4 Art Advisors Reveal Their Secrets for Navigating Frieze Seoul

The art world has returned from summer holidays with a vengeance. First up on the international cultural calendar: Seoul Art Week. The Korean capital is hosting the second annual Frieze Seoul fair as well as Kiaf and dozens of museum and gallery openings. We asked four art advisors for their best tips and tricks for navigating the city during a frenetic fair week. 

Image courtesy of Yuki Terase.

Yuki Terase

After starting her career at Sotheby’s in 2011, where she played a major role in developing its contemporary art sales in Asia, Yuki Terase teamed up with fellow Sotheby’s alum Amy Cappellazzo to found Art Intelligence Global. The holistic advisory is headquartered in New York and Hong Kong.

How do you prepare your clients for the art fair?

The basic homework must be done, of course. We review PDFs, conduct research and price analysis, and help clients place holds in the lead-up to the fair. But once the homework is done, I ask my clients to enjoy the fair with an open mind. Oftentimes, the best discoveries are the unexpected ones—works that aren’t in the PDFs, or which are only on display on day two or three.

Favorite post-fair watering hole?

Speakeasy Mortar is a rare hidden gem and an old favorite. Excellent whiskey, excellent music, and a very private atmosphere.

What’s the best place to get caffeinated before the fair kicks off?

Seoul’s coffee culture is incredible and there are so many good places—you can’t really go wrong. Try Tartine’s Dosan branch, or FELT Dosan for somewhere nearer to the fair.

What’s a non-fair activity visitors shouldn’t miss in Seoul?

The Kim Whanki retrospective at Ho-Am Art Museum. The beautiful exhibition honoring the late Korean abstract master closes on Sep. 10. Don’t miss it!

What’s your best tip for navigating the fair as a first-time attendee?

Fairs provide a platform not just to buy art but also to learn and have your horizons broadened. It can get overwhelming, so always remember to enjoy the art. And wear comfortable shoes!

Image courtesy of Gladys Lin.

Gladys Lin

Gladys Lin has spent more than a decade building collections, working with artists, and collaborating with art institutions throughout Asia. The former director of Sean Kelly Gallery Asia, Lin developed a specialization in Asian modern art. Before striking out on her own with Gladys Lin Projects, the Taipei and New York-based advisor held positions at Sakshi Gallery India and Soka Art Center Taiwan.

What are you most excited to see this year?

There are so many amazing programs to see in Seoul this year, especially museum exhibitions and collaborations between artists and fashion brands. As we know, Korean collectors are very active, attending art fairs worldwide and acquiring work by international artists. They also have very good private museums. I am curious about how they see and present themselves when they deal with Korean modern and contemporary art.

What’s the best place to get caffeinated before the fair kicks off?

My personal preference would be to have luxury “me time” in my hotel room with a good cup of dripped coffee.

Which Frieze acquisition are you most proud of?

James Turrell. It’s the largest format in Turrell’s ongoing series of glass wall installations begun in 2004. It has now become the jewel of a private cultural park. I am honored to join this special journey with my client to realize her dream.

What’s your best tip for navigating the fair as a first-time attendee?

The first thing is to get a fair map and visit booths in order. Look with your eyes, not your smartphone. Take notes on the map about pieces or galleries that interest you and that you want to visit a second time. A second viewing after you’ve walked through the fair is very important.

Portrait of Ed Tang and Jonathan Cheung courtesy of Art-Bureau.

Jonathan Cheung

Jonathan Cheung started his career in the arts as a collector. In 2021, he co-founded contemporary art advisory Art-Bureau with Ed Tang. Cheung holds down the fort in Hong Kong while Tang works out of New York. Cheung also sits on the Asia-Pacific Acquisition Committee of the Tate and on the Council of Serpentine Galleries, where he was a founding member of the Asian Council.

What are you most excited to see this year?

There is always so much to see. Not to be missed outside the fair are the [Yoshitomo] Nara show at Pace, Lawrence Weiner at the Amorepacific Museum of Art, and the inaugural group exhibition at White Cube.

How many of your clients shop before the doors even open?

A lot of heavy lifting is done prior to the fairs—from sharing the previews with our clients to submitting interest with the galleries. Of course, we always aim to secure the works for them and at times have a reserve until we are able to see it in person on their behalf.

How do you prepare your clients for the fair?

We tend to target the relevant previews to the specific collector, and we cannot understate the importance of a phone call with them.

What’s your best tip for navigating the fair as a first-time attendee?

Enjoy looking and discovering things! It is an art fair at the end of day, so don’t be afraid to ask and inquire about works. As for getting to the fair, make sure you download Kakao, as Google Maps and Uber don’t work in Korea!

Ed Tang

Hong Kong native Ed Tang has worked in the art world for over a decade. Before founding Art-Bureau with Jonathan Cheung, he served as the director of Art Agency Partners in New York and as vice president and director of Global Fine Arts at Sotheby’s New York. He was also recently elected as a trustee of New York’s Noguchi Museum and is a member of the Tate International Council.

What trends will you be on the lookout for?

We don’t exactly look for trends; for us, it’s about being able to see the full breadth of works and spotting the most suitable ones for our clients.

What’s the best place to get caffeinated before the fair kicks off?

The Shilla Hotel in Seoul quite possibly has the best buffet breakfast in the world! Since we usually skip lunch during the opening day of a fair, I’d say fill yourself with food and caffeine in the morning.

What’s a non-fair activity visitors shouldn’t miss in Seoul?

If possible, have at least a day to do things outside of the fair. Seoul has so much to offer—from food to beauty, tourist attractions and nightlife. Kockiri is my favorite bar.