Frieze New York Will Compensate Galleries Amid Complaints That Sweltering Heat Dampened Sales

Frieze is planning "radical change" to deal with the extreme weather conditions that often plague the fair.

Almine Rech. Photo: Henri Neuendorf.

Frieze Art Fair has pledged to compensate exhibitors who participated in its recent New York edition after dealers complained that the soaring temperatures inside the tent on Randall’s Island had a negative impact on sales.

Victoria Siddall, the director of the Frieze fairs, issued a formal apology to participants last Saturday in an email obtained by Artsy and announced that the fair planned to offer “some compensation to every participating gallery.” She promised that organizers would “be in touch shortly after the fair” with additional details.

Speaking to the Art Newspaper, a spokesman for Frieze confirmed that reimbursement would be issued, adding that “the details have yet to be finalized, but the commitment has been made.” Frieze spokespeople did not immediately respond to inquiries from artnet News about how much galleries would be compensated and how and when the funds would be distributed.

The unseasonal skyrocketing temperatures caused some collectors to leave early; exhibitors said the conditions discouraged other clients from attending altogether. One dealer estimated that “probably millions of dollars were lost” on the first day due to the heat.

“I checked the forecast on my phone a week ago and saw that it was going to be hot,” another dealer who traveled from abroad to attend the fair told artnet News on the second day. “They just have to get it right.” (A Frieze representative has said that the fair, which upgraded its climate control system this year, kept the AC running for the duration of the heat wave but the rising temperatures were unavoidable.)

Mother Nature has not been kind to Frieze New York, which held its seventh edition from May 2 to May 6 in a newly designed tent. This year’s fiasco came after torrential rains caused the fair to temporarily shut down last year and made it difficult for visitors to get to or from Randall’s Island, which is situated on New York’s East River.

In her email, Siddall told exhibitors: “We know we need a radical change to take into account the extreme weather conditions we are seeing and to create the best possible setting for the fair.”

Follow Artnet News on Facebook:

Want to stay ahead of the art world? Subscribe to our newsletter to get the breaking news, eye-opening interviews, and incisive critical takes that drive the conversation forward.