Frieze art fair has announced plans to host pop-up exhibitions from international galleries in its new permanent gallery space, No.9 Cork Street, London from autumn 2021.
“Over the past 12 months, we have learnt that the experience of seeing art is irreplaceable, as are the human connections that are so crucial to its appreciation”, Eva Langret, Frieze London’s artistic director, explains on the Frieze website. The art fair hopes No.9 Cork Street will provide “a flexible and collaborative environment for the world’s leading galleries to connect with London audiences year-round”.
Housed in two converted Mayfair townhouses and comprising three gallery spaces, the Matheson Whitely-designed complex will be available to rent for four-week periods from October 2021. Commercial galleries are now invited to apply before 25 March 2021 with proposals for contemporary and modern art exhibitions to take place between October 2021 and June 2022.
The largest gallery space measuring 840 square feet can be secured for London’s first exhibition season in October-November 2021 for £55,500. The smaller 818 square feet and 689 square feet spaces are up for grabs for a respective £46,500 and £39,500.
Included in the rental price are media, digital and social media services available over the course of the four-week residencies. The complex also boasts an event space on the ground floor which can be used for screenings, talks and gallery dinners.
Langret describes the No.9 Cork Street venture as Frieze’s “natural response to the challenges brought about by the pandemic”. With Covid-19 rendering physical art fairs a distant memory, the fair organiser and publishing company has been forced to seek alternative revenue streams.
Frieze’s new venture is the product of “really thinking about what else we can do to continue to support our community of galleries… what makes the fair special and what we can continue to do to stretch that model“, Langret explains. After speaking with a number of galleries seeking London exhibition space as well as those with experience of pop-ups in other cities, Frieze decided the time was ripe for its own foray into the pop-up model.
No.9 Cork Street continues the trend for using flexible exhibition spaces triggered by Covid-19 lockdown restrictions. During Frieze 2020, the in-person art fair was replaced by a number of gallery exhibits installed in several Cork Street storefronts.
London’s innovative Cromwell Place gallery hub also opened in October 2020 in five Grade II listed townhouses. It offers UK-based and international art dealers a flexible space to exhibit and store artworks in South Kensington.
While there’s no doubt the Covid-19 pandemic has been a dark and unsettling time for the UK art market, it also seems to have inspired innovation and experimentation.