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Making the Most of Art Fairs - Kiaf SEOUL & Frieze Seoul

Are you interested in art collecting? Are you curious about the current atmosphere of the art market and who the most sought-after artists are nowadays? If so, why not visit an art fair? Here is what you need to know to make the most of your experience at art fairs.

Installation view: Studio Artech, ‘METACITY.’ Image provided by Kiaf SEOUL.

Art fairs serve as excellent opportunities for new collectors to develop a discerning eye for art. A typical international art fair features between 200 and 300 booths. For those new to the scene, the sheer number of booths within a large exhibition hall, the artwork that fills them, and the bustling crowd can initially feel overwhelming and hectic. However, the beauty of art fairs lies in the opportunity to immerse yourself in an abundance of artwork in a vibrant atmosphere.

By visiting art fairs, especially internationally renowned ones, you can engage with leading galleries in the contemporary art world, explore works in various mediums and styles, and keep up with current market trends. Moreover, art fairs extend beyond the art itself—they offer educational programs, collection tours, and networking sessions, giving you the opportunity to learn about and appreciate art.

Beginning on September 6 at COEX in Gangnam, Kiaf SEOUL, the largest art fair in Korea, and Frieze, the globally recognized art fair, will be hosting their second joint fair. Here is what you need to know to make the most of your experience at Korea’s largest art fair:

Image by Kiaf SEOUL.


Before visiting the art fair, it is worthwhile to visit the fair’s website. This will provide you not only with information about the event dates and location but also about the participating galleries and institutions, along with the programs offered during the event. If visiting hundreds of booths seems overwhelming, consider prioritizing galleries that align with your artistic interests.


Make sure your smartphone is fully charged, and you might also consider carrying a pen or pencil. The art fair program brochure is the first thing you will want to grab when you get your admission ticket. Before entering the fairgrounds, viewing the floor plan with the booth locations of participating organizations will help you navigate the large space. Familiarizing yourself with the booth numbers of your favorite galleries in advance will help you plan your visit more effectively.

Main image of Frieze Seoul 2023.


Multiple visits can greatly enrich your experience at the fair. If you are unfamiliar with art fairs, take your time and immerse yourself in the ambiance instead of rushing through. During your initial visit, take note of the galleries and artworks that catch your eye. Write down booth numbers and artist names so that you can explore the galleries you are interested in more closely on your second visit.


Once you have pinpointed galleries or artists of interest, do not hesitate to ask the booth staff questions about the artworks and artists that pique your interest. Conversations with gallerists can offer valuable insights into artists and their works. If you are seriously contemplating purchasing a piece, inquire about additional pieces that may not be on display. Often, galleries have a broader selection of artworks available than what is presented at the booth. Additionally, requesting an artist’s statement, biography, and list of artworks can help you assess the artist’s background, the cohesiveness of their body of work, estimated pricing, and their future artistic trajectory.

Frieze Seoul 2022, COEX, Seoul. Photo by Aproject Company.


Engaging in conversations with gallerists at the booth and asking questions does not mean you need to make an immediate purchase on the spot. If the galleries and artists you encounter are unfamiliar to you, it is perfectly acceptable to view your time at the fair as an opportunity to gather information and expand your knowledge. Remember, you can always decide to buy after returning home and taking the time to further investigate the gallery’s credibility and the artist’s background and reputation in the art world. Following the gallery and artist’s social media accounts to see what other news and activities they have going on and selecting a piece that you truly like can lead to a more informed purchase.

Kiaf 2022. Photo by Kiaf Operating Committee. Courtesy of Kiaf.

In addition to the main section, where major galleries participate, art fairs also feature several special sections. Particularly, if you are interested in staying updated on emerging artists, new trends, and the current state-of-the-art world, visiting these special booths can be an intriguing experience. For insights into the special sections taking place at this year’s Kiaf SEOUL and Frieze Seoul, check out the articles below.

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