After canceling an international art fair that had been scheduled for May 7–10 at Randall’s Island Park in New York, the organizers of Frieze New York have informed the nearly 200 planned participants that it would be giving out full refunds for booth fees. As communicated by the fair’s three top executives—Victoria Siddall, Loring Randolph, and Kristell Chadé—in an email sent to exhibitors and reviewed by ARTnews, the refunds will be made in two payments, with the first coming on May 20 and the remainder on June 20.
In their email the organizers said, “As you know, this is a very challenging time and we face similar issues to many galleries and other businesses. If your circumstances allow, we hope you will consider rolling over the second payment into Frieze New York 2021 or to one of our other fairs to which you are selected to participate. Those who choose this option will benefit from additional incentives.”
One such incentive would be that galleries could lock in the price-per-square-footage that had been planned for this year’s fair. (A large portion of what galleries pay to art fairs are booth fees, which are calculated by the size of each booth.) Frieze said it would also refund all money paid in advance for constructing booths and other deposits.
In addition to the refund, the fair’s organizers said they would also launch online viewing rooms, to be free and offered to the galleries that had planned to show in the fair. The platform, which will include both an app and a website, was already in the works and had been scheduled to launch at the fair in May.
“The Frieze Viewing Room gives new and established collectors, museum professionals, and the public the ability to digitally explore and acquire art from you and other world leading galleries,” the email from Frieze organizers reads. “We hope that the refund and the Frieze Viewing Room will provide support for your business during this difficult and unprecedented time, and we remain at your disposal should you have any questions.”
In early February, when Art Basel canceled its Hong Kong iteration amid the coronavirus outbreak there and in mainland China, the fair said that it would give exhibitors a 75 percent refund of fees paid in advance of the event, which was to have taken place in March. Art Basel also debuted an online viewing room platform in lieu of the canceled fair, with some dealers reporting steady sales after its launch two weeks ago.
Frieze New York is among the few fairs that have been canceled outright, with many others postponed to dates some time later this year, including Art Basel in Switzerland, the SP-Arte in São Paulo, Art Brussels, Art Cologne, the Dallas Art Fair, arteBA in Buenos Aires, Paris Photo New York, and the spring edition of TEFAF New York.