Medusa, Tin Drum, London Design Festival

The UK’s Best Art Shows & Fairs 2022

Culture /


A calendar for art lovers

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Whether you’re curious about ceramics or an art history extraordinaire, the UK hosts shows and fairs for all types of art enthusiast. Autumn is a big season for art festivals, with the big hitters like Frieze taking place alongside exciting smaller initiatives. Here are the events to add to your diary.

The UK’s Best Art Shows & Fairs

Fitzrovia Arts Festival

Fitzrovia Arts Festival poster

Fitzrovia Arts Festival poster 2022, by Jesse Brown. Watercolour on paper, courtesy of Rebecca Hossack Art gallery

Fitzrovia Arts Festival is back for its sixth edition this summer, with a line-up of free events celebrating the rich artistic past of the well-known London postcode. Internationally-acclaimed artists, performers and writers who live in the area (and famous residents from the past) will be celebrated with a programme of concerts, exhibitions, poetry readings, talks, walks and performances across multiple venues in the area. Keep an eye on the website for details of specific events. 10 – 25 June 2022, fitzroviaartsfestival.com

Photo London

Nick Knight, Pink Powder, 2008

Nick Knight, Pink Powder, 2008

The UK’s biggest photography fair returns to Somerset House this May, with a week-long programme of exhibitions, talks and events. A focus this year is fashion photography, with a key show from Nick Knight featuring works from the 1980s through to new pieces made this year. There are a whole host of top galleries exhibiting, including Lee Miller Archives, Goodman Gallery, Dada Gallery, JD Malat Gallery and many more, with all works up for sale. Alongside this there are talks from artists, book signings, tours and workshops, with the line-up featuring the likes of Kevin Cummins, Polly Braden and Melanie Manchot. 12 – 15 May 2022, photolondon.org

The Decorative Antiques & Textiles Fair

Russian Socialist Realist oil on canvas (unsigned) c1930/40

Russian Socialist Realist oil on canvas (unsigned) c1930/40

The spring edition of this year’s Decorative Antiques & Textiles Fair will see over 150 dealers gathering to showcase one-off antiques and works of art from a range of different periods. Gardens will be the focus, with a selection of seating, statuary and planters to explore – from garden benches to rustic wooden pieces and even antique garden gates. Alongside this, visitors will find dealers in jewellery and vintage watches, colourful glass, textiles, collectible folk art and much more. 4 – 8 May 2022, decorativefair.com

Eye of the Collector

Eye of the Collector

Eye of the Collector 2021. Image Courtesy of Eye of the Collector.

The second edition of Eye of the Collector is coming to historic London mansion Two Temple Place this May. Building on the format initiated in the inaugural show, the fair will take collectors on a journey of artistic discovery, with works spanning the history of art and design from antiquity to today. Offering a new type of fair model, artworks here are presented as if they were in a collector’s home, with the venue’s striking Gothic surroundings making the experience all the more magical. 12 – 14 May 2022, eyeofthecollector.com

Affordable Art Fair

Affordable Art Fair: Paul Wadsworth, Picking the Fruits, 1950, Iona House Gallery

On an autumn day in October 1999, ten thousand art lovers descended upon Battersea Park to browse thousands of paintings, sculptures and prints in a friendly environment. It was the first ever Affordable Art Fair – which has since grown into a worldwide phenomenon, hosting events in 10 cities around the world including London, New York, Hong Kong and Amsterdam. The fair returns to one of its London sites, Hampstead Heath, this May. Visitors will have the chance to browse work from over 110 galleries, with pieces available from just £50 (hence the name). 5 – 8 May 2022, affordableartfair.com

StART Art Fair

StART Art Fair

Steve Smith – Dla’kwagila

Taking place at London’s Saatchi Gallery, StART Art Fair showcases over 70 artists and galleries from more than 25 countries around the world. Last year’s event incuded new works from some of K-pop’s big stars, Mino and Yooyeon of Winner and solo talent Henry Lau, as well as urban pop artist Bassa Aspinall and photographs of Namibia by Ireland’s Marie Jordan. 12 – 16 October 2022, startartfair.com

London Craft Week

Olivia von Halle, London Craft Week

Year after year, London Craft Week shines a light on some of the most exciting makers through a programme of workshops, experiences, pop-ups and exhibitions. The festival returns to capital this May, with a programme featuring over 300 events, with work from more than 400 independent makers. Creative Freedom is the 2022 theme, with highlights including a group exhibition on contemporary jewellery using ancient techniques at Sotheby’s, and a Maker’s Market at The Royal Exchange. Plus, this year’s festival will feature the first-ever Country Pavilions, presenting work by makers from countries including Malaysia and Norway. 9 – 15 May 2022, londoncraftweek.com

London Design Festival

Yinka Ilori, London Design Festival

Yinka Ilori by Andrew Meredith

A mixed reality installation, a sculpture celebrating beehives and an outdoor art gallery from Yinka Ilori: just some of the exhibits shown at last year’s London Design Festival. The 2021 programme featured a mix of exhibitions and events, with centrepieces at the V&A including an installation in the Raphael Court by Japanese architect Sou Fujimoto and a low-carbon-aluminium pavilion found in the pool of the John Madejski Garden. 17 – 25 September 2022, londondesignfestival.com

Masterpiece London

Dorothy + white light stripes, William Klein

William Klein, Dorothy + white light stripe, 1962.

Every June, creatives, collectors and enthusiasts from all over the world flock to the Royal Hospital Chelsea for the annual Masterpiece London fair, home to the finest works of art, design, furniture and jewellery dating from antiquity to the present day. However, due to Covid-10 restrictions, the previous two events have taken place online. This didn’t stop it being a success though, with a jazzy new platform offering art lovers and collectors to connect with exhibitors and experts. Stay tuned for details of the 2022 edition. 30 June – 6 July 2022, masterpiecefair.com

Frieze London and Frieze Masters

Frieze Masters

Gagosian, Frieze Masters 2017

One of the world’s most renowned art fairs, the Frieze empire began with the launch of an art and culture magazine back in 1991. In 2003, the brand ran its first show in London’s Regent’s Park, with sister editions going on to launch in New York and Los Angeles. Three connected fairs are running in Regent’s Park this autumn: Frieze Sculpture, which is on now, followed by Frieze London and Frieze Masters in October. Frieze London focuses on contemporary art – from both emerging and well-established artists – while Frieze Masters spans thousands of years of art history, from the ancient era to the late 20th century. Almost 300 galleries from all over the world are taking part, alongside a programme of talks and special projects covering the big issues in the art world of today. Frieze London and Frieze Masters run from 12 – 16 October 2022, frieze.com

Main image: Medusa by Sou Fujimoto and Tin Drum, London Design Festival

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