Ah, art fairs. Depending on how you look at it, they are either a) an exciting gathering of artistic individuals and institutions that allow new artists to rise and the art market to thrive, or b) they’re a party that you’re only *sort of* invited to, with lots of people that already know each other and some very important art that you probably haven’t heard of and certainly cannot afford. If you fall in the latter camp, never fear! There is still plenty of fun to be had at fairs like Volta NY or Untitled, San Francisco (and none of it includes dropping several months rent on a blurry photograph).


People Watching

You sort of came to see art, but you really came to see people. Art fairs attract all sorts of personalities — very chic old couples, nervous interns running around (yes, hello), moms trying not to knock over sculptures with their strollers, bros trying to impress a date with their sensitive side, maybe even a celebrity or two (sound fun? Check out 5 Types of People You’ll See at Every Art Fair). The human chaos is real, and it all happens against a backdrop of art — so sit back and enjoy the show.



Maybe you’ll catch Beyoncé taking a selfie! (but probably not)



Looking at art makes you real hungry (or is that just us?), and thankfully fairs have picked up on the fact that hangry fairgoers are bad news. That means when the Basquiats start blurring it’s time to head to one of the delicious pop-ups that have proliferated in recent years. Some of our favorites are…

Roberta’s and Morganstern’s Finest Ice Cream at Frieze New York. We know it’s not groundbreaking news that Roberta’s pizza makes angels sing, but it’s even better after you’ve worked up an art fair-level appetite. And “sorbae”, nuff said.

Colonia Verde and Juice Press at the Armory Show. Inventive Latin American cooking to fuel you, and cold pressed juice to make you feel healthy-ish.

Does Wayne Thiebaud eat "sorbae"?

Does Wayne Thiebaud eat “sorbae”?



Looking at art

You don’t have to be an expert in mid-century modernism or obsessive about impressionism to appreciate some really cool art. Artists shown at fairs run the gamut from contemporary giants like Ai Weiwei, more up-and-coming young’uns like Aaron Fowler, and art history classics like Rodin. Chances are you’ll find at least a couple works that make your visit worth it. So treat the fair like a museum, don’t try and see everything, and let yourself enjoy the art!

Two people at an art fair.

Shoes and color and art, oh my!