The art world’s latest guessing game has been speculation on two important open positions: who will serve as the next U.S. directors for the country’s biggest art fairs, Art Basel and Frieze? Today one of those questions was answered: the organizers of Frieze’s art fairs have named Christine Messineo as the director of its two annual U.S. events, Frieze Los Angeles and Frieze New York. Messineo begins in her post on November 29, two months ahead of Frieze L.A., which will open in Beverly Hills in February.
“We are looking forward to a robust and energetic Los Angeles fair,” said Messineo, an art gallery director who for the past six years has been splitting her time between L.A. and New York. She expressed particular excitement for the fair’s role in both cities as part of their respective art communities. “Part of what makes these fairs successful in these cities is what happens outside of the fairs—the way we engage with institutions, the exhibitions that the galleries put on. It’s a time period that serves as a touch point for a global audience.”
At Frieze, where she replaces Rebecca Ann Siegel, who left the organization in July, Messineo will be making her first foray into a position on the art fair side of the market. She was a partner at New York’s Bortolami gallery from 2009 until 2015, before moving to Los Angeles, where she became a director at Hannah Hoffman Gallery, near MacArthur Park. In 2020, she was appointed executive director of Plan Your Vote, a new initiative aimed at “harnessing the creative community to create a visual library to encourage voter registration and voter engagement,” as she told ARTnews at the time. The campaign used imagery from artists like Candida Alvarez, Sanford Biggers, Luis Camnitzer, Guerrilla Girls, Julie Mehretu, Marylin Minter, Wangechi Mutu, Christine Sun Kim, and more.
Frieze also runs fairs in London and is soon to launch a Seoul edition. The company’s U.S. fairs have recently seen high turnover among their leadership. Siegel stepped in for Loring Randolph, who served as director of Frieze New York since 2019 and is now director of the Nancy A. Nasher and David J. Haemisegger collection of art. The previous director of Frieze Los Angeles was Bettina Korek, who is now CEO of the Serpentine Galleries in London.
Messineo said that as an art dealer she has long appreciated the work Frieze puts into its presentation. “When I think about Frieze, one of the first things I consider is that it’s a wonderful place to walk through,” she said. “They know how to do a layout. The fairs are beautiful. I’ve always felt that as a gallery participating there.”
The third edition of Frieze L.A. runs February 17–20 at a new location in Beverly Hills, at 9900 Wilshire Blvd., near the Beverly Hilton; the fair was previously held at Paramount Studios. The 10th edition of the New York fair will run from May 18–22 at the Shed, where Frieze relocated in 2021 after years on Randall’s Island.
Sarah Douglas contributed reporting to this article.