The Frieze New York tent at Randalls Island in New York. Photo: Timothy A. Clary/AFP/Getty Images.

It’s been a month since the first two opening days of Frieze New York sparked a flood of complaints, puns, and social media posts about the unbearable heat inside the bespoke tent on Randall’s Island. Now, the art fair’s organizers have stepped up to the plate with an offer to partially refund exhibitors affected by the soaring temperatures.

In a letter sent to exhibitors this morning, Frieze executives wrote: “We promised to give something back to you following Frieze New York and we are writing now to confirm that we are offering 10% of the booth fee to every gallery who was affected by the heat on the first two days of the fair, with a minimum of $1,000.”

The letter bears the names of Frieze Fairs director Victoria Siddall; co-founders Amanda Sharp and Mathew Slotover; and Frieze New York artistic director Loring Randolph, the former longtime director at New York’s Casey Kaplan gallery.

According to the letter, many people inquired about what went wrong with the air conditioning at this year’s edition. It provides a somewhat vague explanation, noting that over the years, fair creators had “developed an overhead system of heating and cooling to provide a uniform, stable temperature.” The letter goes on to describe this year’s redesign, including efforts to create better exhibition spaces, improve the overall visitor experience and address hot and cool spots, which have sometimes been an issue at previous editions.

While we were aware of the heatwave in advance, we believed that the HVAC system would be able to function effectively and we ran the AC on full the night before and all day during the preview days. Unfortunately, the system could not withstand the record-breaking temperatures. Our intention has only ever been to create a fantastic experience for you, your clients and artists, so we are truly saddened and sorry for this and want you to know we are working now to ensure it can never happen again.

The letter is accompanied by an attached “Credit Note Request” through which exhibitors can request the partial refund.

A spokesman for Frieze had not responded to artnet News’s request for comment by publication time.


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