A year of travel for contemporary art

Many of Nota Bene Global’s clients are art collectors. They travel throughout the year in pursuit of contemporary art and will often be seen at fairs, gallery shows and major auctions in London and New York.

We focus on where and when to go in the annual art calendar, Basel being the most prestigious fixture of all.  

Later in the year, Italophiles who love fine wines should combine a trip to Artissima, Turin (November 1-3) with white truffles in Piedmonte’s Langhe region. The wineries of Barolo – especially the Cerequio vineyards – Barbera and Barbaresco, as well as the historic town of Alba, with it’s outstanding restaurants, makes for a wonderful fall trip.  

Starting with Miami we take you through the major cities on the annual art calendar and invite you to contact us to plan ahead. To avoid disappointment, especially if you want the finest hotels and most fashionable restaurants, plan ahead now.


We recently returned to Miami to experience some contemporary art on the waterfront at PAMM, the Herzog & de Meuron-designed Pérez Art Museum Miami on Biscayne Boulevard. Constructed over 200,000 square feet, and featuring the beautiful vertical hanging gardens designed by French botanist Patrick Blanc, they have a great programme. Several other contemporary art venues in the city, such as the ICA and the Bass Museum, also have a lot to offer.

But there is a lot more to the contemporary art scene in Miami. Great pioneer and collector names include Craig Robins and Rosa de la Cruz, while other worthwhile public and private collections include the Rubell Family Collection Cisneros Fontanals Art Foundation and the Margulies Collection at the Warehouse in the Wynwood Arts District. One could spend a week in Miami and not get bored.


Serious collectors will come in February for the important contemporary art auction sales and then perhaps again for the Summer Exhibition at the Royal Academy and the Serpentine party, and certainly in fall for Frieze London and Frieze Masters. Otherwise, there are blockbuster shows at Tate Modern, the Whitechapel Gallery and the Barbican.

Of the many commercial galleries in Mayfair and Soho, standouts include David Zwirner on Grafton Street, Marian Goodman on Lower John Street (off Golden Square), Gagosian Grosvenor Hill, and Hauser & Wirth, Savile Row.

Thaddaeus Ropac’s latest outpost, where a Robert Rauschenberg retrospective has recently been on view, is housed in a magnificent period mansion on Dover Street, diagonally across from David Zwirner. After touring the Mayfair galleries, we propose – especially for lovers of Japanese cuisine – one of the nine prized bar-counter seats at The Araki, the finest Japanese restaurant in the city. Head chef Mitsuhiro Araki’s surprise menu at £310 per head (plus sake) is worth every penny.

New York

March kicks off with the major contemporary art auctions, and The Armory Show in Penn Plaza. While there, catch up at MoMa for the Joan Miró and walk the High Line from the Whitney at Gansevoort Street to the galleries of west Chelsea between 21st and 25th streets. Otherwise, go in May for Frieze New York and be in time for the Whitney Biennial which opens on May 17, just in time to follow on from Venice. We love staying both Uptown and Downtown depending on our mood or the time of year. Ask us about our favourite New York hotel penthouses – one is Uptown and the other in Tribeca. Both are unique.


We’re excited that 2019 is the year of the Contemporary Art Biennale, opening on May 11 and running until November. Escape from the party scene and dine at one of the nine tables at the tiny, classic trattoria Osteria Alle Testiere. Come to experience deliciously simple Venetian fish and pasta dishes and an interesting wine list. It’s an old-fashioned ‘no frills’ room but that’s not the point. Alle Testiere is one of the most sought-after restaurants in La Serenissima. Venice books up really fast so be sure to contact us as soon as possible, especially for the best suites, private boats, top curators and the inside track on how to do the parties.


It is difficult to secure accommodation in the small city of Basel during Art Basel, which is arguably the most important and prestigious contemporary art fair of the year. We are generally successful but it’s a tough call! Our advice is to let us arrange a stay in Zurich at the Dolder Grand and enjoy the contemporary comfort in one of our favourite Spa Wing suites. At the end of an action-packed art-viewing day return in a chauffeur-driven Mercedes for a spa treatment and a swim in the beautiful indoor pool.


Breakfast alfresco on the terrace of your suite at one of our favourite grandes dames and enjoy a long late-spring weekend visiting the museums and public galleries. From Musée d’Orsay to Palais de Tokyo, and the commercial galleries of the Haut Marais designer district, there is lots to see throughout the year. Or you could come in October for FIAC, which takes place immediately after Frieze London, and combine this with excellent shopping and dining.

Tel Aviv

Dine at the bar counter at Shila after an afternoon doing Tel Aviv’s art museums and commercial galleries. Take a swim beforehand at one of our two favourite boutique hotels which are located respectively in the White City and Jaffa. If time permits, let us organise a bespoke trip of the Holy Land taking in Jerusalem, the Galilee, Dead Sea and Negev Desert, where a unique new hotel is slated to open this year in an exceptional location. We’ll be previewing it as soon as an opening date has been confirmed.

Photo courtesy of Amit Geron

Hong Kong

We love the panorama of Central and Victoria Harbour from one of the corner window tables at Café Gray Deluxe, at The Upper House, our favourite boutique hotel in the city. March hosts Art Basel Hong Kong with many important commercial galleries taking part. Combine your visit with an extended trip incorporating Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam. It would also work well with Shanghai, Beijing, the Great Wall and Mongolia.


The 16th Istanbul Biennial takes place this year and will be curated by Nicolas Bourriaud, the co-founder of Palais de Tokyo, Paris. It opens on 14 September. Turkey promises a travel renaissance after several years of turmoil, with many clients wanting to return. We recommend at least three nights in the city followed by taking a gulet off the coast of Bodrum to cruise the Turkish Riviera. September is the perfect month for Turkey, which also combines well with the Dodecanese islands of the eastern Aegean, notably Patmos and Symi.

And so the year in contemporary art continues, yet we haven’t even touched on such important art cities as Los Angeles and Berlin, neither of which should be overlooked. Los Angeles for its diverse range of private galleries, as well as important public spaces, including LACMA (Los Angeles County Museum of Art) and The Broad. And Berlin for an altogether edgier European experience with many excellent private galleries in both our favourite neighbourhoods of Mitte and Charlottenberg.

It may not be a fixture on the annual art calendar but travellers to Bangkok should not miss MOCA. First port of call on our current travel schedule across SE Asia we start in Thailand’s capital before continuing to Laos and Cambodia.

Last but by no means least, African art is ‘hot’ and Africa is one of the world’s most sought-after destinations. Whichever part of this vast continent you decide to visit, try to incorporate a few days in Cape Town and Johannesburg where the contemporary art galleries include many of Africa’s most exciting artists in their programme.

It is hard work being an art aficionado. It’s even harder being a collector. But it’s a very special world and at times feels like a private club.

If you want to be part of the fun and the culture, and need it all meticulously planned, come and talk to us. It is one of our passions and we know it well. ‘We know where.’