Frieze New York Will Shrink in 2017

Fair organizers want to be "less demanding on the galleries participating."

Frieze New York. Courtesy Frieze New York.

In recent months, the art market has been beset by economic jitters, with Brexit only adding to the uncertainty. Any sign of how the art industry’s far-flung corners are coping is sure to be closely scrutinized. Thus, the announcement that next year’s Frieze New York is shrinking by a day is sure to be taken as a sign, though of what, exactly, it is not clear.

In an email, the fair organizers report: “[W]e have shortened the fair from five days to four days, which should create a very focused and dynamic event that is less demanding on the galleries participating.”

Official dates now for the 2017 fair are May 5­ to 7, with the all-important preview on Thursday, May 4.

The continuous art-fair calendar is a well-known burden on art galleries, with smaller and mid-sized spaces suffering the most. In addition, complaints have been rife that Frieze New York, sited on Randall’s Island, is mainly quiet for most of its run.

“It’s incontrovertibly true that Frieze New York is a one-day fair,” dealer Sean Kelly told artnet News’s Brian Boucher earlier this year.

The fair is also acting to make participation more economical by “reducing stand fees for galleries,” a move the organizers themselves call “unprecedented.” The online application deadline for participation is in less than a month, on July 29.

The announcement from Frieze explains that cutting prices is “a response to the needs of galleries and also thanks to new partnerships and strategies around the fair.”

What does this mean? Victoria Siddall, director of the Frieze fairs, sent the following comment expanding on the logic behind the changes:

Every decision we make about the Frieze fairs takes into account the best interests of the galleries and how to make the fairs as successful as possible for them. I am thrilled that we have been able to take the unprecedented step of reducing the cost of Frieze New York for galleries in 2017, thanks to both long-standing and recent partnerships we have formed.

In an economic environment in which most fairs are raising their stand prices, I am very happy that we can make Frieze New York increasingly accessible to our galleries by passing on some of the benefit of the support of our partners to them.

We are also shortening the fair from five to four days in 2017. After five years, we have gained a nuanced understanding of the dynamics of this particular fair and market. Frieze New York saw record attendance throughout the week in 2016 and I am confident we can deliver the same if not even better results for exhibitors over four days, while allowing them to spend more of their time in their galleries.

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