Frieze Seoul Marks South Korea as a New Hub of Modern Art

Asia's first Frieze fair sold more than USD 450m worth of artwork.

Frieze Seoul Marks South Korea as a New Hub of Modern Art

Photo: Patron attends the Frieze art fair of Seoul.  Credit: Frieze Seoul.

Frieze, considered one of the two greatest global art fairs for modern art along with Art Basel, held its first-ever event in Asia at Seoul’s COEX from September 2 to 5, jointly with the Korea International Art Fair (KIAF) 한국국제아트페어 at the same location. Frieze and KIAF will hold a joint annual fair at COEX for the next four years.

By all accounts, the fair was a wild success both in terms of attendance and sales. Over 70k visitors attended the art fair, including South Korea’s biggest celebrities such as the newly minted Star Wars lead Lee Jung-jae 이정재, of the hit Netflix Series Squid Game 오징어게임;, K-pop star G-Dragon, regular attendee of the Paris Fashion Week; and BTS 방탄소년단’s leader RM, a noted art aficionado.

For some of the world’s largest art dealers, such as Gagosian Gallery of the United States and Hauser & Wirth of Switzerland, Frieze Seoul was their first appearance in the South Korean art market, which gave them an enthusiastic welcome. After four days, Frieze Seoul sold approximately USD 450m worth of artwork, making Seoul the second biggest Frieze art fair after Frieze London and ahead of other Frieze shows in New York or Los Angeles.

Among the artworks sold was Red Portrait Composition by George Condo, for USD 2.8m. Several galleries, such as Xavier Hufkens gallery of Belgium, reported that they sold out every artwork they brought to the fair on its first day.

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