‘Everyone has had a very different experience of the last year,’ says Rebecca Ann Siegel, director of Americas and content at Frieze. Galleries have struggled – some more so than others. But after a year in which every gallery has had to become something of an island, there is something symbolic about the shift of Frieze New York (5–9 May) from its usual home on Randall’s Island on the east side of Manhattan to the Shed, Diller Scofidio + Renfro’s vast cultural centre at Hudson Yards, eight miles south-west. ‘We’re really excited about coming together at the Shed,’ Siegel says.
Galleries will have their fingers crossed for a barnstorming event – though it will be stripped back from previous years. With restrictions on international travel still in place, around 40 mostly New York-based galleries will attend – down from 190 in 2019 – with a few international galleries still awaiting confirmation (as a backup, there will be an online viewing room). As Siegel says, ‘a commitment to the best in international art is still very much the mission at hand.’
Frieze stalwarts returning to the event this year include James Cohan, whose booth includes a selection of Trenton Doyle Hancock’s cartoonish responses to late work by Philip Guston, and Garth Greenan, who offers a superb collage on cut canvas – nearly 3m in length – from a series made by Howardena Pindell in the mid 1980s to commemorate her travels across India. At Jenkins Johnson, meanwhile, look out for Enrico Riley’s jewel-hued portrait of a drummer.
The fair’s Frame section, which focuses on galleries that have been open for ten years or less, returns, overseen by Olivia Barrett of Château Shatto and Sophie Mörner of Company Gallery. This year it includes a number of first-time exhibitors, among them Galeria Bruno Múrias from Lisbon, who will present a solo show of work by the Portuguese sculptor Henrique Pavão.
Siegel is most looking forward to the performance-cum-installation by Precious Okoyomon, New-York based poet, chef and winner of this year’s Frieze Artist Award. Coinciding with Okoyomon’s exhibition at Performance Space New York (until 9 May), the event will see the artist attempt to transform the Shed into ‘a portal for a space of fragilization’. After a traumatic, isolating year, it’s a work that promises to speak to the power of art as a tool for collective healing. Above all, says Siegel, ‘Everyone is really excited about presenting art to a real, live audience.’