Come next May, Frieze, the contemporary art show featuring galleries and artists from around the world, will have a solid roof over its head. It's trading in the massive custom-made tents that have housed the fair on Randalls Island since 2012 and moving to The Shed, Hudson Yard’s multidisciplinary arts space located in midtown Manhattan.
The show will also shift in physical size, reducing from around 200 exhibitors to 60 coming from every corner of the globe. It's also adding an enhanced digital element called the Frieze Viewing Room to engage art lovers worldwide from the comfort of their laptops. The 2021 Frieze Art Fair is slated for May 5-9, 2021, closing as it traditionally has on Mother's Day.
Another exciting aspect of the show will be the emphasis on its Frame section, which focuses on emerging artistic talents. Rounding out the fair will be an expanded program of collaborations, talks, and special projects to engage the public while following health measures that will most likely still be in place in spring 2021.
For those in physical attendance, The Shed offers a much more accessible location on Manhattan's west side, versus the ferry or dedicated shuttle bus required to transport visitors to and from Randalls Island. Before the fair took up residency there in 2012, the island was a default landing ground for a medley of sporting fields for soccer, football, and other team sports, and the host of outdoor music festivals.
The organizers behind Frieze felt that The Shed provided a unique space for 2021, considering social distancing will likely still be in play. A representative from the art show noted that it is the "adaptable nature of the space that gives [them] the flexibility to meet the changing needs and conditions in light of the pandemic." A unique characteristic of The Shed's main building is its expandable “telescoping” roof which can be adjusted according to size needs. It is not clear at this time if this relocation is a permanent move for the show.
The Shed, best described as an interestingly shaped building designed by Diller Scofidio + Renfro with collaborating architect Rockwell Group, opened its doors in early 2019. It's committed to delivering on its original mission despite setbacks caused by the pandemic and the dour mood permeating the surrounding struggling shops and restaurants at Hudson Yards.
In a statement, Alex Poots, artistic and chief executive of The Shed, said, "The Shed is committed to developing new partnerships and approaches to support the arts and our city at this critical time. We're looking forward to welcoming Frieze New York together with their artists, galleries, and visitors to The Shed next spring."
Frieze isn't the only one moving to West 34th Street. The Armory Show has also announced that it will move its fair to the west side, which is strategically closer to Chelsea's numerous galleries. Since its debut in 1994, when it was dubbed "New York's Art Fair," The Armory Show has been held at the Manhattan Piers. In September 2021 it will relocate to the Javits Center, which was most recently retrofitted as a field hospital during the height of the coronavirus pandemic in March 2020.