Supply chain issues have ensnared Frieze's California event next month. Shipping delays and labour shortages caused by Covid-19 have forced the organisation to cancel the outdoor sculpture program of its upcoming Los Angeles fair (17-20 February).
Frieze Sculpture Beverly Hills was intended to bring sculptures presented by 12 exhibiting galleries to Beverly Gardens Park, a short walk from the fair venue at the Beverly Hilton, including works by Light and Space artist Larry Bell, Bay Area-based ceramicist Wood De Othello and Los Angeles-based sculptor Beatriz Cortez. The public art presentation would have been accessible all day and night, seven days a week, and continued beyond the fair’s run until May.
But difficulties shipping the works to Los Angeles—whose port facilities have been backlogged for months—and finding art handlers capable of installing them forced Frieze to call off the project entirely just three weeks before the fair, the Los Angeles Times reported.
“We have determined that we do not have sufficient artworks to realise a full-scale public sculpture installation,” a Frieze spokesperson told the Times. “There were labour shortages because people were either sick or isolating, things like that.” Some of the sculptures destined for the park may be installed at prominent sites inside or outside the fair tent, or in and around the Beverly Hilton; in an email to The Art Newspaper, a Frieze spokesperson said related programming will be announced in the coming week.
The sculpture exhibition in Beverly Gardens Park was to replace Frieze Projects, the fair’s programme of mostly outdoor sculptures and installations staged on the Paramount Studios backlot, where first two editions of Frieze Los Angeles took place in 2019 and 2020. The 2021 edition was canceled due to the pandemic.
The challenges surrounding the Los Angeles fair come at a time of transition for Frieze, whose global director of fairs Victoria Siddall is leaving after more than 18 years with the company. She will step down at the end of February. Meanwhile, the company is also planning its first-ever fair in Asia, Frieze Seoul, which is set to debut in September; Frieze New York is scheduled to take place 18-22 May.