Frieze's big, empty tent on Randall's Island won't be quite so empty by the time the fair opens next week. Though there's more than enough going on on that remote isle to keep people busy, there is also plenty of action in Manhattan and Brooklyn that's worth taking note of. Competing against March's Armory Week and its extended family of satellite fairs, Frieze has attracted its own group of orbiting bodies.
Below, ARTINFO collects an itinerary of Frieze Week highlights, satellite fairs, and notable exhibitions and events around the city:
The Main Attraction: Frieze
Randall's Island, May 4 through 7
For its first time in New York City, Frieze has certainly chosen an out-of-the-way location. Thankfully, the fair will be running a dedicated ferry and bus service to Randall's Island, so that guests can gawp at the spectacle of the Eueopean fair's first state-side endeavor. A number of London galleries like Sadie Coles, Victoria Miro, and Maureen Paley have made the journey, and are joined by a host of top-flight American stalwarts including James Cohan, Gagosian (in a plum corner booth), and David Zwirner. The fair's Frame solo-show section features Tang Contemporary showing He An, Bureau showing Justin Matherly, and Marcelle Alix showing Charlotte Moth. Another Focus section (a new addition, highlighting galleries founded after 2001, and meant to strike a middle note between the new blood and the megagalleries), includes James Fuentes, gb agency, and Limoncello. Oh yeah, and don't forget: Beyond the art up for grabs, Frieze NYC will boast an Intelligentsia coffee bar, Italian cuisine by Manhattan's The Fat Radish restaurant, and refreshments from the Standard Biergarten.
The Side Show: Frieze Special Projects
Randall's Island, May 4 through 7
The fledgling fair also boasts a flock of attendant installations and events to gardish the commercial stuff that are so interesting that they deserve a whole entry of their own. For the Frieze Projects section curated by Cecilia Alemani, John Ahearn will reprise his legendary 1979 exhibition "South Bronx Hall of Fame" in a fair booth, and fair visitors will have the chance to be cast in plaster by the artist (email: johnahearnportrait[at]frieze.com). Virginia Overton will install flexible mirrors on the forrested grounds of the island, and Tim Rollins and K.O.S. will host an open workshop for children. Frieze Sounds will present recordings by Martin Creed, Frances Stark, and novelist Rick Moody in the fair's VIP cars (don't worry, for non-VIPs they'll also be available online), and the program of Frieze Talks includes a panel on expanding museums with Museum of Modern Art director Glenn D. Lowry and Whitney director Adam D. Weinberg on Friday, May 4, and another talk on new geographies of contemporary art chaired by curator Okwui Enwezor on Saturday, May 5. A special Frieze sculpture park curated by Bard's Tom Eccles houses works by Louise Bourgeois, Christoph Buchel, and many other big names. The fair is also collaborating with Koenig Books and D.A.P. to host the city's "biggest temporary art bookstore" (a title that probably isn't too hard to crack) at the southern entrance. The pop-up shop will feature over 1,000 books and a selection of limited editions, and rare and out-of-print titles.
The Cool Kids From Miami: NADA
Center 548, 548 West 22nd Street, May 4 through 7
This year marks the New Art Dealers Alliance's first New York City fair, and it is coming out of the gate running with a group of hip galleries and alternative art spaces stationed in the former X-Initiative building, the same light and airy space as the Armory Week's Independent fair. Several participating galleries like Feature Inc. and UNTITLED took part in Independent as well, while others (Callicoon Fine Arts and Queens's Regina Rex) previously showed at the one-night-only Dependent Art Fair in March. Invisible-Exports, Leo Koenig Inc., and Klaus von Nichtssagend are also among the 60 galleries on the list. Best of all: Little Collector, a Web site for young art collectors, will be hosting NADA tours designed specifically for kids. Bring the whole family!
A Familiar Face: Pulse
Metropolitan Pavilion, 125 West 18th Street, May 3 through 6
Having jumped from Armory Week to cluster around Frieze's warmth, Pulse will be testing the waters of New York's new fair week for its diverse group of exhibitors. Participants range from New York City stalwarts Jen Bekman, Meulensteen, and Mike Weiss to the Cuba-based Habana gallery, Toronto's Narwhal, and Munich's Galerie Andreas Binder. Pulse Projects will present blown-glass installations by Fred Wilson, a labyrinthine sculpture by Risa Puno, and even an interactive "psychic playroom" by performance duo Inner Course called "Knowing Me, Knowing You." Pulse Play, a video and technology lounge curated by Brooklyn's Babycastles -- an indie arcade collective -- will host an exhibition of video-game maker Bennett Foddy, whose keyboard-driven works explore the mechanics of the human body.
Brooklyn Fair Takes Manhattan: Verge
159 Bleecker Street, May 3 through 6
Instead of sticking around Brooklyn as it did last year, Verge is taking up residence in the same Manhattan space as the recent Brucennial 2012 and filling the cavernous ground floor with independent American galleries. This year's cast includes Brooklyn's ANTIDOTE gallery, New York's Elly Cho Projects, Vermont's Bryce MacDonald Projects, and a dozen others. The fair will also feature "Tomorrow Stars," a curated selection of 20 emerging artists ranging from Russian photographer Mitya Nesterov to Brooklyn-based video-painter Justin Wood.
The Art Fair as Exhibition: Seven
191 North 14th Street, Brooklyn, April 28 through mid-May
After the success of this year's Armory Brooklyn Night, the indie mini-fair Seven decided to set up shop in Williamsburg for Frieze. Each of the seven participating galleries (Hales Gallery, Ronald Feldman Fine Arts, Postmasters Gallery, PPOW, Winkleman Gallery, BravinLee Programs, and Pierogi) will show a single artist in Pierogi's Boiler space. The showcase will run from April 28 through mid-May. "We want to hover this in between a fair and a show," Postmasters co-director Magdalena Sawon told ARTINFO. Winkleman will highlight a new hanging tire swing sculpture by artist Andy Yoder, Postmasters will show work by Brooklyn collage artist Diana Cooper, and BravinLee will present "Skin," an installation by Emil Lukas.
For Bargain Hunters: Red Dot
82 Mercer Street, May 3 through 6
The 27 exhibitors in the 2012 Red Dot fair are largely from the United States, but the fair also includes a few international highlights with Paris's La Galerie de L'Instant, St. Petersburg's Dmitriy Semenov gallery, and Buenos Aires's Karina Paradiso Art Gallery. New Art Center, Susi Q, and Long Island University will represent New York, while University of Miami, Rimonim Art Gallery, and RDZ Fine Art will make the trek from Florida.
Artists Will Be Artists: PooL
PooL at Pavilion, 128 West 18th Street, May 3 through 6
PooL brings the art fair affair down to a more modest level, collecting a group of self-representing artists who will share and sell their own work at the event. The small fair -- strategically located right across the street from Pulse -- will include artists like Michael Frere, Megan Vun Wong, and Mel Smother, among others.
Frieze week also ushers in an onslaught of big-name gallery shows, so be sure to leave some room on your schedule to traverse the art neighborhoods. Gagosian's 21st Street space will host an exhibition of Richard Avedon's large-scale photo murals opening Friday May 4, while Ryan McGinley will take over both Team Gallery locations for exhibitions entitled "Animals" and "Grids" starting May 2 (as usual, they open with a block party). Pace Gallery's 57th Street space will host new work by light-and-space artist Robert Irwin through June 23, and Charles Long's Madison Square Park installation "Pet Sounds" opens May 2. Powerhouse painter Dana Schutz's evocatively titled "Piano in the Rain" opens May 2 at Friedrich Petzel gallery, and curator Francesca Gavin will open the rave-style "E-Vapor-8" at Brooklyn's 319 Scholes on May 5. For completists only, Courtney Love will show a collection of drawings at Fred Torres Collaborations starting May 3.
On Saturday, May 5, Chelsea gallery building 539 West 20th Street (home to galleries like Jonathan Levine and bitforms) will throw an introductory brunch from 11 AM to 2 PM. That evening, Frieze is sponsoring a Chelsea Night with galleries staying open late for fairgoers. A clutch of spaces including James Cohan and Galerie Lelong are turning the neighborhood into a giant block party with their Party on 26th Street. The event will feature food trucks as well as music from DJ Hannah Bronfman and the band Dreamshow. Sunday, May 6 will bring Frieze's Downtown Night, with participating galleries Lehmann Maupin, Clocktower, and James Fuentes, among others, staying up late with exhibitions, talks, and special events. An afterparty will follow at Santos Party House.
To see images from the fairs of Frieze Week NYC, click on the slide show here.
Every Friday, HuffPost's Culture Shift newsletter helps you figure out which books you should read, art you should check out, movies you should watch and music should listen to. Learn more