NEWD's co-founder shares how he navigates art fairs around the world

Kibum Kim, co-founder of NEWD Art Show – Roomorama blog

City guides: Tulum, Dubai, Miami, Maastricht and Los Angeles

Kibum Kim is a lawyer who teaches art law and business at the Sothebys Institute of Art in New York. He is the co-founder of NEWD, an annual art fair in Bushwick that showcases alternative galleries. Working closely together with his co-founder Kate Bryan, NEWD mainly showcases artist-run spaces, project spaces and nonprofits who work with emerging talented artists.

What kind of traveler are you?

I think my travel philosophy has evolved over the years. In my 20s, I used to be a real travelphile who loved traveling to new places - assiduously conducting a ton of research to suss out all the notable sites and hot spots. Usually, I will also run myself ragged in order to see and experience as much as possible. These days, I prefer traveling to familiar places to visit friends and I let them tell me what to do.

What is your favourite destination to date and why?

I love Tulum. The first time I went to Tulum was ten years ago. Since then, it has undergone a lot of changes and development but I feel that it has still retained its chill vibe. The powdery sand beaches, iridescent aquamarine water, cute little bungalows on the beach and margaritas & fish tacos - I want to go to there!

Can you tell us where to eat, drink, party there?


Las Estrellas sells great food with a Moroccan touch.

Hartwood has a farm-to-table menu in a lovely outdoor setting.

Hartwood Pictured above: Hartwood (credit: Julia Millay Walsh)

Also, don't forget the roadside taco stands in town for late-night tortas!

Drink and party

Gitano Pictured above: Gitano (credit: Gitano)

Gitano is a chic bar/restaurant in a jungle.

Papaya Playa Project for partying on the beach!

What are some art fairs you've been to?

I have been to Frieze NY and the Armory in New York. I've also been to Art Basel Miami Beach, Art Dubai, TEFAF in Maastricht, and Art Los Angeles Contemporary.

Frieze NY Art Dubai Art Los Angeles Contemporary

Pictured above: Frieze NY (credit: Spencer Platt), Art Dubai (credit: Oylum Yüksel), Art Los Angeles Contemporary (credit: Julie Pepin Photography)

At each of those fairs, what are some notable places to visit and to see/do?


The Alserkal gallery district in Dubai is great and has many great programs like Green Art Gallery and Gallery Isabelle van den Eynde.

If you're going for the first time, I think you have to visit the malls in Dubai. They're so excessive that it is difficult to even form a critical opinion. There are giant aquariums, ski slopes, and branches of shops and restaurants from all over the world - including Shake Shack in New York and Angelina from Paris. It's random, crazy and just amazing!

Green Art Gallery

Pictured above: Green Art Gallery (credit: myartguides)

Los Angeles:

The art scene in Downtown LA is very exciting right now with 356 Mission, the Box, and the upcoming mega Hauser & Wirth. The Hammer Museum is my favourite museum in LA. I hang out mostly in east LA. I love Sqirl for their toast and coffee, Speranza for fresh pasta, Pine & Crane for Taiwanese.

356 Mission Sqirl Pine & Crane

Pictured above: 356 Mission (credit: Laura Owens), Sqirl (credit: Maria Ana), Pine & Crane (credit: D. Galarza)


I think the private collections are always a highlight during Basel Miami: the Rubell Collection, de la Cruz, and Marguiles. I love The Standard in Miami - close to everything but more relaxed than the beachside hot spots. We held an event for NEWD at the Broken Shaker at the Freehand, which has a bit of a Brooklyn vibe/spirit in Miami. Tap Tap has great Haitian food; Yardbird for fried chicken. At some point in Miami, I'll end up at Club Deuce, Twist, and Sandbar.

Yardbird Club Deuce

Pictured above: Yardbird (credit: So-Min Kang/ teNeues Digital Media GmbH), Club Deuce (credit: Edgewater)


It is a beautiful, old, rather sleepy little town - lovely for aimless strolls. There is this one store called PL-Line that carries great designers; I have lucked out with great purchases at 70% off. Bonnefantenmuseum is worth a visit. Selexyz bookstore is housed in a centuries-old church and truly spectacular.


Pictured above: PL-Line (credit: PL-Line)

Can you share your art fair strategy? How do you best make use of your time when you go?

I wish I knew... There is just so much going on during art fair weeks - the main fair, satellite fairs, all their mobbed previews, talks programs, gallery openings, museum events, dinners, and parties. It always feels like you're forgetting or missing out on something. I think you just have to come to terms with the fact that you won't sleep much, have time to eat (grab every canapé that comes your way), and still not do everything you wish to do. Some of the more obvious things I'd recommend are comfortable shoes, outfits which you can stay out in (going back to hotel to change often doesn't work out), and snacks in your bag.

Oh, and never commit to a purchase without getting the opinion of a trusted friend. By design, art fair frenzy results in lots of impulsive decisions. Most dealers will hold a work for you for at least half an hour. That's not necessarily enough time to digest a work, but take that time and see if your opinion about the work holds up.

What are 3 personal art meccas you'd like to visit in the next few years?

  1. I have not yet been to Art Basel in Basel (sounds redundant but there are Art Basels in Miami and Hong Kong).
  2. I would love to do a road trip and cover Marfa and land art like the Spiral Jetty, the Lightning Field, Sun Tunnels, etc.
  3. I have heard great things about Mexico City and hope to visit very soon.

What are some of your must dos when you travel to a new place?

I try to visit museums, local galleries, and schedule a couple studio visits to get a feel for the art scene. Of course, I always try to eat as much delicious things as possible and dance it off anywhere they'll let me! I'm a recovering shopaholic, but there are relapses...

What are your 5 travel essentials?

  1. Water spritzers for the face (I'm not sure they actually do anything but it feels nice on flights)
  2. A sleeping mask
  3. Eye drops
  4. Versatile black sneakers (which I can get away with in both work and play)
  5. Versatile black jeans (which I can get away with in both work and play)

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