New York Labor Unions Negotiate With Frieze Art Fair

Frieze New York, 2013. Photo Naho Kubota. Courtesy Naho Kubota and Frieze.

The Art Newspaper reports that local labor unions are in talks with Frieze New York as the fair prepares to return to Randall’s Island in May. In 2012, Frieze drew criticism for using non-union labor to transport the art and erect the tent and other temporary facilities that housed the event.

A Frieze spokeswoman and a representative from the New York Teamsters both declined to comment for TAN‘s story. Leading up to last year’s edition of of the fair, union leadership voiced their grievances in a press conference on the steps of City Hall, decrying the wage discrepancy between union and non-union employees. Frieze, for its part, would not acknowledge that a labor dispute existed. During past editions of the fair, activists have protested outside the event with the iconic giant inflatable rat favored by New York’s labor unions.

TAN speculates that vocal union support from artists such as Nicole Eisenman, Andrea Bowers, William Powhida, and Josh Smith may have encouraged Frieze to participate in the recent talks.

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