London’s Best Art Shows & Fairs 2022 – 2023
Whether you’re curious about ceramics or an art history extraordinaire, London hosts shows and fairs for all types of art enthusiast. There are the big hitters like Frieze and Masterpiece, alongside exciting smaller initiatives. Here are the events to add to your diary.
London’s Best Art Shows & Fairs
The prestigious PAD art fair was founded in 1997 in Paris by Patrick Perrin, with the first London edition running ten years later in Hanover Square. Set in Mayfair’s Berkeley Square, it showcases a mix of modern art, photography, glass and ceramics, fine art and jewellery, featuring galleries from countries across Europe, North America and Asia. The fair is designed to inspire collectors, art consultants, museum experts and interior designers – but if you don’t fall into any of these categories, it’s also just a lovely place to browse. Following two years of online-only events, it returns in person this October, with a special focus on innovative sustainable design techniques. It’s a chance to see works from both big names and emerging artists, with highlights including a booth dedicated to French designer Christophe Côme, new works from Chinese innovative material designer Jie Wu, and a new furniture line from Parisian architect Charles Zana. 10 – 16 October 2022, padesignart.com
Since it was founded in 2014, StART Fair has been spotlighting the work of lesser-known artistic communities. It’s held at the Saatchi Gallery each year, and sees all three floors of the venue filled with a mix of curated projects, gallery presentations and independent artistic exhibitors. Highlights for 2022 will include an immersive experience titled In 1977 I want to go to Heaven – a punk cultural tribute courtesy of Illuminati Neon, AKA Mark Sloper. There will also be a section dedicated to Korean artists, plus work by the winner of StART’s 2021 Global Eye Award, Steve Smith – Dla’kwagila. A partnership with Martin Miller’s Gin, meanwhile, will see the launch of an emerging artists’ prize at this year’s fair, with entrants being invited to submit an artwork that responds to the theme of transformation. 12 – 16 October 2022, startartfair.com
Every June, creatives, collectors and enthusiasts from all over the world flock to the Royal Hospital Chelsea for the annual Masterpiece London fair, home to the finest works of art, design, furniture and jewellery dating from antiquity to the present day. Due to Covid-10 restrictions, it took place online during 2020 and 2021, but this didn’t stop it being a success, with a jazzy new platform offering art lovers and collectors to connect with exhibitors and experts. This year it was back in full swing, with artist Anila Quayyum Agha taking pride of place at Masterpiece Presents, a Pakistani-American artist known for her immersive light installations. June 2023, masterpiecefair.com
London Design Festival
The London Design Festival returns to the capital this September for its 20th edition, complete with an eclectic mix of events, exhibitions and installations. Highlights will include a landmark outdoor exhibit from Rotterdam-based designer Sabine Marcelis, located in St Giles Square, plus a project at Greenwich Peninsula from Stanton Williams and Webb Yates in collaboration with experimentadesign, inspired by the Neolithic stone structures that ‘create a space separate from the outside world’. Once again, the festival will also join forces with the V&A on a series of displays, including Plasticity: a large-scale sculpture created by Italian architect Niccolo Casas using marine plastic waste intercepted by non-profit Parley for the Oceans. 17 – 25 September 2022, londondesignfestival.com
Frieze London and Frieze Masters
One of the world’s most renowned art fairs, the Frieze empire began with the launch of an art and culture magazine back in 1991. In 2003, the brand ran its first show in London’s Regent’s Park, with sister editions going on to launch in New York and Los Angeles. Three connected fairs are running in Regent’s Park this autumn: Frieze Sculpture, which is on now, followed by Frieze London and Frieze Masters in October. Frieze London focuses on contemporary art – from both emerging and well-established artists – while Frieze Masters spans thousands of years of art history, from the ancient era to the late 20th century. Almost 300 galleries from all over the world are taking part, alongside a programme of talks and special projects covering the big issues in the art world of today. Frieze London and Frieze Masters run from 12 – 16 October 2022, frieze.com
Affordable Art Fair
On an autumn day in October 1999, ten thousand art lovers descended upon Battersea Park to browse thousands of paintings, sculptures and prints in a friendly environment. It was the first ever Affordable Art Fair – which has since grown into a worldwide phenomenon, hosting events in 10 cities around the world including London, New York, Hong Kong and Amsterdam. The fair will return to its original site this autumn, with thousands of original artworks on offer including pieces available to buy from just £50 (hence the name). 20 – 23 October 2022, affordableartfair.com
London Craft Week
Year after year, London Craft Week shines a light on some of the most exciting makers through a programme of workshops, experiences, pop-ups and exhibitions. The festival returned to capital this May with a programme featuring over 300 events, with work from more than 400 independent makers. Creative Freedom was the 2022 theme, with highlights including a group exhibition on contemporary jewellery using ancient techniques at Sotheby’s, and a Maker’s Market at The Royal Exchange. This year’s festival also featured the first-ever Country Pavilions, presenting work by makers from countries including Malaysia and Norway. It will return next May, with the line-up yet to be announced. 8 – 14 May 2023, londoncraftweek.com
Eye of the Collector
A relatively new addition to the London art show canon is Eye of the Collector, which returned to the capital for its second year running this May. Taking place in historic London mansion Two Temple Place, it brings collectors on a journey of artistic discovery, with works spanning the history of art and design from antiquity to today. Offering a new type of fair model, artworks here are presented as if they were in a collector’s home, with the venue’s striking Gothic surroundings making the experience all the more magical. 2023 dates TBC, eyeofthecollector.com
The Decorative Antiques & Textiles Fair
Each year, the Decorative Antiques & Textiles Fair sees a whole host of dealers gathering to showcase one-off antiques and works of art from a range of different periods. Visitors will find dealers in jewellery and vintage watches, colourful glass, textiles, collectible folk art and much more. For this year’s spring edition, gardens were the focus, with a selection of seating, statuary and planters to explore – from garden benches to rustic wooden pieces and even antique garden gates. 9 – 14 May 2023, decorativefair.com
Fitzrovia Arts Festival
The rich and artistic past of Fitzrovia is celebrated in the Fitzrovia Arts Festival, which returned for its sixth edition this summer. Internationally-acclaimed artists, performers and writers who live in the area (and famous residents from the past) were celebrated with a programme of concerts, exhibitions, poetry readings, talks, walks and performances across multiple venues in the area. Keep an eye on the website for details of specific events. 2023 dates TBC, fitzroviaartsfestival.com
Main image: Frieze Art Fair in Regents Park, London. Photo by Linda Nylind for Frieze.
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