William Morris Endeavor-IMG, the talent ageny that represents everyone from Karlie Kloss to Novak Djokovic, has announced a “strategic partnership” with Frieze, the art fair that opens the fifth edition of its Randall’s Island branch in New York in early May.
Though we cannot determine the specifics of the deal, WME-IMG said that they will “expand the resources and expertise available to Frieze’s clients through events, media and technology,” in a press release.
“We’re really pleased to form a partnership with WME/IMG that will help us increase the value of what we do for the galleries we work with,” said Frieze Co-Founders Amanda Sharp and Matthew Slotover in the release. Frieze began as a magazine founded by Ms. Sharp and Mr. Slotover in 1991. They expanded into the art fair business in 2003 with the first Frieze Art Fair in London.
“Amanda and Matthew have built Frieze into an incredible offering for the global art community,” said Ari Emanuel and Patrick Whitesell, the co-CEOs of WME-IMG. “Their commitment to supporting artists and galleries by providing them a multidisciplinary platform to showcase their work is unmatched in the industry. We’re proud to be partnering with them and are excited about the possibilities ahead.”
WME-IMG, the mega agency helmed by the notorious Mr. Emanuel (upon whom Entourage’s Ari Gold is based), is venturing into the art market for the first time with this deal, a testament to the huge financial expansion the art world has seen over the last couple decades. This is also the fair’s first investment outside the the realm of fine art.
WME-IMG will also help to support The Frieze Tate Fund, which provides over $200,000 to acquire art for the Tate Museum in London from Frieze’s London fair in October.
“This partnership will…enable us to start realizing innovations we’ve been developing over the last year, which we look forward to announcing soon,” said Mr. Slotover and Ms. Sharp.