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Could the art world’s experiment with online fairs force a healthy rethink?

 written by Melanie Gerlis, Financial Times, May 1, 2020

So Frieze has done what others have had to do already this year and taken its 200-plus gallery exhibitors online.


Like other fair organisers, Frieze’s management underlines that its virtual offering is an alternative forced by Covid-19, rather than a replacement for its real-life fairs, and certainly exhibitors are under no illusions on this front.


“There is no substitute to seeing art on the walls,” says Rakeb Sile, co-founder of Addis Fine Art gallery in Ethiopia. This is true in particular for lesser-known, emerging artists, she says. So her gallery’s Frieze New York debut showing of the Ethiopia-born, US-raised painter Tariku Shiferaw is bittersweet. “This was meant to be his big break in his home town,” Sile says. Yet, she adds, the shift to online has forced a healthy rethink of how best to give a context to Shiferaw’s work — videos on Instagram are among the planned accompanying features.


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Tariku Shiferaw, Holy Terrain (FKA twigs), 2020 

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