A No-Nonsense Guide to NYC’s May Art Fairs

It’s May at last, which means the weather is getting warmer, the spotted lantern flies are hatching en masse, and artists and gallerists all over the world are getting their ducks in a row for the nine upcoming art fairs that are popping up over the next two weeks in Manhattan. To help alleviate the daunting dizziness of too many options, we’ve taken the liberty of creating a quick and easy back-pocket guide to navigating each fair and its offerings. To keep it simple, we’ve put everything in chronological order and added the dates and locations for nine quintessential and novice art fairs for your convenience! Without further ado, we bring you this spring’s art fairs, ordered by opening date.


Steve Paddack, “Personal Island After a Storm” (2023), acrylic on panel, 6 x 6 inches (image courtesy SPRING/BREAK)

Wait a second … Spring/Break? Secret show? Yup! Like a college student paying a visit to their old stomping grounds for nostalgia’s sake, Spring/Break is back at its original location at the Old School in Nolita for a “spontaneous salon iteration” highlighting new work by artists and curators who have previously shown there. According to co-founder Andrew Gori, this superlative-esque endeavor should serve as the “first of a run of a string of ‘Some Of The Best Of’ shows” looking back at Spring/Break’s 10-plus-year history. The surprise show also marks the submission pool opening for Spring/Break’s Fall 2023 event-themed “Wild Card,” inviting participants to reflect on the past eleven themes with an updated lens.

SPRING/BREAK Art Show (springbreakartshow.com)
The Old School, 32 Prince Street, Nolita
May 10–20

Future Fair

Seulgi Kim, “Two Roads” (2022), oil on canvas, 35 3/4 x 295 inches (image courtesy the artist and Gallery Afternoon, Seoul via Future Fair)

Future Fair has returned to Chelsea Industrial for its third birthday! This novice fair made a splash in the art world in 2021 for its co-op-inspired business model that rewards the founding galleries a shared 35% in profits over its first five years. Future also boasts transparency for everyone involved by providing budget reports and cost breakdowns so that exhibitors and partners can provide input on what they’d like to see prioritized moving forward. The third iteration of the show includes 50 domestic and international exhibitors including galleries from Perú, Norway, and South Korea.

Future Fair (futurefairs.com)
Chelsea Industrial, 535 West 28th Street, Chelsea
May 10–13

Independent Art Fair

Sophie Treppendahl, “Still Life of Portraits” (2023), oil on canvas, 40 x 50 inches (Image courtesy the artist, Jack Hanley Gallery, and Independent)

Independent New York began in 2010 with an invite-only model overseen by founding curator Matthew Higgs. The participating galleries and artists are meticulously curated and the fair has a reputation for exhibiting sleeker work than what you might expect to find at a show largely focused on emerging and rising artists. This year, Independent New York’s 14th edition features 120 artists across 74 galleries and nonprofits across all four floors of the Spring Studios location in Tribeca. I’m personally excited to see Sophie Treppendahl’s “Still Life of Portraits” (2023) IRL.

Independent New York (independenthq.com)
Spring Studios, 50 Varick Street, Tribeca
May 11–14


Verena Loewensberg, “Untitled” (1973), oil on canvas, 35 x 52.3 inches (image courtesy the estate of the artist, The Mayor Gallery, and TEFAF)

The European Fine Arts Foundation (TEFAF) hosted its first annual fair back in 2016, showcasing “museum-quality objects” ranging from modern and contemporary art to antiques including jewelry, furniture, and design work. TEFAF is best described as luxurious and lush with historical context, highlighting the life’s work of many field experts bringing out the world’s fineries for collectors and curators. TEFAF’s eighth New York edition will include 91 presentations by dealers, 13 of which are new to the roster. If you’re looking for an upscale vibe or an opportunity to get a little more dressed up, this is it.

TEFAF (tefaf.com)
Park Avenue Armory, 643 Park Avenue, Upper East Side
May 12–16

Frieze New York

Lauren Halsey, “Untitled” (2023), inkjet print, 62.5 x 96 inches (photo courtesy the artist and David Kordansky Gallery via Frieze New York)

Frieze New York is a vast and cumbersome sea featuring mega-galleries like David Zwirner, Gagosian, Perrotin, and Pace. It’s usually the first fair people think of during New York’s spring art week, with over 60 galleries from 27 countries represented in this year’s iteration. Frieze’s “Focus” section is dedicated to solo presentations by emerging galleries 12 years old and younger. One particular highlight from this year is Sprüth Magers and Karma International’s joint presentation of Pamela Rosenkranz’s multidisciplinary work. If you’re not willing to brave the art fair storm to have a glimpse (and who could blame you!), there’s also the option of checking out the artist’s latest commission, “Old Tree” (2023), on the High Line Plinth up in Chelsea, just a block and a half away!

Frieze New York (frieze.com)
The Shed, 545 West 30th Street, Hudson Yards
May 17–21

VOLTA New York

Manuel Mera, “Waveform” (2022), ink and colored pencil on paper, 9 1/2 x 9 1/2 inches (image courtesy Catalysta via VOLTA)

VOLTA New York debuted in 2008 as a more intimate fair that promotes emerging contemporary artists on an international level. I think it leans a little Pier 1 Imports in the vein of being relatively agreeable and suitable for the walls of your home, but there’s definitely some great work by under-sung artists nestled between the decorative wall hangings and sculptures. VOLTA New York will present over 50 galleries from 18 countries. Keep an eye out for works by Manuel Mera, Logan T. Sibrel, and Dana Sherwood.

VOLTA New York (voltaartfairs.com)
Metropolitan Pavilion, 125 West 18th Street, Chelsea
May 17–21

NADA New York

Kelly Breez, “The Cheese Plate Lovers Club Matchbook” (2023), acrylic and bar top resin on wood, 24 x 19 1/2 inches (image courtesy Dale Zine)

New Art Dealers Alliance (NADA) has selected the 548 West gallery loft as its new venue for the fair’s ninth edition. The show organizers appear to have pared down the exhibitors list from 120 last year to 88 galleries and nonprofits across 17 countries this year. NADA New York also has a series of programmed talks offered daily throughout the fair’s run, focused on topics like networking and opportunities for artists and unpacking the contemporary art market. Of the 88 exhibitors, 31 will be debuting at NADA this year, fulfilling the organization’s mission of creating opportunities for emerging artists, curators, and galleries while making contemporary art more accessible to the public. The Miami-based independent publisher and printer Dale Zine is presenting a booth in New York for the first time, centering artist Kelly Breez’s enchanting three-dimensional “matchbook” paintings.

NADA New York (newartdealers.org)
548 West, 548 West 22nd Street, Chelsea
May 18–21

1-54 New York

Ronald Hall, “Cataclysmic Negritude” (2023), acrylic on canvas, 40 x 30 inches (image courtesy the artist and Duane Thomas Gallery via 1-54)

Beginning in 2013, this year marks 1-54’s 10th anniversary as the first and only international fair dedicated to modern and contemporary African art. Developed by Moroccan entrepreneur Touria El Glaoui, 1-54 references Africa as one continent made up of 54 nations. This year’s iteration will showcase over 80 African and diasporic artists across 26 galleries and exhibitors hailing from Cape Town, Nevlunghavn, Los Angeles, and everywhere in between. Check out works by Malian artist Ange Dakouo, Senegalese photographer Alun Be, and Ghanaian painter Ablade Glover among the highlights this year.

1-54 New York (1-54.com)
Malt House, 439 West 127th Street, West Harlem/Manhattanville Factory District
May 18–21

Clio Art Fair

Aurelio Bruni, “Dissacration” (2022), oil on canvas, 23 3/5 x 31 1/2 inches (image courtesy Clio)

On the opposite end of the spectrum, we have the biannual Clio Art Fair. The self-described “anti-art fair for independent artists,” founded in 2014, intentionally showcases work by creatives without NYC gallery representation in an effort to “challenge the traditional art market’s methodologies.” Artists have agency over their displays and exhibition spaces and are in direct contact with collectors. Around 80 independent artists from all over are included in Clio’s 14th edition, which will also debut a special section called “What’s Your Fight?” featuring a series of performances that urge us to reconcile with the question: “Why is the life of most human beings dominated by discontent, by anguish, by fear of war, and by war?”

Clio Art Fair (clioartfair.com)
550 West 29th Street, Chelsea
May 18–21

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