Korean Art Galleries Participating in International Art Fairs in the First Half of 2023

Art Basel Hong Kong 2022. Courtesy Art Basel.
Art Basel Hong Kong 2022. Courtesy Art Basel.

Some people who first entered the art market after Frieze Seoul regarded the art fair as an event similar to museum exhibitions. Art fairs, which are held for a short period of time with the main purpose of making sales, and museum exhibitions, which are held to educate the public about art, are very different in nature.

Nevertheless, it is difficult to say that what they felt was completely wrong. Major international art fairs have evolved from an art marketplace to an event where various programs and projects are held, fostering new formats and features.

These major art fairs are not only essential infrastructures for their own industries but also play an increasingly important role in the contemporary art ecosystem, influencing the local art scene and the city as a whole.

Art fairs can help galleries establish a presence in cities, boost art sales, and reach new audiences in emerging markets. But by participating in major art fairs, galleries can improve their position in the competitive art market. They can approach influential institutions and make connections with leading art professionals, thus ensuring a better position for their artists.

As we approach the end of 2022, the global art world is announcing major art fairs to be held in the first half of 2023. A number of Korean galleries are participating in Art SG, Frieze Los Angeles, and Art Basel Hong Kong to find better opportunities to introduce established and emerging artists, as well as Korean contemporary art, to the international art world.

Header Image | Botanical Installation celebrating the launch of ART SG. Conceptualized by a London-based design studio, The Plant, with tropical foliage native to Singapore composed by This Humid House. Image by The Primary Studio/Dju Lian Chng. Gallery List Button | Kohei Nawa, ‘PixCell-Reedbuck (Aurora)’ 2020, mixed media credit; Nobutada Omote. Image courtesy of SCAI THE BATHHOUSE

Art SG

Marina Bay Sands Expo and Convention Center

January 12 to 15, 2023

Art SG in Singapore will be held from January 12 to 15, 2023, at the Marina Bay Sands Expo and Convention Center, located in the heart of Singapore’s financial district. The inaugural fair will feature over 150 galleries from more than 30 countries.

The first edition of Art SG, organized by The Art Assembly, was originally scheduled to take place in 2019, but it has been repeatedly postponed. In 2016, MCH Group, the parent company of Art Basel, bought a minority stake in Art SG, the Indian Art Fair, and Art Düsseldorf to expand its business. René Kamm, the longtime CEO of MCH Group, abruptly resigned in 2018, causing the company to sell its art fair shares. Since then, Art SG has been repeatedly postponed, partly because of COVID-19.

In January 2022, MCH Group announced that it had taken back a 15% stake in Art SG, and in June 2022, The Art Assembly finally announced Art SG’s new schedule for the 2023 fair.

The Art Assembly, an affiliation of international art fairs with a particular focus on the Asia-Pacific region, such as Taipei Dangdai, India Art Fair, Sydney Contemporary, and Photo Fair Shanghai, have also announced that they will hold the first Tokyo Gendai in Japan in June 2023.

The upcoming Art SG will feature the main Gallery section; the Focus section, which showcases individual or two-person exhibitions; Futures, which introduces emerging galleries operating for fewer than six years; and Reframe, which showcases works created using digital technologies such as AR, VR, and NFT.

Korean galleries participating in the main section of Art SG include Arario Gallery, Gallery Baton, Gallery Hyundai, Gana Art, Johyun Gallery, and One and J Gallery. Kukje Gallery and The Columns Gallery will participate in the Focus section and P21 in the Futures section. Gallery Hyundai and The Columns Gallery will also be part of the Reframe section.

Frieze Los Angeles 2022. Photo by Casey Kelbaugh. Courtesy of Casey Kelbaugh/Frieze.

Frieze Los Angeles

Multiple spaces across Santa Monica Airport

February 16 to 19, 2023 

Frieze LA, which will take place from February 16 to 19, 2023, will be relocated to showcase more than 120 galleries from 22 countries in multiple spaces across Santa Monica Airport.

For this LA Fair, the space will be designed by the world-renowned architect Kulapat Yantrasast and his team, WHY. Frieze LA is focused on contemporary art, but for the first time, it will also include 20th-century art, with a particular emphasis on major artists of the 20th century whose significance had been overlooked by the art world.

As the contemporary art scene in Los Angeles has grown significantly in recent years, with an influx of leading art fairs and galleries, the Los Angeles art community has been speaking out to protect the local art ecosystem and its community. Frieze LA and mega galleries in LA have been committed to reflecting the voices of these local communities.

Christine Messineo, Director of the Americas for Frieze, said, “As a major destination, the fair will extend its reach across the city and celebrate the creative communities of Los Angeles.” Frieze LA also introduces itself as a fair that largely focuses on contemporary art and celebrates the exceptionally dynamic culture of Los Angeles and its global contributions to the visual arts.

Frieze LA will feature the main Galleries section, the Focus section, which will introduce galleries that have been in operation for less than 12 years, and the Frieze Projects section, which will showcase large-scale works. The Focus section will once again be curated by Amanda Hunt of the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis and Sonya Tamaddon. The fair will also have two award programs.

Participating Korean galleries include Kukje Gallery, Johyeon Gallery, Hakgojae Gallery, and Gallery Hyundai.

Art Basel Hong Kong 2022. Courtesy of Art Basel.
Art Basel Hong Kong 2022. Courtesy of Art Basel.

Art Basel Hong Kong

Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Center

March 23 to March 25, 2023

Art Basel Hong Kong, one of Asia’s largest art fairs, will hold its 2023 fair from March 23 to March 25, 2023, at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Center, with a two-day VIP event beginning on March 21, 2023. The 2023 edition will feature 171 galleries from 32 countries.

The number of the fair’s participating galleries has increased by 32%, from 130 in 2022 to the current number. Although the number is still lower than the 242 galleries in 2019 and the 283 galleries at Art Basel Miami Beach, which will be held this month, the fair is expected to attract more international visitors than the 2021 and 2022 fairs, as it is the first fair to be held since Hong Kong lifted hotel quarantine regulations.

There have been leadership changes at Art Basel Hong Kong. Mark Spiegler stepped down, and Noah Horowitz was appointed as the new CEO and Global Director. Horowitz served as the Americas Director at Art Basel from 2015 to 2021. While Adeline Ooi, Art Basel’s longtime Asia Director, will continue to focus on expanding Art Basel’s business in Asia, Angelle Siyang-Le will be the Hong Kong fair’s new leader, a newly created position. Art Basel Hong Kong Director Siyang-Le has served for the past ten years as Art Basel’s Regional Head of Gallery Relations for Asia and Head of Development for Greater China.

Art Basel Hong Kong will have its main Galleries section, Insight, which introduces Asian galleries, and Discovery, which showcases emerging galleries. Details of the Encounters, Cabinet, Film, and Conversation sections will be released at a later date.

Korean galleries participating in the main section of Art Basel Hong Kong include Arario Gallery, Gallery Baton, Hakgojae Gallery, Johyeon Gallery, Kukje Gallery, Leeahn Gallery, One and J. Gallery, and PKM Gallery. Meanwhile, Wooson Gallery will participate in the Insight section; Gallery 2 will introduce artist Hyunsun Jeon; Jason Haam will feature Moka Lee; and Whistle will present the works of Ram Han in the Discovery section.

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