Artist-Run Portal Fair to Launch During Frieze New York

But there's no gallery's involved.

Federal Hall in Manhattan in 2012. Photo by Yair Haklai, Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license.

Following the success of the Governors Island Art Fair, 4heads, the artist-run nonprofit behind the event, is launching a new art fair called Portal. It will take place in New York’s Federal Hall National Monument during Frieze Week in May.

Presenting approximately 40 participants, the fair is closely aligned to 4head’s mission to provide a platform for emerging artists in historically significant landmarks across New York.

The differentiating factor of Portal is that there are no galleries, dealers, or selection committees involved in the vetting process, effectively cutting out the middle man and putting the focus on the artists.

Artists for Portal will be selected through a competitive invitational process. 4heads will invite a selection of potential participants and ask them to submit a proposal for how they plan to engage with specific areas of the venue.

Niki Lederer, High Smoke Point Yellow and A Softness You Can Feel Blue, at Governors Island Art Fair. Photo: Sarah Cascone.

Niki Lederer, High Smoke Point Yellow and A Softness You Can Feel Blue, at Governors Island Art Fair.
Photo: Sarah Cascone.

“No dealers or collectors, make the selection of artists, which is why we use the term ‘non-commercial,’” explained Sascha Freudenheim, a representative for Portal, in a telephone interview with artnet News.

Freudenheim clarified that whilst it is a selling event, the fair takes place in the absence of commercial pressure. “Seventy percent of sales goes to the artist, and 30 percent goes to 4heads to help cover the expenses for the event. The rest of the operating budget comes from donations.”

He said the fair presents “a different way of thinking about what an art fair is.”

Frieze New York. Photo: courtesy Frieze Art Fair.

The fair coincides with Frieze New York.
Photo: courtesy Frieze Art Fair.

“Our guiding vision is to level the playing field for emerging artists, providing them with the opportunity to showcase their work in spaces that highlight the significance of contemporary art within the context of history,” said Anthony Zito, co-founder of 4heads in a statement. “In a week so filled with arts activity, we want to bring a sense of the fresh and experimental.”

The historic venue is of course a major attraction. The Federal Hall building was built in 1842 and was designed by the American sculptor John Frazee.

Zito told the New York Times that he hoped the event would “expose this architectural jewel right in New York’s backyard and introduce a bunch of bold, scrappy artists that people might not know about either.”

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