The first weekend of May, thousands flocked to a massive, white enclosed tent on Randall’s Island to visit one of the largest art exhibits of the year: Frieze New York.
Holding two Guinness World Records for size and this year—home to over 190 galleries from 30 countries—Frieze’s international three-day art fair has, once more, proven to be the premiere art fair.
Visitors had the option to either arrive by ferry—a scenic 30-minute ride along the East River—or via ground transport. There were spacious, grassy grounds, and the looming tent itself, featuring galleries, talks, live performances, and even restaurants.
The entire presentation was divided into smaller clusters of galleries. Though each day drew thousands of visitors, it did not feel crowded because of how large the tent was. There was time and space to examine each artwork individually. Gallery representatives stood amidst each exhibit, ready to answer any questions and sell. Visitors were given a chance to learn much more about their favorite art pieces than they would have been able to in a regular museum.
“Frieze New York offers the opportunity to encounter an exceptional quality and range of artwork, featuring the world’s most exciting emerging talents together with iconic names in modern and contemporary art,” Frieze.com reads. “Independent curators have specially advised on sections Frame and Spotlight to encourage discovery and connoisseurship.”
Each section had drink and food vendors, as well as seating for maximum comfort. There was no time limit on how long to spend at the exhibit, so visitors could spend all day eating, relaxing, and taking in art. For those feeling fancy, even champagne was available for purchase. Frieze also featured a Reading Room, where visitors could buy a curated selection of arts and culture publications.
Art varied from surrealist paintings to contemporary photographs to mixed-media pieces.
Galleries are required to apply each year in order to be selected to participate. The selection is determined by a committee of gallerists. The fair gives three awards recognizing the best presentations each year. The Frame Prize and two Frieze Stand Prizes.
This year, The Mumbai-based gallery Jhaveri Contemporary and Nuno Centeno from Porto, Portugal, have won the Frieze Stand Prize and Focus Prize respectively for their presentations at Frieze New York. Each gallery receives $7,500. The Frame prize, for emerging galleries, was awarded to Toronto’s Cooper Cole Gallery, who showed the work of Tau Lewis.
Representatives of each gallery fly from all over the world yearly just for Frieze. To name a few, participating gallery locations this year included Hong Kong, Cape Town and Mumbai. Frieze is not the only destination for art galleries, however. One gallery, Massimo de Carlo of Italy, revealed it participates in up to 10 shows a year, successfully making sales at each.
Frieze New York was a refreshing blend of formal and casual, educational and self-explanatory. People of all ages and incomes attend, whether they are there to merely observe or to purchase. The art fair offers all a chance to admire some of the highest-quality art in the world.