Art Market Reports

Skate’s Art Fairs Report, Fall 2014

Welcome to Skate’s Art Fairs Report covering Q3, 2014, traditionally the quietest quarter in the art fairs calendar.

The report focuses on the starting position of the world’s major art fairs and their operators, aggregated statistics for 80 world’s most important art fairs and various subsets of data. Skate’s trademark analytics and market trends are supplemented with a specific focus on art fairs digital strategy (or lack thereof).

Skate’s Art Fairs Report is available for free to all registered Skate’s members.

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Report Includes:

  • Best Strategic Moves (June – September 2014)
  • Key Trends
  • Top 10 Most Attended Art Fairs, 2013–14 Season
  • Top 10 Most Attended Museums, 2013
  • The Changing World of Art Fairs
  • MCH Group vs. SASI and Swiss Index
  • The Most Attended Fairs in Frontier Markets
  • Digital Challenge to the Art Fair Business
  • Traffic for Gallery Listing Sites vs. Major Art Fair Franchises
  • Case Study of a Digital Partnership with Artsy
  • Competitive Landscape and Pressure to Disclose Trading Volumes
  • Top 10 Art Fair Brands
  • Q3 2014 Art Fair Facts
  • Q4 Art Fair Calendar

Excerpt from the Report:

Skate’s Art Fairs Report is, in a way, an offline equivalent of Skate’s Art E-Commerce Report, published on September 15, 2014. Rather than focusing on digital audiences for art-related businesses, it measures the physical traffic generated by art fairs and other key metrics of the art-fair industry. As was the case with Skate’s Art E-Commerce Report, the traffic numbers are best understood in a larger context—here, in the context of attendance figures for other major art venues such as biennials and museums.

Table 1:
Top 10 Most Attended Art Fairs, 2013–14 Season1
Art Fair
Number of Visitors
Number of Galleries
1ARCO Madrid100,000219IFEMA
2Art Basel92,000285MCH Group
3Art Basel Miami Beach75,000258MCH Group
5FIAC73,543184Reed Exhibitions
6Art Miami72,500258Art Miami LLC
7Frieze London270,000152Frieze
8The Armory Show65,000222Merchandise Mart
9Art Basel Hong Kong65,000303MCH Group
10Paris Photo55,239136Reed Exhibitions

Sources: and art fairs’ official disclosures.

Best Strategic Moves

The third calendar quarter is the quietest period for art fairs, with none of the Grand Slam fairs taking place. Nevertheless, a total of 12 art fairs occurred in Q3 2014, in places ranging from London to Seoul and the Hamptons, and from Rio de Janeiro to Istanbul and Chicago, and we note the following strategic moves for the period.

Rated #1


Just two years after Merchandise Mart pulled the plug on the then 32-year-old Art Chicago show, the city’s alternative fair, Expo Chicago, seemed to gain traction, proving Merchandise Mart wrong. The third edition of Expo Chicago enjoyed local government support (helping to transform the city into a festival of visual arts in mid-September), a strong mix of 141 galleries, and title sponsorship from Northern Trust. This is a solid show in a major city that now has a clear position as the opening fair of the season, ahead of Frieze London.

Rated #2


The Art Southampton fair (operated by Art Miami) was only in its third edition this year, yet it reported the largest attendance increase in July-August among the other shows. The total number of visitors grew from 16,300 in 2013 to 21,000 in 2014, a 29% increase. The fair was a case study for how the quality of exhibitors can improve the attractiveness of a fair. Art Southampton cut the number of participating galleries from more than 90 in 2013 to 84 in 2014, and achieved a far more pleasant fair experience for exhibitors, collectors, and visitors alike. Well done.

Rated #3


Masterpiece London held its fifth edition this summer and scored a new title sponsor. RBC Wealth Management used its sponsorship of the fair in a manner similar to UBS’s backing of Art Basel events and Deutsche Bank’s support of Frieze. This is an important validation for this single-event business (Masterpiece London Limited runs just one art fair a year), which may have significantly improved the economics of the Masterpiece show.

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1. Ranking includes established art fairs only; there were high attendance numbers reported for some younger fairs in countries ranging from Argentina and Turkey to India and South Korea. For further attendance-ranking methodologye, see Section 4 and Exhibit 4.
2. Frieze London attendance is an aggregate of Frieze (60,000) and Frieze Masters (10,000).