When it launches in February, Frieze’s Los Angeles art fair will have a tiered booth pricing structure aimed at lowering the cost of participation for smaller galleries. Two days after Art Basel announced similar plans, the London-based Frieze fair revealed that it will launch its own tiered price system next year in Southern California, with plans to put similar pricing structures in place at its London and New York fairs, where exhibitors currently pay a flat rate per square foot (in the main section of the New York fair, the current price is $78.50 per square foot, according to The Art Newspaper). In Los Angeles, the smallest fair booths (215 square feet) will cost $38.50 per square foot, while the largest (measuring up to 861 square feet) will go for $88.50 per square foot.
“It’s not just about galleries that are younger,” Victoria Siddall, the director of Frieze’s fairs, told The Art Newspaper. “It might be to do with their geography or the type of artists they represent. You can’t only measure a gallery’s means by how long they have been in business.”
Introducing tiered fair pricing as a way for larger and more establish galleries to support the participation of smaller or less high-profile spaces is an idea that has gained purchase over the past year. At a conference in April, dealer David Zwirner suggested a tax-like system whereby bigger galleries could subsidize smaller ones: “I would gladly pay more to show work at art fairs if it helps smaller galleries join in.”
“It’s a positive thing that Art Basel is doing this too,” Siddall said. “The more it becomes the norm, the more helpful it is for galleries.”