• Asya Rotella

Frieze New York 2021: Let's Start Again (?)


The Shed, the arts center in Hudson Yards on the west side of Manhattan (at center), is this year’s home of Frieze New York. Nina Westervelt for The New York Times


Fourteen months after the last week of NY Art, two months after its last appearance in The Big Apple, the Frieze Fair has left its historic location on Randall's Island to debut in the new exhibition space The Shed, a stone's throw from the Chelsea galleries of the High Line, in a context of lean events, the fair could have been stormed by the art lovers who remained in the city, but this did not happen.


The fair imposed very strict access measures: to enter it was necessary to show a negative Covid test or documentation of being vaccinated. Also, the official website mentioned that all tickets were sold out.


The fair has restarted welcoming only its own VIPs and exhibitors, only the most prestigious press, cutting out the so-called fair tourists, emerging artists, and the simply curious. This is to prevent people with an empty wallet or time wasters from consuming the precious oxygen inside The Shed.



This year’s Frieze New York, at Hudson Yards. John Smith/VIEWpress


A respectable choice that manifests a tremendously business oriented guideline, 64 exhibitors took part in this historic post-Covid edition, about 1/3 of those usually exhibited at Randall's Island. The event took place without the energy that a great fair is capable of transmitting. Through a communication and selection system that effectively cut off any potential new collector, the gallery owners were able to reconnect face to face, not returning collectors. For art lovers and for those who did not have access to the precious VIP Frieze VIP card, the event was seen reflected by the various social media, once again a screen to act as a filter between the work of art and the eyes of the beholder.