 94, New York City, United States

Invited Guests: Mar. 2

Public Hours: Mar. 3–6 (12–7pm)

Why You Should Attend

For the first time in The Armory Show’s 22-year history, galleries from Kenya, Nigeria, Ethiopia, and Ivory Coast will be represented. They are among the nations highlighted by “Focus: African Perspectives,” curated by Julia Grosse and Yvette Mutumba. Helming the overall fair is new executive director Benjamin Genocchio, former editor-in-chief of artnet News.

The Art Show

Park Avenue Armory, New York City, United States

Gala Preview: Mar. 1

Public Hours: Mar. 2–4 (12–8pm), Mar. 5 (12–7pm), Mar. 6 (12–5pm)

Why You Should Attend

Each year, many of the nation’s top dealers join together for The Art Show—organized by the Art Dealers Association of America—for one of the longest-running fairs in the United States. The 28th edition features a lineup of notable solo exhibitions, including sculptures by Frank Stella, early works by Marilyn Minter, and rare vintage performance photographs by Carolee Schneemann.

Moving Image

Waterfront Tunnel, New York City, United States

Private Opening Reception: Mar. 3 (6-8pm)

Public Hours: Mar. 3-5 (11am–8pm), Mar. 6 (11am–4pm)

Why You Should Attend

For those caught up in the whirlwind of New York’s Armory Arts Week, Moving Image offers fairgoers the chance to sit back and immerse themselves in single-channel videos and projections, video sculptures, and other larger moving-image based installations. Free to the public, the sixth annual fair will be in Chelsea’s Waterfront Tunnel (the fair also has an edition in Istanbul) and will feature exhibitors from around the world.

Sunny Disposition, installation by Bazaar Teens, curated by Dustin Yellin. Image courtesy of Samuel Morgan Photography.




PUBLIC HOURS: MAR. 2–6 (12–8PM), MAR. 7 (11AM–6PM)


Following high attendance in 2015, the fifth installment of SPRING/BREAK will run a day longer than in previous years. Housed in a former post office, the fair eschews traditional booths for curator-driven projects that are dispersed throughout individual rooms. This year, 100 curators will present work by over 800 artists around the theme “COPYPASTE,” which will explore topics such as appropriation and image reproduction.

Independent New York



PUBLIC HOURS: MAR. 4–5 (12–7PM), MAR. 6 (12–6PM)


A move from the former Dia Center for the Arts building to Spring Studios in TriBeCa means a striking new backdrop for the seventh edition of Independent New York, beloved for its open layout, intimate setting, and exhibition-quality curated presentations. And this isn’t the only move in store for Independent in 2016—the inaugural Belgian edition of the fair will kick off in April.  

PULSE New York



PUBLIC HOURS: MAR. 3 (1–6PM), MAR. 4–5 (11AM–8PM), MAR. 6 (11AM–5PM)


Featuring a wealth of young talent, this fair offers an opportunity to discover emerging artists still within the prudent collector’s reach. With editions in both New York and Miami, PULSE is dedicated to presenting cutting-edge contemporary art from leading and up-and-coming international galleries.

TEFAF 2015. Photo by Loraine Bodewes. Courtesy TEFAF.

Art On Paper

Pier 36, New York City, United States 

Preview: Mar. 3 (6–7:30pm)

Art on Paper Preview Pass: Mar. 3 (7:30AM–10pm)

Public Hours: Mar. 4–5 (11AM–7pm), Mar. 6 (12–6pm)

Why You Should Attend

This medium-driven fair celebrates artists who work exclusively on or with paper. In addition to featuring over 60 international galleries, Art On Paper will include a dynamic series of site-specific installations aimed at engaging visitors with the medium. Highlights include a large-scale installation by Beijing-based sculptor Li Hongbo and the fair’s opening night preview, which will benefit New York’s Brooklyn Museum.

TEFAF Maastricht

Maastricht Exhibition & Congress Centre (MECC), Maastricht, The Netherlands

Preview: Mar. 10

Public Hours: Mar. 11–19 (11am–7pm), Mar. 20 (11am–6pm)

Why You Should Attend

The 29th edition of this, the Grande Dame of art fairs, organized by The European Fine Art Foundation, will host 269 exhibitors with works spanning 7,000 years of art history. Although the fair’s contemporary section will return for its second year with a display organized by Dutch curator Mark Kremer—speaking to the dominance of contemporary work across the market—TEFAF’s major strength remains with historical works, particularly Old Masters. The fair’s vetting processes and museum-quality pieces are legendary and make it just about the best place to acquire work at the upper reaches of the price spectrum.

Art Dubai

Madinat Jumeirah, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Invitation only: Mar. 16 (4–9:30pm) + Ladies’ Preview: (1–4pm)

Public Hours: Mar. 17 (4–9:30pm), Mar. 18 (2–9:30pm), Mar. 19 (12–6:30pm)

Why You Should Attend

Featuring 94 galleries from 40 countries, Art Dubai’s 10th edition is its largest and most internationally diverse to date. This year, the fair will highlight the Philippines with a curated section focused on the country’s independent and artist-run spaces. For those interested in a robust speaker series, the fair offers its annual Global Art Forum, which will invite artists and writers to share how their work addresses futurity.

Design Days Dubai

The Venue, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Ladies’ Preview: Mar. 14 (1–4pm)

Public Hours: Mar. 14–17 (4–10pm), Mar. 18 (1–7pm)

Why You Should Attend

With an emphasis on collectible and rare furniture and design, the fifth edition of Design Days Dubai presents a mixture of established and emerging designers and exhibitors. A full lineup of educational events—including talks, workshops, and installations—will accompany the fair.  

Skarstedt Gallery's Booth at Art Basel in Hong Kong 2015. Courtesy Art Basel in Hong Kong, MCH Messe Schweiz (Basel) AG.

Art Basel in Hong Kong


PRIVATE VIEW: MAR. 22 (3–8PM), MAR. 23 (1–5PM)


PUBLIC HOURS: MAR. 24 (1–9PM), MAR. 25 (1–8PM), MAR. 26 (11AM–6PM)


For the second year, Art Basel in Hong Kong will take place in mid-March, rather than May. The shift away from Art Basel’s summer show in Basel allowed for an increase in European exhibitors last year, beefing up its status as a launchpad into the ever-important Asian market. Nonetheless, more than half of the fair’s 239 exhibitors still have spaces in Asia and the Pacific—and nine new Asian galleries will join the exhibitor list in 2016. This year’s Discoveries sector will be the fair’s most significant showcase of emerging artists yet, with 24 galleries presenting solo and two-person shows. The Encounters sector, curated for the second year by Alexie Glass-Kantor, will feature 16 large-scale sculptural installations—among them, works by Isa Genzken, Lawrence Weiner, and Zhang Ding.

Art Central Hong Kong



VIP PREVIEW: MAR. 22 (10AM–6PM), MAR. 23–24 (11AM–12PM)

PUBLIC HOURS: MAR. 23–24 (12–7PM), MAR. 25 (11AM–7PM), MAR. 26 (11AM–6PM)


In its second year, Art Central will introduce three curated sections focused on new media and performance art, roundtable discussions, and experimental and narrative films. With 70 of its 100 galleries hailing from cities across greater Asia, Hong Kong’s newest contemporary fair has strong regional roots.




Pavilhão Ciccillo Matarazzo, São Paulo, Brazil

VIP/Professional Preview: Apr. 6

Public Hours: Apr. 7–10

Why You Should Attend

Despite Brazil’s recent economic difficulties, SP-Arte remains a preeminent platform for galleries hoping to get a foothold with South American collectors. When the fair opened in 2005, only one of its 40 exhibiting galleries hailed from outside Brazil. Now, major international galleries such as David Zwirner, Gagosian, neugerriemschneider, and White Cube participate. For its 12th edition the fair will return to the Oscar Niemeyer-designed Ciccillo Matarazzo Pavilion, and Jacopo Crivelli Visconti will curate the second edition of the fair’s popular Open Plan section for specially commissioned large scale works.


Fieramilanocity, Milan, Italy

Preview: Apr. 7

Public Hours: Apr. 8–9 (12–7pm), Apr. 10 (11am–7pm)

Why You Should Attend

Since taking over art direction in 2013, Vincenzo de Bellis has helped this international modern and contemporary art fair generate increased buzz and a strong profile for rising young galleries and artists. (Appropriately, this year’s theme is “beekeeping.”) miart’s 21st edition will introduce “Decades,” a brand-new section that features nine galleries, each highlighting a different decade of the 20th century.

Dallas Art Fair

Fashion Industry Gallery, Dallas, USA

Preview: Apr. 14, Dallas Art Collector Preview (11am–2pm) + Preview Gala (7–10pm)

Public Hours: Apr. 15–16 (11am–7pm), Apr. 17 (12–6pm)

Why You Should Attend

Dallas Art Fair serves as the focal point for Dallas Arts Week—meaning that, in addition to perusing works from more than 90 local and international galleries, fairgoers can also explore new exhibitions at Dallas Contemporary and a panel hosted by the Nasher Sculpture Center scheduled to coincide with the fair.

Konrad Fischer Galerie at Art Cologne 2015. Photo: © Koelnmesse.

Art Cologne

Koelnmesse, Cologne, Germany

Vernissage: Apr. 13 (4–8pm)

Public Hours: Apr. 14–16 (11am–7pm), Apr. 17 (11am–6pm)

Why You Should Attend

2016 marks the 50th edition of Art Cologne, the world’s first modern and contemporary art fair. Over the course of five days, 219 galleries from 25 countries will take up residence within three floors of the Koelnmesse, the second year the fair has taken this expanded configuration. Modern and post-war artists are highlighted on the ground floor, with blue-chip and mid-career contemporary artists on floor one. Meanwhile, the top floor is dedicated to emerging artists and includes the “New Contemporaries” section, which focuses on galleries less than 10 years old, as well as “Collaborations,” in which two or more galleries team up for curated, joint presentations of artists from their programs.

The Photography Show | presented by AIPAD

Park Avenue Armory, New York City, USA

Preview: Apr. 13, Press and VIP Preview (3:30–5pm) + Opening Night Preview (5–9pm)

Public Hours: Apr. 14 (11am–7pm), Apr. 15 (11am–8pm), Apr. 16 (11am–7pm), Apr. 17 (11am–6pm)

Why You Should Attend

New York is home to the world’s longest-running photography fair, which will return to the Park Avenue Armory this year for its 36th edition. Eighty-two leading international galleries will be present, with work that ranges from prints by the early masters of photography to cutting-edge video works.

Art Brussels

Tour & Taxis, Brussels, Belgium

Preview: Apr. 21, By invitation only (11am–5pm) + Vernissage: (5–10pm)

Public Hours: Apr. 22–24 (11am–7pm)

Why You Should Attend

For its 34th edition, Art Brussels moves from its prior locale on the outskirts of the city to the much more centrally located Tour & Taxis, a historic customs house. With the change in space, the fair is also slimming down—this year it will feature 140 galleries, 51 fewer than 2015—to a create an intimate vibe and more curated presentation. (It is, after all one of the few art fairs directed by a renowned curator,  Katerina Gregos, who among other notable projects headed up the Belgian Pavilion at the 2015 Venice Biennale.) While the fair keeps a keen eye on emerging talents, 15 of this year’s galleries will be included in a new section, “REDISCOVERY,” dedicated to underrepresented artists who worked between 1917 and 1987.

Independent Brussels

Vanderborght Building, Brussels, Belgium

Public Hours: Apr. 20–23

Why You Should Attend

Independent—currently responsible for two New York art fairs—will open its first international edition this spring in Belgium. A roster of more than 60 galleries and nonprofits will be featured at Independent Brussels, which, like the fair’s other editions, will be laid out in the style of an exhibition rather than a traditional art fair. Last year, in anticipation of its new Brussels edition, the fair launched Independent RÉGENCE, a year-round exhibition space, allowing participating galleries from its fairs to mount temporary exhibitions in the heart of one of Europe’s wealthiest cities.



The London Original Print Fair

The Royal Academy of Arts, London, U.K.

Public Hours: May 5 (10am–9pm), May 6 (10am–10pm), May 7–8 (10am–6pm)

Why You Should Attend

One of London’s longest-running fairs, this event caters to both new and established collectors with its wide selection and range of price points. Housed in the Royal Academy of Arts since its debut 31 years ago, this edition will feature 50 exhibitors offering prints spanning five centuries.

NADA New York

Basketball City, New York City, U.S.A.

Public Hours: May 5–8

Why You Should Attend

The mission of the New Art Dealers Alliance (NADA) is to promote emerging voices in contemporary art. So it comes as no surprise that its fairs—with editions in New York, Miami, and Cologne—attract newer galleries and nonprofits. Now in its fifth year, NADA New York is the place for collectors keeping tabs on the future of art.

Collective Design Fair

Skylight Clarkson Sq, New York City, U.S.A.

Public Hours: May 4–8

Why You Should Attend

Collective Design will return to SoHo’s Skylight Clarkson Sq for its fourth edition, coinciding with New York’s Frieze Week. This year’s showcase of 20th- and 21st-century design currently boasts a roster of 24 international galleries—with more to come—which will display works alongside a series of pop-ups, special exhibitions, and installations.

Hauser & Wirth’s booth at Frieze New York 2015 by Marco Scozzaro. Courtesy of Marco Scozzaro/Frieze.

Frieze New York

Randall’s Island Park, New York City, U.S.A.

Preview: May 4

Public Hours: May 5 (11am–7pm), May 6 (11am–8pm), May 7 (11am–7pm), May 8 (11am–6pm)

Why You Should Attend

The centerpiece of one of the art world’s biggest calendar weeks, Frieze New York—the U.S. edition of London’s Frieze Art Fair—returns to Randall’s Island this year for its fifth edition. The lineup features more than 200 galleries from around the world, and this year’s “Projects” program—artist commissions for the fair itself—will include Anthea Hamilton, Eduardo Navarro, Alex Da CorteMaurizio CattelanHeather Phillipson, and David Horvitz, the last of which has hired a professional pickpocket to slip miniature sculptures into the bags and pockets of unsuspecting visitors.

Art New York

Pier 94, New York City, United States

VIP Preview: May 3 (2–5pm)

Public Hours: May 3 (5–8pm), May 4–7 (12–8pm), May 8 (12–6pm)

Why You Should Attend

Last year, Art New York (formerly Art Miami New York) joined the roster of Frieze Week fairs, drawing in a crowd of nearly 20,000 for its inaugural edition. In its second year, the fair will remain at Pier 94, the location of the annual Armory Show, and feature an array of modern and contemporary art from galleries across the world.

1:54 Contemporary African Art Fair

Pioneer Works, New York City, United States

Public Hours: May 6–8 (12–8pm)

Why You Should Attend

The title of this fair invokes the complexities of displaying African art (Africa is at once a single continent and 54 highly different nations). An offshoot of 1:54 London, the New York edition— housed in Pioneer Works in Brooklyn’s Red Hook neighborhood—is in its second year and will feature 17 exhibitors showcasing work by over 60 artists from Africa and the African diaspora. 

Art 16

Olympia, London, U.K.

Preview: May 19, Collectors Preview (2–6pm) + First Night (6–9pm)

Public Hours: May 20–21 (11am–7pm), May 22 (11am–5pm)

Why You Should Attend

Art 16, known for supporting galleries from geographies all over the world, is seen as a prime opportunity for galleries hoping to glean greater presence in London. Created by the founders of ART HK (the Asian fair sold to Art Basel and now known as Art Basel in Hong Kong), the fourth edition of this London fair will be run by new director Nathan Clements-Gillespie, formerly the director of external affairs at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Rome.

Photo London

Somerset House, London, U.K.

Public Hours: May 19–22

Why You Should Attend

In only its second year, Photo London is gaining ground as a top international photography fair with a lineup of 80 galleries from across the globe. In addition to work that spans all periods and genres, the fair has organized an extensive series of exhibitions and talks—including a survey of works by legendary war photographer Don McCullin and a commission by artist collaborative Walter Hugo & Zoniel.


La Rural, Buenos Aires, Argentina

Public Hours: May 19–22 (2–9pm)

Why You Should Attend

One of Latin America’s most highly foot-trafficked fairs, Buenos Aires’s arteBA celebrates its 25th anniversary this year. Look for the “Dixit” section, which will honor the last quarter-century of Argentine art in a presentation organized by the winners of the fair’s Young Curators Program.

Art Basel 2015. Photo by Alec Bastian for Artsy.



Art Basel

Messe Basel, Basel, Switzerland

Private Hours: Jun. 13 (4–7pm), Jun. 14 (11am–8pm), Jun. 15 (11am–3pm)

Vernissage: Jun. 15 (3–8pm)

Public Hours: Jun. 16–19 (11am–7pm)

Why You Should Attend

With fairs in Miami Beach and Hong Kong, 2016 marks the 47th edition of Art Basel in its namesake Swiss hometown. The world-renowned fair, which usually features around 300 galleries spanning five continents, is well-known for presenting work of the highest quality ranging from modern masters to the year’s breakout stars. Among the fair’s eight sectors, highlights include Statements, featuring solo projects by emerging artists; Parcours, which scatters site-specific sculptures and performances throughout the city; and Unlimited, a hangar-sized exhibition of large-scale work curated by Gianni Jetzer. Last year’s fair featured a major reorganization, placing new emphasis on classical Modern and post-war works.

Design Miami/ Basel

Hall 1 Süd, Messe Basel, Basel, Switzerland

Preview: Jun. 13

Public Hours: Jun. 14–19

Why You Should Attend

Design Miami/ Basel, the European edition of the world’s leading design fair, celebrates its 11th edition bringing many of the top designers and design galleries together under the same roof. Fairgoers will be welcomed by the latest iteration of the “Design at Large” initiative, which showcases works too big for a traditional booth. 2016’s theme is “Landscape,” and will focus on projects which consider the interplay between urban and natural environments—a contrast to last year’s series of 20th-century prefabricated homes curated by André Balazs.


LISTE Art Fair Basel, Bugweg 15, Basel, Switzerland

Preview: Jun. 13  (12–5pm) + Opening Reception (5–9pm)

Public Hours: Jun. 14–18 (1–9pm), Jun. 19 (1–6pm)

Why You Should Attend

Founded in 1996, LISTE may be reaching adulthood, but it remains one of the world’s primary destinations for young art, housed in a historic brewery offering the very best view of Basel. Dedicated exclusively to new galleries, the number of exhibitors is kept small—last year it boasted just 79—to maintain its level of quality.

Liste 2015. Photo by Alec Bastian for Artsy.

Abigail Cain