Yesterday, on Randall’s Island, the Frieze New York art fair turned its tent, filled with art from over 1,000 galleries, over to a select group of Instagrammers. Using the hashtag #emptyfrieze, the group provided their perspectives of the fair to their vast followings. Since 2013, The Metropolitan Museum’s senior social media manager, Taylor Newby, has hosted the “empty” museum series through the hashtag #emptymet. Following that movement, art museums, galleries, and fairs have turned over their spaces to Instagrammers to capture the art before their public openings.
“We started doing it three years ago as a way of increasing engagement with our Frieze art fair audience,” explains Frieze’s marketing manager, Rozzy Middleton, to The Creators Project. “It’s also a way to get an alternative view of the fair before it’s filled with people. Most of the shots you see are once the fair is opened with people running through it. Instagram is the platform we use to show the space in a unique way before it’s filled with people.”
During #emptyfrieze 2016, the group received a tour of Frieze Projects, the annual, site-specific commissions that accompany the fair, from curator Cecilia Alemani. This year’s program included six artists: Heather Phillipson, Eduardo Navarro, Anthea Hamilton, Alex Da Corte, David Horvitz, and Maurizio Cattelan. Cattelan, for his commission, recreated his 1994 installation, Enter at Your Own Risk—Do Not Touch, Do Not Feed, No Smoking, No Photographs, No Dogs, Thank you, as a tribute to the Daniel Newburg Gallery, which gave him his first New York exhibition. The installation features a live donkey in a pen, eating grass underneath a baroque chandelier. The artist has described the work as a picture of “a young artist as an ass.”
The #emptyfrieze event is a way for the fair to expand to an audience beyond collectors. Part of the aim is lure new visitors to the three-day art affair. This particular empty Instagram meet included, Kimberly Drew, Job Piston, and Katy Hamer. “We hope the effect will be to increase people’s awareness of Frieze as an art fair,” says Middleton. “We want to widen the net and give people an idea of how to experience Frieze. We also want influential art lovers and Instagrammers to spread the news throughout the art world as well.”
Frieze New York continues through May 8. Click here for more information.