Frieze today named Patrick Lee the director of its new art fair in Seoul, which launches next September. Details of the event, Frieze’s first in Asia, are yet to be confirmed, but Lee expects around 100 galleries to participate, covering both contemporary and historical art.
Currently the executive director of Seoul’s longest-running gallery, Hyundai, Lee says there is a “long history of collecting culture” in the South Korean capital, but also thinks a new generation of collectors are shaking things up. “They’re young, they’re hungry, they’re open to learning. There’s a lot of money in Seoul and that collecting culture is trickling down through the generations,” he says.
Historically, Lee says the country’s commercial sector has been relatively under-developed. “Public support for art is very strong—commercial galleries probably remain the weakest link,” he says. But with an influx of international galleries, that is fast changing.
Lee sees the current moment as ripe for launching an art fair in Seoul. “The groundwork is now in place—art schools, private museums and public museums have come together and gelled at the right time,” he says.