10 Galleries That Had a Breakout Year in 2023

Art Market

Maxwell Rabb

Dec 18, 2023 1:00PM

Igi Lola Ayedun, installation view of “Eclosão de um Sonho, Uma Fantasia” at HOA, 2023. Courtesy of HOA.

This year, commercial galleries around the world navigated uncharted territory in a shaky year for the art market. Like many businesses, galleries have been susceptible to the uncertainties of an economy shadowed by a persistent threat of recession. The art market has not been insulated from these issues, which have affected both the primary and secondary markets.

In spite of this tricky climate, several galleries have blossomed in 2023, both in their local communities and by making waves internationally at art fairs around the world.

Here, we rounded up 10 emerging galleries that have made significant breakthroughs this year.

Based in: London

Known for: Showing breakthrough artists such as Harminder Judge and Li Hei Di

2023 highlights: Winning the Frieze Stand Prize in London for its debut booth

Adam Farah-Saad, installation view of Public Gallery’s booth at Frieze London, 2023. Courtesy of Public Gallery.


This year marked an impressive Frieze London debut for East London’s Public Gallery. There, the gallery won the Frieze Focus Stand Prize and was granted the Frieze Tate Fund, resulting in four of its works being acquired for the Tate’s prestigious national collection.

The gallery’s dynamic program has featured artists like Artsy Vanguard artists Harminder Judge and Li Hei Di, as well as rising artists such as Amanda Baldwin and Michaela Yearwood-Dan. Upcoming highlights for the gallery include Steph Huang’s solo booth at Art Basel Hong Kong.

Based in: Paris

Known for: A groundbreaking program at the heart of Paris’s thriving contemporary art scene

2023 highlights: Standout shows from artists like Molly Greene

Molly Greene, installation view of “Very Much Alive” at cadet capela, 2023. Photo by Thomas Marron. Courtesy of the artist and cadet capela.

cadet capela was founded in 2018 with a mission to support emerging artists and encourage “off-trail” art practices. Its role, with two gallery spaces in Paris’s 3rd arrondissement, has become vital to shaping and enriching the city’s contemporary art scene.

During Paris+ par Art Basel, the gallery hosted a standout exhibition from Molly Greene, which followed several solo exhibitions from emerging artists Nadia Ayari, Kwong Wing-kwan, and Blake Daniels. Above all, the gallery has prioritized featuring younger artists with significantly different backgrounds to create a highly diverse and dynamic program in the heart of Paris.

Based in: Lagos

Known for: Uplifting a burgeoning contemporary art scene in Lagos

2023 highlights: Global presence at Untitled Art Fair, Abu Dhabi Art, Frieze Masters, and more

Ngozi-Omeje Ezema, installation view of “Boundless Vases” at kó, 2023. Courtesy of the artist and kó.

Founded in 2020 by Kavita Chellaram, an art collector and founder of Arthouse Contemporary in Lagos, Nigeria, has emerged as a key gallery in the city’s vibrant art scene, where it was one of 10 galleries selected to take part in this year’s Art x Lagos.

In 2023, the gallery has continued to make its mark globally by introducing a diverse and intergenerational range of African artists at art fairs across the world. This year, kó showed standout presentations at Untitled Art Fair, 1-54 New York, Abu Dhabi Art, Frieze Masters, and The Armory Show; at the latter, it hosted a solo presentation with Modupeola Fadugba. By putting Nigerian artists on the international stage, kó is helping platform its local community and its artists, including 29-year-old Joseph Obanubi, last featured in the gallery’s Untitled booth.

Based in: New York

Known for: Showcasing some of New York City’s buzziest artists

2023 highlights: Standout gallery shows from Melissa Joseph and Olivia Jia

Kris Lemsalu, installation view of “Peace at 295 Church Street” at Margot Samel, 2022. Photo by Dawn Blackman. Courtesy of Margot Samel.

In 2022, Margot Samel left her position as senior director of GRIMM to launch her self-titled gallery in Tribeca. Less than two years after opening its doors, the New York gallery has hosted some of the year’s buzziest shows downtown, including Melissa Joseph’s “Irish Exit” and Olivia Jia’s “Perimeter.”

The gallery already has tongues wagging in the art world more broadly, thanks to a handful of notable appearances at major fair moments. This year, the gallery participated in Basel Social Club and hosted a group exhibition at NADA Miami, featuring the work of Narcissister, August Krogan-Roley, and the late Leroy Johnson.

Rose Easton

Based in: London

Known for: Immersive exhibitions that challenge traditional gallery formats

2023 highlights: Buzzy art exhibitions that have caught the public eye

Installation view of “Edge of Fashion” at Rose Easton, 2023. Courtesy of Rose Easton.

Founded by former fashion creative director Rose Easton in 2021, this East London gallery has rapidly made a name for itself with daring multidisciplinary exhibitions that blur the lines between art, fashion, and eroticism.

Easton’s gallery has become a hub for transformative and inventive exhibitions, with shows including Arlette’s “José” and Louis Morlæ’s “Machinochrome Dreams,” which have taken over its entire gallery space to create immersive experiences.

The gallery opened its 2023 programming with a group exhibition, “On the edge of fashion,” held in tandem with London Fashion Week, where artists positioned fashion as a medium for resistance. The show caught the attention of a global fashion audience, highlighting the gallery’s cross-disciplinary appeal.

Based in: São Paulo

Known for: Championing a new generation of artists in a vibrant art capital

2023 highlights: Strong booths at Frieze London, Artissima, Miart, and ARCO MADRID

Igi Lola Ayedun, installation view of “Eclosão de um Sonho, Uma Fantasia” at HOA, 2023. Courtesy of HOA.

After nearly a decade in Paris’s fashion industry, Igi Lola Ayedun returned to Brazil and was captivated by São Paulo’s burgeoning art scene, particularly in its growing recognition of Black Brazilian artists. Ayedum—herself an artist at the forefront of abstraction—opened HOA in 2020 to provide a platform for these emerging voices, launching the first Black-owned art gallery in Brazil.

HOA’s network of artists now numbers more than 40, and this year, the gallery has made international waves with a number of talked-about appearances at art fairs worldwide. Its first booth at Frieze London featured works from ultra-contemporary Brazilian artists Mariana Rocha and Laís Amaral, which was met with acclaim, as was its booth at Artissima in Turin, which grouped three Brazilian artists of different cultural backgrounds: Renan Aguenna, Caroline Ricca Lee, and Rafaela Kennedy. Throughout the year, the gallery has dedicated its exhibition space to uplifting young and underrepresented artists hailing from across Brazil.

Based in: Cape Town

Known for: Its sharp eye for spotting emerging talent

2023 highlights: Top fair booths at Paris+ and Art Basel Hong Kong

Installation view of “Back in Town” at SMAC Gallery, Church Street, Cape Town CBD, 2023. Photo by Lauren Theunissen. Courtesy of SMAC.

First established in 2007 before opening its Cape Town flagship in 2011, SMAC made several memorable impressions on the international art scene in 2023. The gallery participated in more than 10 art fairs this year, including Paris+ par Art Basel and Art Basel Hong Kong, where it ranked among Artsy’s top booths.

In Hong Kong, the gallery presented work from Wallen Mapondera, a member of The Artsy Vanguard in 2021 who also represented Zimbabwe at the 59th Venice Biennale. This year, the gallery has worked to platform several standout South African artists, including Bonolo Kavula and Mary Sibande. It closed out the year by opening a new location in Cape Town City Centre.

Based in: Antwerp

Known for: A cutting-edge program devoted to conceptualism and narrative approaches

2023 highlights: Much talked-about international appearances in South Korea and London

Madeleine Bialke, installation view of “Death Motel” at Newchild Gallery, 2023. Courtesy of Newchild Gallery.

Antwerp’s Newchild Gallery—founded in 2020 by Diego Castaño, Chandler Noah, and Sarah Vanwelden—has quietly developed an exceptional roster of ultra-contemporary artists, including Swedish painter Viktor Mattsson and Brooklyn-based painter Madeleine Bialke.

This year at KIAF in Seoul, the gallery showcased a solo exhibition of Bialke, whose meditative canvases, inspired by her parents’ farm in Trumansburg, New York, attracted significant interest from local collectors. The gallery has seen significant success among its younger artists, additionally collaborating with Frieze No.9 Cork Street this summer to present new work from Ella McVeigh and Konstantina Krikzoni.

Based in: Braga and Seoul

Known for: A sharply curated roster that blends established and emerging artists

2023 highlights: Opening second gallery space in Seoul

Exterior view of Duarte Sequeira, Braga, 2023. © Hugo Araujo. Courtesy of Duarte Sequei

Gallerist Duarte Sequeira was raised on art, spending his childhood amid the green landscapes of his family’s 25-acre gallery space in Braga, Portugal. In 2019, Sequeira took over the space, renaming it Duarte Sequeira, and has since been infusing new life into the gallery, which has rapidly become an attraction for tourists and locals in its own right.

The young gallerist’s curatorial vision has set the gallery on a remarkable trajectory. He opened a Seoul outpost last year and a second one in the Korean capital this summer, consolidating its rapid growth. The gallery’s roster is stacked with emerging artists such as Nell Brookfield, alongside notable names like Julian Opie and André Butzer; the latter’s solo exhibition at the gallery’s Braga headquarters was one of the most talked-about shows of the year.

Based in: Seoul

Known for: Vivid reimaginings on how a commercial art space functions in the contemporary art world

2023 highlights: Winning the Frieze Seoul Stand Prize

Interior view of CYLINDER TWO, 2023. Courtesy of CYLINDER.

Originally established in 2020 by Dooyong Ro as a personal showroom, CYLINDER has rapidly evolved into a dynamic exhibition space that is making waves in Seoul’s youthful and vibrant gallery scene. The gallery is dedicated to nurturing young artists in South Korea through its TORQUE program, providing opportunities and resources for undergraduate artists. In May, the gallery expanded to a second location in the city, where it hosted Jonghwan Lee’s solo exhibition “HYPERCUBE.”

CYLINDER achieved recognition on the international stage in September when it received the 2023 Frieze Seoul Stand Prize for its solo presentation of Sinae Yoo.

Maxwell Rabb

Maxwell Rabb is Artsy’s Staff Writer.

Clarification: This article has been updated to include additional information about SMAC’s Cape Town location. It also also been updated to remove a mention of artist Emily Kraus from the list of artists represented by Duarte Sequeira.

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