5 Tips for Every Art Fairgoer—for Frieze London

Keep your powder dry for the right purpose.



Lisson Gallery at Frieze London 2014, with works by Ryan Gander, Cory Arcangel, and Joyce Pensato.
Photo: Linda Nylind, courtesy of Linda Nylind/Frieze.

The 13th edition of Frieze London opens Wednesday, October 14. There is a lot to see, and there will be a lot of fairgoers out there, like you, angling for something special. Here are a few helpful tips to make the most of your experience.

Get a second opinion
Yes, we’re sure you have great taste and don’t necessarily need someone to help you find a new work to acquire. However, due to all the excitement—or exhaustion—your keen eye may turn into a lazy one. Getting a second opinion ensures that the piece you have your eye on isn’t an impulse buy but something you’ll continue to appreciate for years to come.

Find the right adviser
For that second opinion, you might opt for an adviser. It can be a top art adviser or your best friend who knows her way around Bushwick’s galleries as long as it is someone you trust and someone informed enough to give you great art advice. If you can’t find anyone to help you, Frieze has you covered with Frieze Bespoke, a program that provides you with an art adviser on site.

Know what questions to ask
Do your research, know what you are looking for, what galleries are going to be there, and which artists they’re showing, and come prepared with questions. If you see something that you like and you know the artist just ask the dealer how much the work is. However, if you are unfamiliar with the artist, you might try asking about the artist’s background and art practice, where the artist is based, what galleries they work with, and if they’ve shown at any museums. Most importantly do not take up the dealer’s time. They have a lot of other clients to get to.

Keep your powder dry for the right purpose
In other words don’t drop your money at the first thing that excites you. Remember: there is a lot to see, and around every corner awaits something potentially exciting. Wait, ask questions, and get that second opinion before you buy. However do not ask for a work to be held for you while you make a decision. Having a piece held can possibly ruin a dealer’s chance of making a sale.

Have a good time
Nothing is more exciting at a fair than buying something you had your eye on. however there’s tons of other things to do while you’re there. Why not visit the sculpture garden and view Lock (1967-7), A Richard Serra work that hasn’t been on view since it was last seen at the Whitney Museum in 1976, browse the Reading Room, a space that provides a curated selection of arts publications, or mingle with other art fair goers.

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