In an email sent to professional colleagues today, Victoria Siddall, the board director of Frieze’s art fairs, said that she would leave the organization after 18 years, calling the choice to depart a “difficult decision.” Siddall will stay on through the end of Frieze Los Angeles, which is set to run February 17–20. Siddall has not yet announced her plans for the future but said she would remain on Frieze’s board.
In her email, Siddall wrote, “The extraordinary and rewarding experience of the past 18 years is due in large part to the people with whom I have had the good fortune to collaborate. Thank you for your trust and friendship and for making this the most wonderful cross-continental adventure that I could ever have dreamt of. I am so proud of everything we have done in London, New York and Los Angeles (and soon Seoul!) and I am eternally grateful for the support of so many amazing people.”
Frieze launched its first fair in 2003, which Siddall attended; at the time, she was head of proposals at the auction house Christie’s. She soon applied for a job there and became the fair’s head of development in 2004. Siddall has been instrumental in launching several of Frieze’s other fairs, including Frieze Masters, Frieze Los Angeles, and Frieze Seoul. She became global director in 2014 after taking over from the fair’s founders Amanda Sharp and Matthew Slotover. In 2020, she was named board director of Frieze, which she described as a “strategic” role change. She is also currently the chair of the London nonprofit gallery Studio Voltaire.
Since the start of the pandemic, there has been much turnover at Frieze. In August 2020, Loring Randolph stepped down from her post as director of Frieze New York to lead a private art collection. In July 2021, Rebecca Ann Siegel stepped down as the fair’s Americas director; she did not state her future plans. Meanwhile, the fair hired Christine Messineo to oversee the New York and L.A. fairs in November. Pat Lee was brought on the previous month to lead Frieze’s forthcoming Seoul fair, which will host its inaugural edition this September.
According to a report in the Art Newspaper, Frieze will not replace Siddall, whose role has been eliminated. Instead, each fair will have individual directors, including Messineo and Lee, as well as Eva Langret for Frieze London and Nathan Clements-Gillespie for Frieze Masters. Kristell Chadé will be executive director of Frieze Fairs.
In a statement sent to ARTnews, Frieze’s CEO, Simon Fox, said, “On behalf of everyone at Frieze, I want to thank Victoria for everything she has achieved over the past 18 years. We wish her all the very best for the future. She will always be part of the Frieze family and we are delighted that she will remain on the board, as well as a consultant on key initiatives including the launch of Frieze Seoul.”
Correction, January 14, 2022: An earlier version of this article stated that Victoria Siddall was still global director of Frieze’s fairs. She transitioned from that role to board director in 2020. The article has been updated to reflect that.