The colossal white tent on Randalls Island — the one that occasionally threatened to uplift and blow away — is gone, along with the frenetic ferry rides up and down the East River. But Frieze is back, the first live art fair returning to New York after more than a year.
This year’s edition, taking place Wednesday to Sunday, is inside the Shed, the performing arts center on the Far West Side at Hudson Yards. It includes only 64 commercial galleries — as opposed to nearly 200 in 2019 — though some international exhibitors from Buenos Aires, Argentina, Brazil and London are represented. But there is plenty of work worth seeing, spread over more than three double-height levels. All necessary health precautions are being observed, but unless you’ve made prior arrangements, you may not be able to attend in person: Tickets are already sold out. What remains is a waiting list and an extensive virtual Viewing Room with more than 160 international galleries, which you can visit free through May 14.
The displays on the whole are a little conservative, which is understandable enough in an uncertain moment. Many galleries are showing painting, the easiest medium to sell — or mounting dutiful roll calls of their artists. But the Shed, often criticized for its blandness, serves as a surprisingly suitable convention center, and there are gems among the cautious displays.
VR Sunil Gohil