Back in Town
Frieze New York Launched in New Format

The Frieze Art Fair is the first art fair to return to New York this spring. Since the end of March 2020, everything has been put on hold due to the Corona crisis. Now Frieze, supported by Deutsche Bank as Global Lead Partner, is venturing a cautious return from May 5 to 9 with a new concept. From its previous, more remote location on Randall’s Island, the fair is moving to The Shed. The cultural center, which opened in 2019 in the middle of Hudson Yards in Manhattan, has become a new city landmark on account of its spectacular architecture alone. The fair’s format is both digital and real. It is accompanied by an extensive online offer, and the number of exhibitors has been slimmed down from the usual 190 to around 60 high-profile, mostly American east coast galleries. Both the hybrid format and the increased focus on the local scene are in line with current trends. For galleries younger than ten years, which are traditionally included in the Frame section, the smaller format is an advantage; for the first time, they can show their solo presentations right next to large galleries such as Gagosian, Hauser & Wirth, and Marian Goodman. But there are also participants from Europe, among them Victoria Miro, Thaddaeus Ropac, and Esther Schipper. Security is tight: all visitors have to have proof that they recently tested negative in a Covid 19 test or have been fully vaccinated, and a compliance team will be present throughout the show. Still, the preview tickets have already sold out, and a busy week is expected.

Those who cannot attend can follow the fair online in the Frieze Viewing Room, which has become established among global collectors. A novelty in New York this year is a format that already had a successful premier at Frieze London: the Art:LIVE Broadcast, initiated jointly by Deutsche Bank and Frieze, which offers exclusive digital encounters with artists, curators, collectors, and creatives from various fields. Under the theme Reflect, Refocus, Reset, this year's event is about cautious optimism and what we can learn from the current situation. One highlight is sure to be a very personal talk with performance artist Marina Abramović in her New York loft. But there are other events that are also absolutely worth seeing. For example, curator Jessica Morgan is giving a tour of the expanded Dia:Chelsea building, which opens after two years of renovation, and architect Annabelle Selldorf talks about the spectacular presentation from the Frick Collection she oversaw in the Marcel Breuer building of the former Whitney Museum.

As a virtual exhibition, Deutsche Bank is showing a digital version of Ways of Seeing Abstraction, a show encompassing 168 abstract works by 47 artists that can be experienced live at Berlin’s PalaisPopulaire until early 2022.

The Looking Glass, an exhibition of augmented reality artworks put together by Daniel Birnbaum, director of Acute Art, and Emma Enderby, chief curator of The Shed, promises to be a unique experience. It is on view in the Shed and in public spaces around the building. The first “chapter” of the ever-growing show features works by Precious Okoyomon, Cao Fei and KAWS. Non-binary artist and lyricist Precious Okoyomon, whose spectacular exhibition Earthseed was on view at Frankfurt’s MMK in 2020, is this year’s recipient of the 2021 Frieze Artist Award. To mark the occasion, she will develop a performance installation especially for the Shed that makes use of poetry, sensory elements, sculpture, light, and sound to celebrate self-expression and the value of shared experience.

And the traditional Frieze Talks also return in Zoom format. Among other events, the transgender author Akwaeke Emezi talks with the young New York artist ruby onyinyechi amanze, who is represented in the Deutsche Bank Collection, and the legendary New York artist Richard Prince chats with the equally legendary critic and author Rachel Kushner. So it’s definitely worth being there digitally.

Frieze New York
May 5 – 9, 2021
The Shed, New York
Comprehensive information can be found at