So-Called VIPs Wait In Massive Line Outside Select Fair Preview

The huddled masses were not happy.

Photo: Instagram/@carolynirvin

If there’s one thing people don’t like during Frieze Week, it’s being told they are a Very Important Person, while simultaneously having to wait alongside a few hundred other so-called VIPs in an ever-expanding line outside a satellite art fair. But that’s exactly what happened last night outside the preview for Select, held at Center548 in Chelsea.

Around 8 p.m., a line of people rivaling the one outside Miley Cyrus’s storied Art Basel Miami Beach performance (see Inside Miley Cyrus’s Exclusive ABMB Concert) snaked down West 22nd Street. But this wasn’t a Jeffrey Deitch-sponsored celebrity performance, so what was the deal?

With no separate entrance points for press, artists, and gallerists, a team of stressed out, increasingly surly security guards were tasked with handling the throng gathered around the entrance waving their useless VIP cards. The pushy crowd cut off the blocks-long line of people that had been patiently waiting in an orderly fashion. “We’ve been waiting here for an hour!” someone in the back screamed. But chaos had already ensued.

“Just move back!” screamed an angry security guard. “If you could make enough room that I could open this door for you, maybe I would do that.”

Photo: Twitter/@vidtaylor

The huddled masses. Photo: Twitter/@vidtaylor

One gallery employee near the front pleaded with the guard to let her inside so she could join the team at her booth. Several artists with work in the fair made similar requests and were instructed to wait, despite the fact that there was a steady stream of guests exiting the venue. As desperate texts and tweets were sent, people on the inside began approaching the bouncers to request expedited entry for their friends. A few of these VIPs did in fact prove to be important enough, and they were quickly pulled inside despite loud complaints from the crowd.

We spotted DJ duo Andrew Andrew exiting the venue, attempting to elbow their way past the prospective entrants. “We’re all VIPs tonight, aren’t we?” they laughed.

Once entrance was granted, no one appeared to be too closely examining passes. And much to the chagrin of those who waited in the cold for an hour, the fair was neither very crowded, nor that exciting.

There is, of course, the possibility that this was a large-scale performance art project, designed to expose the Hobbesian reality that life can be “nasty [and] brutish” (but in this case, not short) in even the most intelligent and sophisticated among us. If so, it was brilliant.

Viet N’Guyen, a press liaison for the fair, told artnet News via email: “Last night SELECT hit capacity in record time. This year they are featuring new programming in addition to art, talks, rooftop installations and live music every night. There will be more great programming throughout the week. VIP passes are valid for the duration of the fair, so guests can return anytime.”

For more Frieze Week 2015 coverage, see Leonardo DiCaprio, Mike Myers, Grace Celebrity VIP Frieze New York Preview, Collective Design Fair Has Crocheted Chairs, and a Nap Lab, 6 Must-See Gallery Shows This Frieze Week, Victoria Siddall’s Guide to Frieze New York and What Not to Miss, and All the Frieze Week Happenings You Need to Know.

Follow Artnet News on Facebook:

Want to stay ahead of the art world? Subscribe to our newsletter to get the breaking news, eye-opening interviews, and incisive critical takes that drive the conversation forward.
Article topics