The Five Best Ways to Shop for Your Home or Your Collection at Art Fairs in 2021

Here are a few tips on how to navigate the bustling fair environments as a collector.

With the comeback of art fairs in Spring 2021, we saw firsthand how enthusiastic collectors were to browse and purchase works of art in person and in the fair setting. Here are a few tips on how to navigate the bustling fair environments as a collector. Agora Gallery will be present at the Affordable Art Fair, Red Dot Miami, and Artexpo this fall, so be sure to check our website to see the many talented artists we will be showing! 

Before we launch into these suggestions, it is important to note that most galleries have art advisors available to new or returning clients. We encourage all collectors to reach out to us or any of your favorite galleries for the chance to have expert advice and recommendations on works to add or start your collection. 

1. Plan your visit and do your research

Art fairs can be overwhelming both in scale and in the number of galleries exhibiting work. Make sure to familiarise yourself with the fair’s map and website before attending, and make note of any galleries and works that are on your must-see list. This is a great time to contact galleries and work with a consultant or take photos of your space to show gallery representatives at the fair.

2. Ask questions & don’t be afraid to make an offer

Don’t hesitate to speak up about works you are interested in! Dealers and gallery representatives will be more than happy to provide whatever information they can about a work or artist. Ask questions about technique, historical significance, or any other information that could be hard to find elsewhere. Asking questions and introducing yourself to dealers and gallerists is also a great way to develop a relationship for any future purchase inquiries. Don’t be shy about making an offer on a piece you love. Galleries want to sell the artwork and even if something is just out of your reach, you might be able to negotiate the price. 

3. Keep a list of your favorite artists and works

Make sure to keep track of which artworks stand out to you above all as you navigate the fair, as it can be easy to lose sight of works as you peruse gallery after gallery. Taking photographs and making a list can also be very helpful in figuring out what works of art fit into your target collection, or what artists and galleries speak to you most as a collector. Even if you don’t purchase anything while the fair is still on, you can revisit your list and contact the galleries about the pieces afterward. 

4. Explore and discover

While having a game plan is a good way to start your art fair journey, it is also important to keep an open mind and put artists and galleries that may be unknown to you on your radar. Fairs tend to have great selections of galleries from all over the world, so checking out other galleries can also broaden your horizons of international art markets. Always be sure to follow up with an email or phone call to galleries and dealers after the fair! 

5. Go more than once, and attend receptions if possible

Though more costly than attending the general art fair hours, attending an opening night reception can be crucial for aspiring collectors interested in building a network with other collectors and dealers alike. These are often the events where works by prestigious artists are purchased, and where notable collectors and dealers are in attendance. Attending fairs more than once is also important in order to be absolutely positive about a piece you are interested in buying, and to refresh your memory of what stood out to you when first attending the fair.

Need some specific advice regarding your art collection or help in starting afresh? Benefit from our curatorial services! To know more, contact us at [email protected]

Agora Gallery will be attending the Affordable Art Fair from September 23rd – September 26th, 2021, Art Expo New York from 29th – 31st, and Red Dot Miami from December 2nd – 5th. We hope to see you there! 


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