Frieze has tapped the gallerist Patrick Lee to lead the newest branch of its expanding art fair enterprise, which heads to Seoul, South Korea, between September 2 and 5 next year.
Frieze’s first outpost in Asia will take place alongside the veteran art fair KIAF, the largest event of its kind in Korea, which has been running since 2002. It is currently in full swing preparing for its 2021 edition, which will host 170 galleries. Next year, both fairs will run concurrently at COEX in the capital’s Gangnam District.
Lee is currently executive director at one of South Korea’s most prominent contemporary art galleries, Gallery Hyundai—and is currently manning the booth on the ground at Frieze Masters in London. He will depart the gallery to take up his new position at the beginning of November. Lee has over 15 years of gallery experience and was previously a partner and director of Seoul’s ONE AND J. Gallery.
Board director of Frieze, Victoria Siddall, welcomed Lee and commended his knowledge of the Korean art scene in a statement, calling him “the perfect person to lead Frieze Seoul.” Lee will work closely with Minju Kweon, Friezel’s head of VIP relations in Asia.
In May, after weeks of rumours, Frieze confirmed that it would launch a chapter in Seoul in partnership with the Galleries Association of Korea in 2022. The fair is not alone: in the past years, there has been an in-flux of international galleries scrambling to get a foothold in the region, including König Galerie and Thaddaeus Ropac, who have both opened outposts there.
Lehmann Maupin, Pace, and Perrotin already have galleries in the city, which has an optimal tax setup that is comparable to the now politically-complicated Hong Kong, which was long the dominant hub for the international art industry in the region. In South Korea, artworks under ₩60 million ($55,000) are not subject to sales tax and there are no import duties on art.
“I am truly honored and excited to be a part of the Frieze team and look forward to launching the Frieze platform in Asia,” said Lee in a statement. “Seoul is an amazing city with a well-known appreciation of the arts and is the perfect place to host a global art event of this calibre.”
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