Frieze Art Fair returns to South Korea, offering boost to Asia’s art market

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The Frieze Art Fair returned to South Korea for a second year on Wednesday, with dealers hoping the event would provide a boost for the burgeoning local art market, after economic woes triggered a slump in sales this year. The fair, run by Endeavor Group-owned (EDR.N) Frieze, made its Asia debut in South Korea last year, drawing over 70,000 visitors. South Korea’s art market reached 1 trillion won ($750.

85 million) in revenue for the first time in 2022, according to data from the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism.

However, the market shrank in the first half of this year, with the volume of art sales by major South Korean auction houses dropping 44.8% from a year ago, according to the Korea Arts Management Service.

Despite this backdrop, the South Korean and the Asian art market remain resilient, Patrick Lee, Director of Frieze Seoul, told Reuters. “I think it is sort of a natural evolution as collectors get a little more sophisticated and discerning.”

With COVID travel restrictions gone, Lee is optimistic about hosting more international visitors during this year’s four-day fair. Over 120 galleries from 30 countries are taking part, with more than half of them operating spaces in Asia, the organisers have said.

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