Frieze Is the Most Expensive Art Fair to Visit in the World—and by a Long Shot, According to Our Ranking of 29 Events
Tickets to the first public day at Frieze New York costs a cool $200.
Casual art lovers tempted to visit this week’s Frieze New York are in for a bit of sticker shock: to attend the first public day on Thursday will run you a cool $200, or $215 including fees.
The chic art-fair brand has the highest admission fees of any such event in the world. Frieze Los Angeles is $227 for the Friday preview, and $75 on the weekend. Frieze London is the priciest of all, with a combined ticket to preview it and Frieze Masters weighing in at $300 (single-fair entry is $178).
The VIP days at these fairs remain invitation-only, but the up-charge to go before the weekend is something of a growing trend—and it has driven costs skyward.
In 2018, Frieze London was just $50.50, with combined entrance to both fairs priced at $84. The inaugural L.A. fair was $50 in 2019, and tickets to attend Frieze’s breezy tent on Randalls Island that year were a mere $57 (albeit with a $19 ferry surcharge to get there).
The increased cost is a bigger pill to swallow here in New York, considering that the fair’s current home the Shed in Manhattan’s Hudson Yards is a much smaller venue than the tent. This year, the fair is hosting 65 exhibitors, compared to 191 at the last Randalls outing.
There are a number of different pricing levels at Frieze New York, with $65 for the cheapest general admission tickets on Saturday and Sunday. If you want to go Friday, it will cost you $155 before 2 p.m., and $125 the rest of the day.
(Believe it or not, that’s actually less than it was last year, when capacity restrictions set prices for preview tickets at $265.)
There are discounts for early bird purchases, as well as for students and teenagers, who pay $35, and children 12 and under are just $5. Frieze also allots five percent of tickets to non-profits and universities, free of charge through an application process.
New York’s two other major fairs, TEFAF and the Armory Show, are considerably less pricey, charging just $55 for general admission on all the public days—and the Armory even offers discounted tickets on Friday and Saturday evenings, or anytime with New York ID. (TEFAF’s entrance fee is unchanged since 2018, while the Armory’s is up from $47.)
Beyond the Frieze franchise, the next-most expensive fair is the original Art Basel, which charges $150 for access on the first public day. During the rest of the run, general admission is $65.
Obviously, there are many different factors at play when it comes to pricing fair entry: the venue’s relationship to local labor unions, the state of shipping costs, and even supply-chain issues. Representatives for Frieze declined to explain their rationale. Still, it’s worth noting that the $200 entry fee for Frieze New York comes out to roughly $3.07 for each of the 65 galleries.
Compare that to the Armory Show, where that figure is $0.23 or so per gallery, or Art Basel Miami Beach, where it’s about $0.27. By that metric, TEFAF Maastricht is the clear winner, with 242 exhibitors for just $47 general admission, or $0.19 per gallery.
While art fairs obviously aren’t the first place one might go to see art on a budget, we took the liberty of ranking some leading events by top ticket price, as well as by number of exhibitors. All ticket prices are based on the most recent or upcoming edition of each event. Happy hunting.
Frieze Los Angeles, 100 exhibitors, $227
Frieze New York, 65 exhibitors, $200
Frieze London, 157 exhibitors, $178 (or $300 with combined entrance to Frieze Masters)
Frieze Masters, London, 130 exhibitors, $178 (or $300 with combined entrance to Frieze London)
Art Basel, Switzerland, 289 exhibitors, $150
Art Basel Hong Kong, 137 exhibitors, $121
Art Basel Miami Beach, 240 exhibitors, $65
Independent Art Fair, New York, 66 exhibitors, $60
Armory Show, 240 exhibitors, $55
Masterpiece London, 125 exhibitors, $55
NADA New York, 120 exhibitors, $55
TEFAF New York, 91 exhibitors, $55
The Photography Show Presented by AIPAD, New York, 49 exhibitors, $49
TEFAF Maastricht, 242 exhibitors, $47
NADA Miami, 170 exhibitors, $45
Felix Art Fair, Los Angeles, 60 exhibitors, $45
FIAC, Paris, 167 exhibitors (plus 40 online only), $42
UNTITLED Miami Beach, 145 exhibitors, $40
Spring Break Art Show New York, 112 exhibitors, $40
Spring Break Art Show Los Angeles, 50 exhibitors, $40
Future Fair, New York, 50 exhibitors, $39
1-54 London, 47 exhibitors, $31
VOLTA Basel, 67 exhibitors, $26
VOLTA New York, 49 exhibitors, $25
1-54 Paris, 23 exhibitors, $22
1-54 New York, 25 exhibitors, $20
The American Art Fair, New York, 17 exhibitors, free
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