Future of Art Fairs?

Frieze came to life again at the Shed in NYC this past week. The Shed was built with the concept in mind of being an amorphous structure. It could house theater, concerts, readings, orchestras, art installations, and even art fairs. Except for the thrill of returning to “normal” by going to an art fair, seeing the Shed become the foundation for the Frieze was the best part.

The show was small, with only 60 galleries. I wasn’t disappointed by the size but the lack of excitement. I would have expected to see new, more thoughtful work after a global pandemic and a lockdown of the past 14 months, but I didn’t. It felt somber and uninspiring.

There are multiple art shows on the horizon. It is really time to reimagine them. How do they engage new collectors of all ages? How do they not just feel like a gallery has just been planted in a semi-permanent space for a few days like a trade show? How do we have more conversations and interactions with the artists and other collectors? Maybe live artistic performances, panels of collectors, artists talking about their process and thoughts, schools discussing art programs.

Something to make art more human than an asset class. Art represents the times. I can’t imagine a more perfect time to hear and see what artists are thinking.

The Armory Show is coming to the Javits Center in the fall. The space is tremendous. I hope that they really think out of the box. Change must come.