Left With ‘No Choice,’ Frieze Art Fair Organizers Have Cancelled the Event’s 2020 London Edition

The fair will instead take place online in October.

Frieze Art Fair 2019, London, UK. Photo by Linda Nylind.
Frieze Art Fair 2019, London, UK. Photo by Linda Nylind.

Frieze London and Frieze Masters, the annual autumn art fairs that were next due to take place under white tents in Regent’s Park from October 8 to 11, have been cancelled for 2020.

In an email sent to participating galleries today, July 14, fair organizers cited logistical challenges and restrictions on travel and large events as the main motivators behind the decision.

While the UK recently lifted travel restrictions for a handful of non-European countries, visitors from the US must self-quarantine upon arrival to the country for 14 days.

“Sadly, without guidance from the government on events and ongoing complications on travel we had no choice,” a spokesperson told Artnet News.

“We simply cannot ask you to participate in such uncertain conditions,” Victoria Siddall, Frieze’s global director, wrote in the email to exhibitors. “We have no choice but to cancel.”

A spokesperson said the 2021 selection committee would look “favorably” on participants who had already been accepted for 2020, but that everyone would need to reapply for next year’s edition. Luckily for dealers, the deadline for 2020 booth fees had not yet passed, and Frieze says it had not yet incurred major production costs related to the event have not yet been incurred.

It is still unclear what the cancellation of Frieze will mean for satellite fairs such as the 1-54 Contemporary African Art Fair, which takes places at Somerset House.

In lieu of the London events, fair organizers will now focus their energies on the second edition of Frieze’s online viewing rooms, which were first staged in May after the cancellation of Frieze New York.

They will also organize live collateral events in London during the online fair’s run, with details on those plans to be made public in the weeks to come.

The news comes just weeks after the organizers of Art Basel, who had already postponed the Swiss event from June to September, called off the 2020 edition under pressure from many of its galleries.

FIAC, the Paris art fair that takes place annually just after Frieze, is still scheduled for October 22 to 25.

[Update July 15: An earlier version of this article said that no costs had been incurred for the rental of Regent’s Park. This has been corrected. Some costs will be incurred.]


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