With next year's art fairs still in flux due to the ongoing pandemic, Frieze is planning to lease two gallery spaces on London's Cork Street in Mayfair, The Art Newspaper can confirm.
The magazine publisher and fair organiser used the premises at 9a and 9b Cork Street on a temporary basis during the quasi-Frieze Week (minus the fairs in Regents Park) in early October for its Live programme of performance, curated by Victor Wang, the artistic director of M Woods Museum, Beijing.
Frieze is now planning to rent the galleries (which measure 2,135 sq. ft and 4,324 sq. ft each) on a more permanent basis—planning applications have been submitted and an architect appointed for the two premises. Details are scant for now, but a Frieze spokeswoman says: "We can confirm that Frieze is planning to take a lease on 9 and 9a Cork Street, subject to obtaining all relevant permissions, with a view to create a space for ambitious exhibition projects. Further updates and information will be available in the forthcoming months."
During Frieze Week, several galleries that would normally exhibit at the fair, including Lisson and Sadie Coles HQ, rented empty galleries within the Cork Street complex, which has been redeveloped by Pollen Estate over the past four years. Rents for the spaces range from £60 per sq. ft per annum to £100 per sq. ft per annum. Both Lisson and Sadie Coles HQ have extended their temporary leases into 2021.
A spokesman for Pollen Estate says: "Since the start of the pandemic, the Pollen Estate has worked closely with the community in East Mayfair giving rent-free periods where needed to help businesses through these unprecedented times. Pollen’s ambition remains to support everyone through this period so they are raring to go when the fast approaching vaccines hopefully allow trading to return to normal again."
While details for the gallery space are yet to be confirmed, it will no doubt give the Frieze brand a physical presence and curatorial platform at a time when producing large-scale art fairs is still problematic.
Cork Street Galleries will host a festive late night opening on 15 December with galleries staying open until 8pm.