By Mario R. Mercado
May 03, 2012
  • The British are Coming…and the Chinese, the French, the Russians, and the Brazilians…
  • The most important contemporary art fair in London is coming to New York this weekend, May 4-7. Frieze New York will be like no other. It takes place on Randall’s Island in the East River, housed in a specially commissioned tent designed by SO – Il, a Brooklynbased architecture and design firm, on a site with spectacular postcard views of theManhattan skyline.
  • Like its successful British namesake, launched in 2003 by Matthew Slotover and Amanda Sharp, the New York fair features the work of more than 1,000 artists and 180 of the world’s leading galleries, London to São Paulo, Paris to Mexico City, Berlin to Beijing, showing a range of art—painting, sculpture, video, conceptual. Frieze has a commitment to the new, young, and emerging and showcases galleries established less than six years in a section it designates as Frame and in New York introduces Focus, for galleries opened in or after 2001. All the art fills a spacious 1,500-ft. long tent that snakes along the island landscape. As opposed to the grim, claustrophobic scene of the Armory pier show, the exhibition area is suffused with natural light: the best way to see art. From vantage points throughout the tent, you can look outside, take in a view, or rest the eye from the intensity inside.
  • You can also take a break and eat and drink at outposts of Frankies Sputino, Sant Ambroeus, the New York art world hangout, the Fat Radish, plus the Standard Biergarten and Robert’s food trucks. Fortified, take in the new work of artists in the Frieze Sculpture Park along the river, or special projects by Rick Moody, Virginia Overton, Tim Rollins and K.O.S. and others that address the island’s geography and topography. Want more? In a specially created auditorium, Frieze Talks provide a full schedule of daily lectures, panel discussions, including conversations with artists, writers, and museum directors. Cecilia Alemani, the force behind art programs at Manhattan’s High Line, is the curator of talks and projects.
  • Cultural enlightenment, a spectacular new NYC destination, unrivalled people watching, springtime, weekend fun; it’s all here. Who needs the Art Basel Miami Beach petting zoo?
  • Admission includes ferry (every 15 minutes from 35th Street and the East River, the best way to get there) or bus transportation. You can only book tickets at

Mario R. Mercado is the Arts Editor at Travel + Leisure.

Video Courtesy of Frieze