TEFAF New York Spring Will Be Postponed to an Increasingly Crowded Fall Art Calendar

The news closely follows the cancellation of Frieze New York.

Preview of TEFAF New York Spring at the Park Avenue Armory. Photo: Kirsten Chilstrom.

New York’s May fairs are beginning to fall like dominoes. The latest event to be called off is the fourth edition of TEFAF New York Spring, the posh art fair at the Park Avenue Armory dedicated to Modern and contemporary art. Organizers announced on Friday morning that the event would be rescheduled to the fall due to safety concerns regarding the escalating global health crisis and statewide restrictions on gatherings of more than 50 people.

The fair was originally scheduled to run from May 8 through 11. Instead, it will now be held from October 30 to November 4. TEFAF benefits from the fact that it has two slots on the packed annual calendar at the Park Avenue Armory: one in the spring and one in the fall. But by bumping TEFAF New York Spring, which focuses on Modern and contemporary art and design, to the fall slot, TEFAF has made the decision to cancel TEFAF New York Fall, which focuses on art from antiquity to the postwar period. (Presumably, the fair will need to rename its Modern and contemporary edition something other than TEFAF New York Spring in the Fall.)

Artnet News understands that exhibitors for the fall edition had not yet been selected, so the fair will not need to provide refunds to exhibitors. But not every dealer who signed up for the spring fair will likely be able to participate during the new dates considering the increasingly packed fall art calendar. (In addition to already-scheduled events such as the Dallas Art Fair, Art Brussels, and Berlin Gallery Weekend, numerous other spring events are moving to the fall—including rumors of Art Basel.)

“These unprecedented times are new to us all,” Sofie Scheerlinck, managing director of TEFAF, said in a statement. “While we cannot physically meet in these tough times, it is beautiful to see how our art community stands united. We would like to thank all our exhibitors, visitors, sponsors and partners for their understanding and support. Now is the time for us all to remain safe and healthy.”

This is not the first blow experienced by TEFAF—which has its marquee fair in Maastricht in addition to the two editions in New York—since the start of the health crisis. Last week, TEFAF closed the Maastricht event four days early after a staff member from Italy’s Tornabuoni Gallery tested positive for the virus. At least four other exhibitors also reported symptoms, according to reports.

In the four years since its inception, TEFAF New York Spring has established itself as an upmarket, tony companion to Frieze New York, featuring high price points, lush flower arrangements, and more pearl-wearing collectors than Instagram influencers. Exhibitors slated to participate in this year’s edition include Acquavella, Gagosian, Perrotin, Gallery Hyundai, and David Zwirner.

The postponement of TEFAF New York Spring comes after nearly all museums, galleries, and cultural centers in New York closed over the weekend and two other May fairs—Frieze New York and 1:54 New York—announced that they would cancel their 2020 editions.


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