2015 Travel Guide to Fairs, Biennials, and Other Art Destinations

Looking forward to what 2015 will bring us, here is a list of destinations for the avid contemporary art collector and connoisseur. Time to cash in those frequent flyer miles, as there is something for every month of the year!
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Looking forward to what 2015 will bring us, here is a list of destinations for the avid contemporary art collector and connoisseur. Time to cash in those frequent flyer miles, as there is something for every month of the year!
Art Los Angeles Contemporary fair lounge on opening night, 2014. Courtesy ALAC. Photo by Stefanie Keenan/Getty Images.
January brings mostly mild temps to the Southern California region and a host of fairs, starting with the LA Art Show (January 14-18), which celebrates its 20th anniversary in 2015, and photo la (January 15-18). Later in the month, Art Los Angeles Contemporary (January 29-February 1) returns to the Barker Hangar in Santa Monica with a tight selection of international blue chip and emerging galleries, and an emphasis on Los Angeles-based enterprises. Also be sure to catch the LA Art Book Fair (January 29-February 1) at the Geffen Center.
Alternative trip: LONDON
If chilly and wet is more your style, the London Art Fair runs January 21-25.
February: MADRID
Yeguas del Apocalipsis, Las Dos Fridas, 1989. Courtesy D21 GALERIA DE ARTE. Photo by Pedro Marinello.
One of the largest art fairs in the world, ARCOmadrid (February 25-March 1) attracts record numbers of attendees; last year saw 100,000 visitors, compared to 70,000 at Art Basel Miami Beach. This year’s guest country is Colombia, and ARCO’s #SoloProjects section focuses on Latin America. While in Madrid, be sure to visit the Reina Sofía, particularly for the exhibition of work by new media artist Daniel G. Andújar (January 21-May 24) and Not Yet. On the Reinvention of Documentary and the Critique of Modernism, 1968-1989, curated by Jorge Ribalta (February 11-July 13).
Alternative trip: MEXICO CITY
Another great option for collectors of Latin American art is Mexico City’s ZONA MACO fair (February 4-8).
Carsten Nicolai, α (alpha) pulse, Art Basel in Hong Kong 2014. Courtesy Galerie EIGEN + ART Leipzig/Berlin, The Pace Gallery and Studio Carsten Nicolai, MCH Messe Schweiz (Basel) AG.
Two years after acquiring Hong Kong’s International Art Fair ARTHK, Art Basel in Hong Kong (March 15-17) has moved the fair up from May to March, allowing more time for the Swiss art fair giant to prepare for its flagship edition in Basel in June. This is the premiere event for collectors of contemporary art from Asia. While in Hong Kong, be sure to travel around town to take in the city’s excellent gallery scene, particularly Gallery EXIT, Para/Site Art Space, and Saamlung.
Alternative Trip: NEW YORK
While Art Basel in Hong Kong is giving it a run for its money, the Armory Show (March 5-8) in New York is still a mainstay.
SP-Arte Opening, 2014. Courtesy SP-Arte. Photo by Pangeia de dois/SP-Arte.
With one of the fastest growing art markets in the world, Brazil is quickly becoming the next hot spot in the international art world. April brings SP-Arte, the São Paulo International Art Fair (April 9-12), to the Biennial Pavilion amidst the stunning architecture of Ibirapuera Park, where the São Paulo Museum of Modern Art and the Museum of Contemporary Art (MAC) are both situated.
Alternative Trip: SHARJAH
The 2015 Sharjah Biennial (March 5-June 5) is curated by Eungie Joo, formerly of the New Museum, and this year will feature over 50 artists in the United Arab Emirates city, with two thirds of them presenting new work and commissions.
The Whitney’s new building. View from the Westside, September 2014. Courtesy Whitney Museum. Photo by Tim Schenck.
In May there are many reasons to visit New York, not least of which being the beautiful weather. May 1 brings the much-anticipated opening of the Whitney Museum’s new building in the Meatpacking District, while up on Randall’s Island in the East River, the Frieze New York (May 14-17) tent will once again be erected, accompanied by a seemingly endless stream of satellite fairs and events across the city, not to mention the modern and contemporary art auctions at Christie’s and Sotheby’s.
Alternative Trip: HAVANA
The exciting news of the U.S. lifting sanctions on Cuba will certainly bring more focus -- and visitors -- to the 12th Havana Biennial (May 22-June 22).
Art Basel in Basel 2014, General Impression. Courtesy and © Art Basel.
While the Venice Biennale opens May 9th (and continues till November 22), we recommend visiting the Biennale in early June and combining the trip with an excursion to neighboring Switzerland to attend Art Basel (June 18-21). The 56th Biennale exhibition, curated by Okwui Enwezor, is titled All the World’s Futures, and promises “a fresh appraisal of the relationship of art and artists to the current state of things.”
Alternative Trip: ATHENS
The International Contemporary Art Fair of Athens, Art-Athina, runs from June 4-7, 2015.
Site of Art Marbella, Palacio de Ferias y Congresos Marbella, Courtesy Nan Palmero, Photo by Nan Palmero.
July sees the launch of a brand new art fair, Art Marbella (July 30-August 3), the brainchild of PINTA co-founder Alejandro Zaia, who recruited Omar Lopez-Chahoud of the much heralded Miami Beach fair UNTITLED. for the curatorial committee, along with Neri Torcello, and María Chiara Valacchi. Marbella, located on the Costa del Sol near Málaga, is already a popular destination for wealthy vacationing Europeans, but Art Marbella, in cooperation with the Centre of Contemporary Art (CAC) Málaga, hopes to transform it into “the new indispensable date within the international calendar.”
Alternative Trip: The HAMPTONS
Every year in July, New Yorkers travel out to the Hamptons, not just to escape the heat of the city, but for the parties, benefits, and art fairs: ArtHamptons (July 9-12), Art Market Hamptons (July 9-12), and Art Southampton (July 9-13).
Goran Hassanpour, Tower of Babel, 2011. From Momentum 7 in Momentum kunsthall. Courtesy Momentum. Photo by Vegard Kleven.
August is a traditionally slow time of year in the art world. But the long days of summer offer an ideal opportunity to visit the northernmost parts of the world, a time to get away and discover hitherto unexplored regions. If you like fresh air and saunas, and have any interest in learning more about contemporary art in Scandinavia, summer 2015 offers not one but three biennials in the region: the Turku Biennial (June 10-August 30) in Turku, Finland; Momentum, the Nordic Biennial for Contemporary Art (June 13-September 27), in Moss, Norway; and the Lofoten International Art Festival (LIAF), held on a cluster of islands just north of the Arctic Circle.
Alternative Trip: AMSTERDAM
Amsterdam is also lovely this time of year, and there are a number of exciting exhibitions on at the Stedelijk: the yearlong Tino Sehgal exhibition (January 1-December 31) should be heating up by August, and the massive exhibition of works by the ZERO group, Let Us Explore the Stars (July 4-November 8) will have just opened.
September: BERLIN
raumlaborberlin, Kitchen Monument, a social sculpture in front of the museum Berlinische Galerie, 2014. Courtesy and © raumlabor berlin. Photo by Amin Akhtar.
With the weather just on the verge of becoming brisk, September is a glorious time to be in Berlin, one of the world’s most exciting art cities. Berlin Art Week takes place September 15-20 this year, bringing with it abc art berlin contemporary (September 17-20), the new POSITIONS BERLIN (September 17-20), and other fairs and numerous events across the city.
Alternative Trip: CHICAGO
Now in its fourth year, EXPO CHICAGO (September 17-20) enlivens the Windy City with special exhibitions and events, from gala celebrations to raucous underground parties.
Claude Lévêque, Sous le plus grand chapiteau du monde (partie 1), 2014, intervention under the pyramid of the Louvre, Paris. Courtesy the artist and kamel mennour, Paris. Design by Hamza Aboudou / © ADAGP Claude Lévêque, Photo Fabrice Seixas.
With the fall season in full swing, the art market gets cracking with Frieze London (October 14-17) and the London auctions at Phillip’s, Christie’s and Sotheby’s. Once the London madness winds down, the knowing art traveller dashes across the English Channel in time for FIAC (October 22-25): the art fair double whammy.
Alternative Trip: ISTANBUL
The 14th Istanbul Biennial (September 5-November 1), curated by Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev, takes its inspiration from the sea: titled Saltwater: a Theory of Thought Forms.
November: NEW YORK
Ryan McNamara, MEƎM 4 Miami: A Story Ballet About The Internet, 2014, A Performa Commission Presented by Art Basel Produced by Performa and Art Basel, Courtesy and © Art Basel.
New York’s performance biennial, Performa 15 (November 1-22) brings three weeks of performance art, dance, film, symposia, and other events to the city. While the Performa organization also sponsors and produces performances beyond its signature biennial (most recently Ryan McNamara’s ME3M 4 Miami: A Story Ballet About the Internet for Art Basel Miami Beach and Rashid Johnson’s production of Dutchman at EXPO CHICAGO in 2014), there’s nothing quite like the experience of racing around New York City, trying to make it on time to the all performances that you’ve circled on your program.
Alternative Trip: TORINO
Italy’s finest and funnest contemporary art fair is certainly Artissima (November 6-8).
Alix Pearlstein and Sarah Braman, The Shining, 2014 and Door, 2013 – 2014, at Art Basel in Miami Beach Public Opening Night 2014. Courtesy of Mitchell-Innes & Nash.Photo © Art Basel.
In the art world, “Miami” is practically synonymous with “December.” Offering an escape from the impending winter, Art Basel in Miami Beach (December 3-6) brings the international art world together for a wild orgy of art and culture. Just be sure to leave enough room in your schedule to hit the beach at least once.
Alternative Trip: GUANGZHOU
The Guangzhou Triennial is slated to open December 11 (running through April 10, 2016) at the Guangdong Museum of Art in China.

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