Frieze Acquires The Armory Show and EXPO CHICAGO, Expanding Its Presence in the US Art Market

Above: Lubov, Frieze New York 2022 . Photo by Casey Kelbaugh. Courtesy of Casey Kelbaugh/Frieze

Frieze, one of the world’s leading contemporary art organizations, today announced that it has acquired The Armory Show in New York and signed an agreement to acquire EXPO CHICAGO. The acquisition of two of the longest-running art fairs in the United States demonstrates Frieze’s firm commitment to the US market and confidence in its continued strength. Both fairs will continue to operate under their existing brands and with their current teams. “These acquisitions mark a transformational moment in Frieze’s growth and allow us to extend the depth and breadth of our presence in the US – the world’s leading art market.” said Simon Fox, CEO of Frieze. “New York and Chicago each have their own distinct ecosystem of artists, galleries, museums, and collectors. By expanding our presence in both cities, we will build on the strong track record we have established in the US at Frieze New York and Frieze Los Angeles.”

Kristell Chadé, Executive Director, Frieze Fairs, added, “The Armory Show and EXPO CHICAGO each have a history that is foundational to the US art market, and we look forward to working with their dedicated teams, who bring with them invaluable knowledge and connections to new audiences. Both fairs share Frieze’s commitment to supporting the creative life of their host cities by working with institutions, non-profits and cultural partners, and together we can make a greater collective impact.”

Nicole Berry (Executive Director, The Armory Show) and Tony Karman (Founder, President and Director, EXPO CHICAGO) will work alongside the international team of Frieze Directors; Nathan Clements Gillespie (Director, Frieze Masters), Eva Langret (Director, Frieze London), Patrick Lee (Director, Frieze Seoul) and Christine Messineo (Director of Americas, Frieze). Berry said: “We are excited for our organization to join the Frieze family. As New York’s largest art fair, this acquisition marks an important milestone for the storied Armory Show as it approaches its third decade in the world’s largest art market. Our deep relationship with the New York art community has facilitated initiatives including the siting of public art throughout the city and the formation of partnerships with important New York events such as the US Open. Joining Frieze enables us to leverage a respected brand, deep industry knowledge, expanded resources and a larger network, which will further enhance the experience for our exhibitors and visitors alike. On behalf of our new owner, we look forward to continued growth in our role as a cornerstone of the New York cultural landscape.”

Founded in 1994, The Armory Show plays an important role in New York City’s position as a leading cultural capital through its programming, curatorial initiatives, institutional partnerships, and activations. The fair also hosts Armory Off-Site, a high-profile program of large-scale artworks in the city’s parks and public spaces, including the US Open. Additionally, it features a year-round series of talks and the annual Curatorial Leadership Summit. The next edition of The Armory Show takes place at the Javits Center, September 8–10, 2023, with a VIP Preview on September 7.

Founded in 2012, EXPO CHICAGO is rooted in the cultural ecosystem of Chicago and its vibrant creative community. Building on Chicago’s legacy as the site of the first international art fairs in the Americas, the fair activates a rich network of artists, museums, curators, galleries, and collectors through investment in rigorous programming—both onsite and citywide—that shines light on Chicago’s collaborative spirit while catalyzing international collaboration and global discourse. The next edition of EXPO CHICAGO takes place April 11-14, 2024, at the city’s Navy Pier. Closing of the EXPO CHICAGO transaction is expected later this quarter, subject to customary closing conditions.

“Chicago has always been a vital crossroads for the arts, anchored by world-class institutions, dedicated collectors, and an incredibly robust landscape of international dealers and artists, all of which inspired the founding of EXPO CHICAGO more than a decade ago,” said Karman. “In that time, the exposition has grown into a truly citywide, year-round pursuit, and this acquisition further signals the pivotal role of Chicago as a key center for the US art market. We are incredibly grateful for this monumental partnership with Frieze, which will strengthen the fair’s impact and reach in service of our exhibitors and provide us and our patrons with new invaluable resources.”

Frieze has hosted internationally celebrated art fairs since 2003. This year marks the 20th anniversary of the organization’s first fair, Frieze London, which takes place each October. Frieze presents five major events a year: Frieze Seoul (September 2023), Frieze London and Frieze Masters (both October 2023), Frieze Los Angeles (February 2024) and Frieze New York (May 2024), which have all established themselves as highlights in the global art calendar and celebrate the cultural appeal of their respective cities.

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