Frieze New York kicks off and is the first art fair in the US to take place since the beginning of the pandemic

May 5, 2021

Frieze New York bravely yet cautiously opened its doors today at its new venue, The Shed in Manhattan’s Hudson Yards, and runs through to Sunday May 9th.

This year the fair, as ever, brings together galleries from all over the world, yet with a reduced number of 60 exhibitors onsite in comparison to the typical 190 that turn up to Randall’s Island.

‘This is a time for creativity, flexibility and collaboration, all of which have led us to an exciting opportunity to hold a smaller fair at The Shed, alongside Frieze Viewing Room online that will connect galleries and audiences all over the world,’ says Victoria Siddall, Frieze Art Fairs’ global director

The “Frame” section of the fair returns, overseen this year by gallerists Olivia Barrett (of Chatêau Shatto in Los Angeles) and Sophie Mörner (of Company Gallery in New York), returns; dedicated to young galleries and emerging artists that have been in operation for less than ten years, from Shanghai, Lisbon, Bogota, Los Angeles and New York.

Frieze Viewing Room and its rich programme of virtual “collaborations, special projects and talks,” will run alongside the physical fair for those unable to attend in person, with 160 galleries from all over the world (including those at the Shed) exhibiting virtually. (The 2019 fair, the last at Randalls Island, featured around 190 galleries.)

Representational justice will be the common thread throughout the fair, with more than 50 galleries and institutions paying tribute to the Vision & Justice Project, an initiative established by Harvard professor Sarah Lewis “to expand visual literacy and explore the connection between race, citizenship, and image making.” 

New York-based multidisciplinary artist Precious Okoyomon is the winner of this year’s Frieze Artist Award, he presents an ambitious commission at the fair, supported by the Luma Foundation, a performance-activated installation conceived specifically for The Shed. The performance will be filmed and streamed online from the fair’s opening date for viewers around the world to experience.

Other highlights this year include new paintings and sculptures by Dana Schutz, courtesy of David Zwirner; three works by the French artist Daniel Buren, courtesy of Lisson Gallery; important assemblages by Thornton Dial, courtesy of David Lewis; and new commissions from Carrie Mae Weems and Hank Willis Thomas for the Vision & Justice Project tribute.

“The Looking Glass”—a group show curated by Daniel Birnbaum, artistic director of Acute Art, and Emma Enderby, curator of The Shed—will present “augmented reality works” by Precious Okoyomon, Cao Fei, and Kaws.


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