Due to the health risks and logistical problems posed by large crowds and the continued travel restrictions around the world due to Covid-19, Frieze London and Frieze Masters have decided to cancel their physical fairs in early October and reprise the Frieze Viewing Room platform introduced this May when the fair’s New York edition was scrapped due to the pandemic. The cancelation of the twin fairs, which assemble under white tents in Regent’s Park to form the center of London’s busiest art market week, follows Art Basel’s decision last month to dash its postponed flagship edition in Switzerland from the calendar, along with any possibility that the international art world will resume at anything like its typical bustling pace this autumn.
Last month, Frieze told London exhibitors that it would guarantee full refunds if the in-person editions of the annual Frieze London and Frieze Masters fairs—the first shows contemporary art, the latter older work—were forced to cancel due to concerns about the virus and asked stall renters to reconfirm their participation by June 26, with the caveat that the event would be substantially downscaled. Although the United Kingdom has lifted its travel restrictions, visitors from the US must quarantine for fourteen days upon the arrival.
“While we will not be together in person at the fairs this year, we look forward to continued collaboration and community-building online,” a spokesperson said, referring to the digital Frieze Viewing Room, whose inaugural New York edition exceeded sales expectations. The fair organizers say they will announce more details about the reconfiguration—including how it might incorporate London galleries originally participating in Frieze Week—in the days ahead. The newly online versions will take place during the original October 8–11 dates.