KATHLEEN MADDEN REPORTS FROM THE FIRST FRIEZE, NEW YORK, WHICH TOOK PLACE IN MAY 2012.
Uncertainty permeated the days before the first iteration of the Frieze Art Fair, New York. (Magazine publishers Amanda Sharpe and Matthew Slotover started the London version in 2003.) The Armory has been New York’s most significant contemporary art fair since its inception in 1994 but for years, complaints have been lodged concerning viewing conditions, which are far from ideal due to congestion on the relentlessly long and doggedly uninteresting piers. Poor food service and dismal facilities further hinder the experience and the Armory has struggled with retention rates for participating galleries. This year, the number was reduced from 270 to 220. Frieze is considered a direct challenge to the Armory. After the inaugural Frieze weekend, 4 – 7 May 2012, during which “180 of the most exciting contemporary art galleries in the world” assembled, the uncertainty was laid to rest, as Frieze proved a great success. Tickets sold out for both Saturday and Sunday. For the first time, Gagosian Gallery participated in a New York art fair, reportedly selling out their booth – paintings by Rudolf Stingel – very early on in the proceedings. Now, the question is whether New York will sustain both Frieze and the Armory. New Yorkers love a competition! (more…)