Meet Pauline Loeb, Founder of artfairmag

Pauline Loeb takes us on a journey through her daily routines, the evolution of artfairmag from a side project to a full-time commitment, and the significant role Instagram plays in complementing the platform's core mission.

Meet Pauline Loeb, Founder of artfairmag
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Pauline Loeb at FAB art fair in Paris. Courtesy artfairmag.
Pauline Loeb, the mastermind behind, sat down with us to discuss her insights and inspirations. She took us behind the scenes of the art world, shared her daily routines, and the unique way artfairmag compiles international fairs information.
As we delve into the growth of artfairmag, Pauline reflects on pivotal moments, underscoring the platform's transformative journey from an informative to a promotional tool.
Discover how artfairmag has become an indispensable tool for art enthusiasts and professionals, enabling them to stay on top of all art fairs happening worldwide.
ARTSVP: What inspired you to launch artfairmag?
Pauline Loeb: My journey to founding artfairmag began with a pivotal life change – moving to London after an enriching 8-year tenure at Galerie Kugel, arguably the world's foremost antique dealers. This transition coincided with a new chapter in my personal life, becoming a mother. The decision not to return to gallery work was driven by my longstanding fascination and attraction to art fairs. I noticed a gap in the market: there was no comprehensive calendar listing all these vibrant, diverse art fairs. The idea of creating such a resource was not only appealing but seemed almost necessary. It was a unique opportunity to blend my professional expertise with a personal passion, addressing a clear need in the art community. Thus, artfairmag was born – out of a desire to innovate, inform, and connect the art world in a way that hadn't been done before.
ARTSVP: Can you walk us through a typical day as the founder of artfairmag?
PL: As the founder of artfairmag, the concept of a 'typical day' is somewhat elusive, given the dynamic nature of my role. My days are invariably packed and diverse, reflecting the vibrant world of art that I immerse myself in. A significant portion of my time is spent on the move, visiting art fairs and gallery exhibitions, which have now become a core part of our coverage.
Each day brings about a hundred messages, ranging from inquiries to collaborations, all of which require my attention and response. Writing is another crucial part of my day – from scripting video content to crafting 'Pauline's columns', a curated newsletter where I share my experiences, insights, and favorites from the fairs I've attended.
Behind the scenes, there's a constant effort to organize interviews, both virtual and in-person, ensuring we bring diverse and engaging voices to our audience. Additionally, maintaining the website, especially keeping the art fair calendar up-to-date, is a task that demands regular attention.
My workday typically pauses at 4:30 PM for a very important personal commitment – picking up my children from school and daycare. However, the day doesn't end there. Once the kids are tucked in bed, I often find myself dedicating another hour or two to artfairmag, wrapping up the day's tasks or planning for the next. This rhythm, though hectic, allows me to balance my professional passion with my personal life, each enriching the other.
Pauline Loeb at ST-ART art fair in Strasbourg. Courtesy artfairmag.
Pauline Loeb at ST-ART art fair in Strasbourg. Courtesy artfairmag.
ARTSVP: When did artfairmag change from a side project to a full time role?
PL: The evolution of artfairmag from a side project to my full-time commitment was a gradual but definitive journey. Initially, alongside artfairmag, I was engaged in consulting roles, advising galleries on their positioning and strategies for art fair participation. However, the task of building artfairmag's website and compiling a comprehensive database of art fairs was both time-consuming and intricate.
It took me about two years to reach a point where I was truly satisfied with the outcome. This milestone marked a significant shift in my professional focus. It was then that I decided to dedicate myself entirely to artfairmag.
The expansion of my role included starting to conduct interviews with fair directors and gallerists, who I consider the pulsating heart of the art fairs. This step was crucial in transforming artfairmag into a more dynamic and interactive platform, offering insights and perspectives directly from the industry's key players. It was this deep dive into the art community that solidified artfairmag's position as a full-time endeavor and a significant player in the art world.
ARTSVP: What do you believe has facilitated the growth of Artfairmag?
PL: A pivotal moment in the growth of artfairmag was when I began collaborating with Dr. Clare McAndrew on the Art Basel & UBS Global Art Market Report. Dr. McAndrew had been utilizing the artfairmag database for some time, recognizing its comprehensive coverage and depth. This led to her formally inviting me to become her 'art fair expert,' contributing not just data but also insights and perspectives on various aspects of the art market.
Our professional relationship quickly evolved into a friendship, which I cherish deeply. Dr. McAndrew is a figure of immense respect and admiration in the art world, and working closely with her has been both an honor and a significant learning experience.
This collaboration played a crucial role in establishing my credibility among key players in the art market. It wasn't just about providing data; it was about offering a nuanced understanding of the art fair landscape, which is a vital component of the global art market. This partnership with Dr. McAndrew highlighted artfairmag's value and expertise, significantly enhancing our visibility and reputation in the art community.
ARTSVP: How significant is Instagram for artfairmag, and has it played a pivotal role in transforming your platform from an informative tool to a promotional one?
PL: Instagram has indeed become an indispensable channel for artfairmag, but it's important to clarify its role in our broader strategy. While Instagram offers a fantastic platform for visibility and engagement, it complements rather than defines our core mission.
The artfairmag website and Instagram operate in harmony, offering a consistent experience to our audience. While the website largely mirrors the visual and dynamic content from my Instagram account, it stands out with its comprehensive art fair calendar. This calendar is a key feature, providing a valuable and unique resource for art enthusiasts and professionals alike. Thus, even though Instagram is a powerful communication tool, the website remains an essential pillar of artfairmag, enriching our offering with detailed and specific information.
I don't see myself as an 'Instagrammer' in the traditional sense. My presence on the platform is not solely about promotion; it's about storytelling, sharing experiences, and engaging with the art community in a dynamic way. Yes, Instagram has been instrumental in supporting my livelihood, but it's just one piece of a larger puzzle. It's the synergy between Instagram, our website, and newsletters that truly encapsulates the essence of artfairmag.
Courtesy artfairmag.
Courtesy artfairmag.
ARTSVP: What do you consider the most crucial aspects to cover for an art fair?
PL: Covering an art fair is not just about relaying information; it's about sparking curiosity and interest in the audience. The most crucial aspect, in my view, is to evoke a sense of intrigue and desire in people to learn more and, ultimately, to visit the fair themselves. This involves going beyond the basic facts and delving into what makes each fair unique and exciting.
Curating content is also essential. Rather than merely echoing the press releases, I focus on showcasing my personal tastes and experiences. This approach allows me to offer a more authentic and engaging perspective. By sharing my own reactions and favorites, I aim to provide a more relatable and humanized view of the art fair experience. It's about creating a connection between the event and the audience, making the art world more accessible and inviting.
ARTSVP: How do you balance running a new exciting project and other aspects of your life?
PL: Balancing my deep passion for artfairmag with my family life is undoubtedly the most challenging part of this journey. If left to my passion alone, I would spend my life hopping from one train to another, chasing art fairs around the globe. However, with two children and a husband I adore, being constantly on the move is not an option I'm willing to embrace.
I often have to make tough choices, forgoing visits to far-flung fairs to ensure I'm present for my family. A typical day involves me being at my daughter's school by 4:30 PM before picking up my little boy from daycare. Once home, I have a ritual: my phone goes into a 'phone box', the computer shuts down, and for the next three hours, my husband and I dedicate ourselves entirely to family time. Our couple's time usually follows, although it often gets pushed back by an hour or two due to our respective work commitments. It's a delicate balance, one that I'm constantly navigating. Looking back, I can't help but think how different, and perhaps simpler, this project would have been a decade ago. But today, these choices define not just my professional journey but also the richness of my personal life.
ARTSVP: What is the most rewarding aspect of running artfairmag?
PL: The most fulfilling aspect of running artfairmag is, without a doubt, the constant immersion in the world of art. Being in close contact with artworks, engaging with dealers, artists, and collectors who speak about art with such passion, is incredibly enriching. Each interaction, each story, adds a new layer to my understanding and appreciation of art.
Additionally, the encouraging and positive feedback from my community is immensely gratifying. To know that my work is not only recognized but also valued is a great reward. I often receive comments about how I make art more accessible to people. This is exactly what I aim for with artfairmag – to demystify the art world, to bring it closer to people, and to spark a similar passion for art in others. Knowing that I'm contributing to this, making art more approachable and relatable, is deeply satisfying and motivates me to continue this journey.
ARTSVP: What exciting developments do you foresee on the horizon for artfairmag and the global art community?
PL: As we look to the future, my vision for artfairmag is to continue positioning it as a dynamic, fresh voice at the heart of the art market. We're currently in the process of revamping our website to ensure our message is clearer and our content is showcased more effectively and cohesively. This redesign is about enhancing user experience and making our rich content even more accessible and engaging.
Interviews are another area where we're planning significant expansion. Whether it's remote interviews, like the recent one I did with video artist and photographer Shirin Neshat, or in-person discussions, like my conversation with contemporary art dealer Kamel Mennour, I find this format incredibly effective for diving deep into nuanced topics. Interviews offer a unique opportunity to explore the art world from the perspectives of those who shape it.
I have a plethora of ideas for future interviews, covering a wide range of subjects and personalities within the art world. So, there's a lot to look forward to – stay tuned for more insightful, in-depth conversations that delve into the heart of the art community. These developments are just a glimpse of what's in store for artfairmag, as we continue to evolve and grow alongside the vibrant global art scene.
ARTSVP: Will you be in Miami next week? Which events would you advise to check out?
PL: Yes, I will be in Miami, but only for a quick 48-hour. Based on my experience from last year, I can recommend a few not-to-miss events :
Art Basel Miami Beach is, of course, a key destination. It's almost the most important art fair of the year.
NADA is another event I thoroughly enjoyed, especially for its varied yet precise artistic proposition, even though it was super crowded during the vernissage.
UNTITLED, Art, set in a tent on the sands of Miami Beach, is visually stunning and offers a diverse range of art mediums. It's an experience that truly stands out.
SCOPE Art Show, while I found it less interesting in terms of its positioning, might still be worth a visit for those exploring the full spectrum of the Miami art scene.
Finally, if time allows, INK MIAMI is a unique experience. Dedicated to works on paper, it's hosted in a hotel, offering a charming and intimate setting. It's also open to everyone and free, making it an accessible and enjoyable visit. I love it!

Follow Pauline’s page on Instragram if you’d like to stay updated on art fairs and their exhibitors!

Written by

Rosita Mariella
Rosita Mariella

Rosita is an art historian and researcher based in Madrid. She’s been working in the art market since 2015, for galleries and collections based in London, until she joined ARTSVP in 2021.