With the Future of Art Fairs in Question, Frieze Will Rent Out a Long-Term Gallery Space in London

Frieze will now indefinitely occupy a Mayfair townhouse.

Frieze is signing a long-term lease with London's Cork Street Galleries in Mayfair. Photo courtesy of Cork Street Galleries.

As in-person art fairs continue to face an uncertain future, Frieze is pivoting a long-term gallery space in London.

Frieze piloted the idea of operating a gallery during its scaled-down October fair in London, where it presented Frieze Live at 9a and 9b Cork Street in Mayfair—the same location it will now lease permanently.

With the new venture, Frieze hopes “to create a space for ambitious exhibition projects,” a representative told Artnet News, adding that it will release further information “in the forthcoming months.”

An architect is on board to overhaul the townhouse, and Frieze has submitted planning applications for the upcoming work, according to the Art Newspaper. The two neighboring spaces measure 2,135 square feet and 4,324 square feet.

Installation by Anthea Hamilton. Frieze Live 2020. Courtesy Frieze London.

Installation by Anthea Hamilton. Frieze Live 2020. Courtesy Frieze London.

The move to establish a permanent space for Frieze, which runs art fairs in London, New York, and Los Angeles, and publishes an art magazine, stands in contrast to the current trend of London galleries jettisoning expensive long-term leases for more flexible arrangements.

Veteran gallerist Marian Goodman, for instance, is closing her London outpost to instead host exhibitions throughout the city. And Cromwell Place in South Kensington is offering a new short-term exhibition model for galleries looking for affordable, temporary spaces.

Cork Street was home to several Frieze Week gallery pop ups, including from Lisson and Sadie Coles HQ, which have extended their leases for another year with the realtor that operates Cork Street Galleries. The street’s galleries are planning to hold late night hours, until 8 p.m., on December 15.

Last month, Frieze announced that it would be moving the dates of its upcoming Los Angles edition from February to July, and eschewing the crowded tent at Paramount Studios for a variety of venues across the city. In May, Frieze New York will trade its usual Randall’s Island home for the Sheda cultural center on Manhattan’s West Side that can hold just 60 exhibitors, compared to the typical 200.

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