May 6, 2020

Frieze New York Goes Virtual with Exhibition by Collective Design

No gatherings, no problem. Frieze Viewing Room, a virtual gallery originally to debut at Randall’s Island Park during Frieze New York, is now the way to experience the fair this year in lieu of an in-person event. More than 200 global galleries will still be presenting major works by a diverse group of established and emerging artists in the virtual gallery space using augmented reality technology. From May 8 through 15, users will be able to view artwork from their homes through an app and web-based platform launching in tandem with the online edition of Frieze New York. 

“It was always intended that this initiative would debut alongside this year’s edition of Frieze New York, and under our current circumstances, our launch has become even more timely,” said Loring Randolph, director of Frieze New York. The Viewing Room enables users to experience artworks, such as paintings, to scale on their own walls, transforming any space into an instant art show. 

Nathalie Du Pasquier, ROYAL Chaise/Dormeuse, Design: 1983 Production: 2015 Chaise of plastic-laminated wood/ CERCHIO upholstery (Du Pasquier) QUADRO side panel (Sowden). Photography courtesy Urban Architecture, Inc., New York.

While each gallery will have its own virtual “room” for users to peruse, Collective Design, gets three for its feature exhibition Color and Production. Inspired by the ways technological developments have influenced the use of color within art and design, each piece, curated by London-based Libby Sellers, fits into either Mapping, Matter, or Material room. The works in Mapping will relate to the mapping of color and of environments.Matter will highlight modern, post-industrial methods used to achieve color. Lastly, the objects in Material will focus on the role of material in color choice. The online showcase is comprised of compelling and inventive pairings of art and design, bold textiles and materials, furnitures and objects, and, of course, paintings and sculptures ranging in historicity and price point. 

Bruno Munari, Fontana a Ruota, 1958. Iron, steel, plastic. Photography courtesy of Andrew Kreps Gallery, New York.

“It’s very important to show art and design together,” Steven Learner, architect and founder of Collective Design, told Interior Design, speaking to the inspiration for Color and Production. He notes that design is more influenced by developments in technology than art often is and that this exhibition needed “an academic substructure,” which both Frieze and Sellers have the platform and mind, respectively, to support. 

Barber & Osgerby, Iris 1200, 2008. Solid aluminum sections, individually anodized in color spectrum with toughened glass. Photography courtesy of Established & Sons, Ltd., London, Photography by Mark O’Flaherty.

Converting a fully thought out 1,500-square-foot gallery floor plan into three digital showrooms under a time-crunch is no easy feat, but the team at Collective Design successfully did so in close collaboration with Frieze. Though the previously planned experiential aspects of the exhibition have fallen victim to social distancing, the audience sharing that’s bound to take place after viewing the virtual rooms makes up for it. “Technology is not changing human nature,” said Learner. Yearning for community is part of human nature and technology certainly helps us keep in touch, especially now. With this in mind, the community outreach Collective Design has been doing in the lead up to the launch of Frieze Viewing Rooms has been better than ever, since the team is not spending their time rushing to move physical items from one place to another (or through customs), per usual. 

Spencer Finch, Color Test (133), 2019, LED lightbox, Fujitrans. Photography courtesy James Cohan Gallery, New York.

Though the fair will be presented in a different format this year, its offerings are sure to be as impressive as ever with exhibitions celebrating Latin American artists and pioneering women artists from Chicago, commemorating the centennial of the ratification of women’s right to vote, to name a few. “Our original aim in developing Frieze Viewing Room, when we embarked on this more than six months ago, was to create an online platform that would support and celebrate galleries at every level and engage the same audiences we bring to our fairs,” said Victoria Siddall, global director of Frieze fairs. “We are now delighted to use this initiative to showcase the galleries who would have been at Frieze New York and the works they would have shown there—the quality of work will match that of our fairs and the curated content will be innovatively presented in this new sphere.” 

Hella Jongerius, “Facet Bottle” – Day, 2019, Porcelain. Photography courtesy of Galerie Kreo, Paris. 

Read next: 10 Highlights from Palais de la Porte Dorée’s Christian Louboutin Exhibition in Paris

Recent DesignWire