Frieze may have cancelled its physical fairs in 2020 because of the coronavirus pandemic but its sculpture park project in New York is belatedly going ahead. The delayed Frieze Sculpture exhibition at the Rockefeller Center plaza will open from 1 September (until 2 October), just as the city’s museums and galleries are expected to reopen (the Metropolitan Museum of Art plans to welcome back visitors from 29 August). “As we continue to practice social distancing, we are proud to present this incredible, touch-free installation in vast public spaces,” says EB Kelly, who oversees the Rockefeller Center and is the managing director for the real estate company Tishman Speyer, which is sponsoring the show. “New Yorkers can enjoy these works free of charge, without tickets or time constraints, whenever it is convenient for them.”
The selling show includes large-scale works by the artists Ghada Amer, Beatriz Cortez, Andy Goldsworthy, Lena Henke, Camille Henrot and Thaddeus Mosley. Each of the works responds to the natural materials of the city in celebration of the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, which took place on 22 April this year—the original scheduled opening date for the exhibition that would have coincided with the Frieze New York fair. The curator of the show Brett Littman, who is the director of the Isamu Noguchi Foundation and Garden Museum in Long Island City, says the works also deal with other pertinent issues including women’s suffrage, migration, urban planning and ecology. “Given our world’s current urgent concerns with ecological sustainability, climate change and racial inequality—and the impact these issues have had in spreading Covid-19—the idea of creating an outdoor sculpture installation within this discourse could not be more relevant,” he says.
Among the works on show is an installation by the New York-based Egyptian artist Ghada Amer titled Women’s Qualities. First installed in 2000 in Busan, South Korea, the work displayed the results the artist’s survey where she asked members of the public what qualities they found most important in women. Amer is now combining those gender stereotypes with those she has gathered from Americans today. “Written with flowers [the work] creates a living portrait of the impossible ‘woman ideal’”, a state from Frieze Fairs says.
Last week, Frieze announced that its London fairs in October were cancelled. It is yet to be announced whether the Frieze Sculpture exhibition will go ahead later this year.