On 19 March, the 1-54 Contemporary African Art Fair New York announced the cancellation of its 2020 edition. It will return in May 2021.
The 2020 edition of Frieze New York, due to open on 6 May, has been cancelled in response to escalating global crackdowns on travel, business and social gatherings due to the coronavirus pandemic. Meanwhile, Frieze Sculpture programming at Rockefeller Center has been postponed and will now open in New York during the summer of 2020, with dates still to be confirmed.
“We are grateful to everyone who worked so hard in preparation for this year’s fair, and thank all our participating galleries, curators, partners, staff, as well as our local New York and international communities for their unwavering support,” the fair organisers say in a statement. “We look forward to Frieze New York 2021.”
Exhibitors are expecting to receive further details on refunds within the coming week. Like Art Basel, which opened its online viewing rooms today to offer an alternative sales platform to exhibitors in its cancelled Hong Kong edition, Frieze is also developing an online alternative due to launch “shortly”.
A mainstay of New York’s spring art season, the fair’s cancellation comes as little surprise given the spate of art fair cancellations and postponements over the last month as Covid-19-related illness and deaths have continued to rise in the US, as well as in Europe and the UK. The announcement was issued shortly after the New York governor Andrew Cuomo said that President Donald Trump had agreed to dispatch a 1,000-bed hospital ship to New York Harbor as the state struggles to deal with a stark jump in coronavirus cases. As of this morning, 2,382 people had tested positive in New York State, an increase of more than 800 in 24 hours.
In New York City, where restaurants, bars and gyms are closed and which could potentially face a shelter-in-place mandate, according to Mayor Bill de Blasio, 1,339 people have tested positive for the virus.
While some fairs concurrent to Frieze New York such as Tefaf New York Spring (8-11 May) have not yet announced postponement or cancellation, Object & Thing in New York will postpone its second edition from 7-10 May until 13-15 November "in response to the CDC’s [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's] recommendation to cancel or postpone large in-person events throughout the US over the next eight weeks as a means of slowing the spread of Covid-19". Additionally, NYCxDesign announced that its May festival is being suspended and will instead present programming in October.
UPDATE: On 19 March, the 1:54 Contemporary African Art Fair New York (scheduled for 8-10 May) announced it would cancel and return in 2021.
• Find our ongoing and updated list of cancelled and postponed fairs here