The year 2023 is drawing to a close, and it has been a pivotal year for artfairmag. This project, which I have been nurturing for four years now, has finally found its direction, evolving from a tool – the comprehensive database for international art fairs – into a media dedicated to the art market with an engaged audience, allowing me to finally make a living from my passion. What a great year! And 2024 is full of exciting projects, so buckle up!

Speaking of fairs, I visited over thirty this year: 34 to be precise! I am rarely disappointed by a fair when they meet their promesses. My expectations differ whether I visit Art Basel or a regional fair like St-ART or PAN Amsterdam, but my pleasure is the same if the promises are kept. You can enjoy a big American production as much as a Korean auteur film as long as you find what you came for. It’s exactly the same with fairs. So, I had a lot of fun walking these hundreds of kilometers of aisles, discovering tens of thousands of works. However, 5 fairs stood out, from a totally personal and subjective point of view.

TEFAF Maastricht

TEFAF Maastricht

I often say it. TEFAF Maastricht is my favorite event of the year. It’s the only fair I’ve experienced as an exhibitor, back in the old days when I worked at the wonderful Galerie Kugel. During those eight years, I acquired a taste for the incomparable atmosphere of fairs, the unmistakable smell of glue and paint heralding the fever of the opening, the wonders gathered under one roof, and especially the genuine camaraderie that can reign there. When I visit TEFAF Maastricht, I’m obviously dazzled. From the ancient sculptures of Chenel Gallery to the consistently coherent presentations of Mennour, passing through the wonderful Kunstakammer of Georg Laue, the powerful bronzes of the Tomasso Brothers, or the wonderful jewelry of the Indian gallery Baghat: it’s a real artistic slap! And I’m not even talking about the floral composition, which has become the signature of the fair, adding to the excitement a few minutes before entering the MECC. Finally, I love the exclusivity imposed by the fair’s remote location on both dealers and visitors. The lovely little town of Maastricht buzzes for a few days before falling back to sleep until the next edition.

Watch all the videos I did at the fair here.

Art Paris Art Fair

Art Paris

Art Paris long lived in the shadow of the massive FIAC before finding its place in the sun, daringly opting to be held in person during the peak of COVID, between lockdowns. I commend the boldness and courage of its iconic director, Guillaume Piens. For the past three years, Art Paris has been rising, offering an increasingly curated selection and an interesting mix of quality local and international galleries. It is especially one of the (too) rare fairs to limit its carbon footprint as much as possible. Obviously, such ephemeral events are inherently very polluting. I am the first affected when I think about my numerous trips. Art Paris thus stands out as an eco-designed art fair. They have announced a halving of their waste in three years and a significant reduction in their electricity consumption and carbon footprint. Kudos to them.

Watch all the videos I did at the fair here.

Urban Art Fair

Urban Art Fair

When Yannick Boesso, the director of Urban Art Fair, told me about his fair that I had never visited, I must admit to having had a little reluctance. For me, and I blush today, urban art – so far from my initial training – was reduced to tags on subways. What a mistake! I discovered an extremely rich specialty, both in terms of the artists’ styles and the supports it encompasses. I had a real pleasure learning and especially walking through the fair’s stands. The galleries were varied and the offer was eclectic yet very coherent. The team at the head of the fair worked hard in advance, and it showed. I bought a nice canvas at PDP Gallery by the artist Inigo Sesma. Definitely to be repeated in 2024!

Watch all the videos I did at the fair here.

FAB Paris

FAB Paris

I was charmed by the inaugural edition of FAB Paris. Right from the moment I stepped into the Grand Palais Ephémère, I was captivated by the beautiful layout of the venue, a place I usually associate with contemporary art fairs featuring minimalist stands. However, it was the quality and diversity of the artworks on display that truly delighted me. Yes, some dealers expressed disappointment over their sales figures, but I also heard very positive feedback from others who found the fair to be quite successful for them. It’s true that attendance might not have met everyone’s expectations, and I too was surprised by the unusually quiet aisles during my two visits, including one on a Saturday afternoon. The fair’s scheduling during Thanksgiving, which likely prevented many American collectors from attending, might have contributed to this. Nevertheless, as a visitor, I found the conditions at FAB Paris to be ideal for fully enjoying the experience.

Watch all the videos I did at the fair here.

St-ART Strasbourg

St-ART Strasbourg

I end this column with the discovery I least expected this year: the regional fair in Strasbourg, St-ART. I obviously knew it by name and was happy that their team asked me to cover the 2023 edition. This type of fair is a goldmine for discovering young artists, and so I arrived at the city’s Exhibition Park full of enthusiasm, greeted right from the hall by an oversized moon. I must say that I did not expect such a level of quality at all. Among the predominantly emerging young artists, I saw works by renowned artists like Christo, Bernard Venet, Arman, Nikki de Saint Phalle, etc. I also liked the variety of mediums on display: painting and sculpture of course, but also ceramics, tapestry and other textile works, drawing, prints, and more. A little gem that well deserved the 2h30 train ride!

Watch all the videos made at St-ART here.

I look forward to seeing you in 2024 and wish you happy holidays in the meantime!

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