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Tenth-Avenue Frieze Out

Frieze New York art fair
It’s always hard to tell whether the somber mood at Frieze is a function of the fair or the venue, but something about The Shed is a serious buzzkill. Photo: Li Rui/Xinhua/Getty Images
Marion Maneker
May 12, 2024

One of the axioms of the art market is that buyers tend to fluctuate, over multiyear cycles, from an obsessive focus on mostly young up-and-comers toward a fascination with historical artists from different eras. That’s certainly the case this year, where there’s a lot more historical art on view in the city. But we’re also witnessing another, more portentous shift this season toward more private dealing. There’s a simple reason for this, of course: When the art market is contracting, negotiating prices down is best done in private; bidding them up is more easily done in public.  

With that in mind, I went to four of the art fairs that recently rolled through New York, as well as a number of gallery shows that opened in time to take advantage of the tide of trade viewers and collectors who are in town for this two-week swirl of lunches, after parties, and frenetic negotiation. And, of course, I took notes.