10 Tips for Handling the Madness of Frieze Week

The fairs slow down for no one.

Frieze New York when the sun shines. Photo via Frieze.


Frieze New York, 2013 Photo via Frize Art fair

Frieze New York, 2013
Photo via Frize Art fair

Frieze Week is upon us, and it’s time to start strategizing. Plan your agenda, dust off those business cards, and be sure you memorize our tips, because the fairs wait for no one.

Wear comfortable (but cool) shoes.
As with any art fair, you’re going to be doing a lot of walking, and limping is never fun. That being said, if you want to end up in one of the inevitable street style slideshows that will flood the Internet in the days following the fair, you might want to wear something with a little oomph.

Have a drink . . . but don’t get drunk.
It’s no revelation that most events are more fun with alcohol. It’s called a “social lubricant” for a reason, and a glass of wine or two will make it easier to talk to people and also to forget how exhausted you are. Being drunk, however, will just be unpleasant.

Take pictures.
When you’re being inundated with art, it can be tough to remember the things you’ve seen that you really liked. You can remedy this situation by taking  photos of your favorite works and the accompanying wall labels. Just think of your iPhone as an external brain with a photographic memory!

Plan, plan, plan.
If you’re trying to make it to all the satellite fairs and events, or even just a  handful of them, HopStop, Google Maps, and Google Calendar are your best friends. Know where you are going, when, and how you will get there so that you don’t waste time trying to figure it out on the spot. Bonus points if you have a list of which booths you need or want to make it to at each fair.

BYOF (or be prepared to drop some big bucks).
Food at Frieze and even at the other fairs is expensive. Bring your own lunch, snacks, and water to avoid unnecessary spending. Maybe now you’ll even be able to afford that fantastic painting you spotted.

Set a self-imposed curfew.
The afterparty (or after-afterparty) circuit is tempting, but be sure to leave at a semi-decent hour. The 7 a.m. you will thank the 10 p.m. you for not letting fear of missing out stand in the way of bedtime.

Chat it up with the dealers.
Even if you’re not looking to buy something, dealers can provide a wealth of information as well as anecdotal stories from Frieze weeks past that will blow your mind (think people knocking over statues and stuff). Just make sure you’re not getting in their way of making an actual sale.

At least attempt to sneak into the VIP area.
And then let us know how it goes.

Bring your business cards.
Duh. Maybe even write your cell number on the back of a few . . . just in case you meet Mr. or Ms. Right.

Don’t forget the shades.
It’s bright in that Frieze tent, and there’s sure to be a lot to see.

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