5th edition of Frieze Art Fair New York

Posted on May - 10 - 2017

Photo courtesy: Artsy

This weekend Frieze Art Fair, squeezed between major art events, opened its doors to the public from the 5th to the 7th of May. Since its founding back in 2003 as an American presence of Frieze Art Fair London, the fair has seen a very steady growth in participating galleries, attendance and more importantly sales. It’s a hot topic to discuss if a fair’s success can be measured solely by its sales or by what it offers regarding curatorial and educational content. In either case, Frieze has proven to create a balance between both and through prizes, talks programs and artist-led education workshops it presents a dynamic agenda for collectors, artists, and the common cultural spectator.

This year the Fair returned on the 5th. to 7th. of May and presented its 5th. edition in its usual spot on Randall’s Island. Although this year there has been congestion in the art world, particularly in Europe, where Art Brussels, Art Cologne were taking place, and the Venice Biennale is about to open, the Fair chose this date as a window between events and decided to ride that opportunity. Hosting more that 200 galleries from all over the world, the fair not only presented today’s most significant artists, but also turned its attention to rediscovering artists that have been overlooked. Toby Kamps, the organizer of Frieze New York’s Spotlight sections, which showcased single artists in each booth, stated that the goal of this area was to “expand the story of art history” and focus on artists who “haven’t yet got their due.” Although the Fair has been known to center primarily on new art, this year it was looking into the past and focusing in the dialogues that arise between contemporary and 20th-century. Among the galleries who highlighted this interest in their booths where Acquavella (New York), Lévy Gorvy (New York and London), Hauser & Wirth (Zurich) and Skarstedt (NewYork).

Damien Hirst at Gagosian Gallery. Photo courtesy: Artsy

There was also a specific attention to Latin American and Latino art, especially coming from Brazil. Henrique Faria Fine Art from New York showed art from midcentury modernist Brazilian artists Willys de Casto and Judith Lauand, Argentinian writer Mirtha Dermisache and Marisol among the works of young artists. Fortes Vilaça Gallery in the Main Section showed impressive works by Los Carpinteros and Adriana Varejão. An exciting announcement was the return of Damian Hirst to Gagosian Gallery, where in the most expensive booth, the best-known works done by Hirst where on display.

As part of its agenda to promote emerging art, two sections were set up at Frieze Art Fair: Frame and Projects. The Frame section, which features galleries under eight years old and offers an award for the best in the show, sponsored by Stella Artois and modest price of $7,500, offers the up-and-coming galleries the opportunity to show alongside blue chip galleries. This year the price was offered to Susan Cianciolo, whose work was presented by the gallery Bridget Donahue as a series of drawings, collages, and sculptures that Cianciolo made over the last 20 years. The Project section was curated by Cecilia Alemani where six initiatives were conceived for this section. Amongst the works that attracted attention were Anthea Hamilton’s green car and David Horovitz performance consisting on hiring pickpockets to place sculptures in visitor’s pockets.

Alfred Leslie. Photo courtesy: The New York Times

Artworks in the Spotlight initiative that unanimously gained attentions were three canvases from the 1970’s by Alfred Leslie at Bruce Silverstein, eerie and realistic paintings depicting the banal American culture of the 70’s. Another booth that gained attention was Gallery Yamaki from Kobe Japan with the work by Kimiyo Mishima. Her work showed a trash can filled with replicas of card-up boxes made out of ceramic.

An interesting occurrence was that for the first time, Guatemalan-based contemporary gallery Proyectos Ultravioleta as part of winning the Focus Stand Prize at Frieze London last year was granted the opportunity to show in New York. It displayed art from Akira Ikezoe, who presented his paintings and created an environment that seemed like a place “between Ikea and Magritte and felt like an industrial designer existentially adrift.” A significant accomplishment for a young gallery, who from the beginning has proven to be up to international standards through its cutting-edge montages and talented artists.

Although the Fair was over in a blink of an eye, the ripples of the event linger in the art world and keep the public eager for next year’s edition. Frieze Art Fair continues to prove that the art market is always hungry for more and not afraid to show it.

By: Gabriela Martínez de la Hoz

Photo courtesy: The Art Newspaper