Which Art Fairs Attract the Most Visitors?

Ambience at ARCOmadrid.Photo: courtesy of ARCOmadrid

Ambience at ARCO Madrid.
Photo: Courtesy of ARCO Madrid

The most talked about art fairs are not necessarily the best attended. Skate’s Art Market Research recently published statistics about international art fairs’ attendance, with some surprising results.

Skate’s found that a total of 1,032,729 people attended the world’s top 20 art fairs in 2014. The best attended fair was ARCO Madrid, which attracted 92,000 visitors, followed by Art Miami, which attracted 82,5000 visitors, and Art BA, Buenos Aires, which attracted 77,000 visitors. (For more on ARCO Madrid see Museo Reina Sofía Spends €348,884 at ARCO Madrid and ARCO’s 34th Edition Consolidates the Madrid Fair’s Position as a Top Destination for European and Latin American Art.)

The lower end of the table is occupied primarily by specialist fairs such as Paris Photo/LA, which attracted 12,000 visitors, Affordable Art Fair NY, which also attracted 12,000 visitors, and The Salon: Art + Design, which attracted 8,000 visitors.

Big-name fairs such as Art Basel (4th/74,567 visitors), FIAC (6th/73,000 visitors), Art Basel Miami Beach (9th/65,000), and TEFAF (10th/65,000) did not make it to the top slots.

Part of the reason could be “art fair fatigue.” According to the New York Times, total art fair attendance was down 7.2% compared to 2013, which the newspaper puts down in part to the overwhelming number of fairs that have emerged in recent years. The middle market is also increasingly squeezed, which has had a direct impact on the second tier of fairs.

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