The 10 Best Booths at Frieze New York
At the ferry stop for boats heading to Randall’s Island this morning, a security guard called, “Frieze art! Art show! Art show!” Step right up. Like a circus, Frieze New York takes place under a giant tent, and draws in bustling crowds that are eager to take in the main attraction.
This year’s fair, which runs through Sunday, gathers over 190 galleries, hailing from over 25 countries. Color reigns in the aisles, from Vigo’s pinkwashed booth of vibrant, larger-than-life ceramic sculptures at Pippy Houldsworth. Don’t miss P.P.O.W’s presentation of countless paintings by
Watching well-heeled collectors march on and off 1995 fabric-covered replica of a New York City bus (priced at $550,000) is an entertainment in itself. Climb inside the vehicle, and you’ll find the artist’s reliably quirky community of city people: a blond straphanger with huge purple glasses; a boy in a Lions jersey; and a prim, fur-wearing woman with a disapproving expression. Like much of Grooms’s work, the piece celebrates New York itself and the “the weird and wonderful people” the artist meets, as associate director Max Lefort told Artsy. “Don’t forget to pay,” a collector said as he stepped off, nodding towards the meter by the driver’s seat, which requests the nostalgia-inducing fare of “$1.25 or 1 token.”
Main Section, Booth A1
With works by Marina Adams, Lisa Brice, Jimmy Desana, Natalie Frank, Elizabeth Neel, Tom Sachs, and David Benjamin Sherry
Salon 94 devotes a nook of its impressive booth to twisted, fairytale-inspired gouache and chalk pastels on paper. In one work, a woman’s chin appears to sprout a second face with a bright-blue nose; another piece features a woman with a petrified stare, as a snake with wide-open jaws unfurls beside her. The fantastical, psychologically charged pieces are rife with floating heads, shadowy background characters, and a menagerie of animals (rabbits, birds, reptiles, a pig).
Nearby, blue-and-white silhouettes of female figures are equally haunting. “We just started working with Natalie, and we thought that both [Lisa and Natalie] present alternative views of women’s sexual identity,” said gallery partner Alissa Friedman. The booth also includes tamer reprieves, such as abstract paintings by Shop Chair ($2,500)—a chair with numerous round cutouts that may resemble Swiss cheese to the hungry fairgoer.
sculptures burst with color and charm. The artist makes these zany, multi-part constructions (priced between $28,000 and $50,000 apiece) from dyed basswood and flocking, a sprayed fiber that creates a velvety texture. For the first time, he’s created works that interact with the plinths they sit upon. The strategy makes his artworks appear even more alive, at times evoking a drooping body part or a thriving plant.
Biomorphic references abound, from a big blue egg in Scanner (biotic/abiotic) (2019) to the intestinal tract–shaped Biochasm (2019). “I think all of them have this really delicate balance between primordial and futuristic,” said associate director Rosie Motley. She added that Ronay has an extensive “editing” process: He makes a series of charcoal drawings before selecting one to transform into three dimensions.
The “yeehaw agenda,” which is infiltrating contemporary pop music and fashion, sees non-white people reclaiming cowboy culture. Despite the images peddled by Hollywood and spaghetti westerns, about 25 percent of cowboys were black in the late 1800s. The young artist
With a single loom, he merges European, African, and American weaving techniques to create expansive, contemporary narratives about man and horse. The works are self-portraits, in a sense, as the artist often models his figures off of himself. The colorful composition when no softness came (2019) features a green body leaning backwards against an off-white horse, which gallups across a fuschia background. With uneven edges and dangling threads, the work revels in its own imperfections.
Victoria Miro’s booth, at the front of the fair, is prime selfie real-estate. The floor is covered in a field of mirrored spheres, an iteration of ever-photogenic Narcissus Garden (1966–present). I couldn’t resist taking a picture of my reflection in the orbs and posting it on Instagram. So are we all narcissists, looking at the work? “Kind of,” Miro hedged.
On the wall behind the installation, the gallerist mounted a nearly 30-foot-long canvas by
Look for long enough at painting and canvas collages (each priced between $5,000 and $14,000), and they’ll gradually resolve into depictions of body parts. I’d be a shitty girlfriend (2019) features abstracted pink legs and a hand with nails painted bright red; while in the background, blue eyes peer from a pink face. The collages on the opposite wall extract and reconfigure elements of the painting. One work appears to be a bare breast atop a zebra pattern; another resembles a woman’s nude body, seen from behind. The bright, funky palette and Faux’s thin, swerving line make her oeuvre seem like a feminist response to the jarringly sensual work of
mermaids (sexy, feminine, great hair, can breathe underwater). Her trio of sculptures for Frieze (priced at $8,000 each) feature supple orange, yellow, and blue mermaid tails flopping out of industrial washing machines. The sculptor appears to be giving not just the mythical creatures a good wash, but their reputation, as well. Sapped of their quintessential human characteristics, these mermaids—and the tropes about women that accompany them—are reduced to mere fish bits. Erlanger has previously exhibited her tails in real laundromats; merging the fantastical and mundane, she makes the creatures appear banal, while making our world look more magical.
Gagosian’s booth sticks out like a leather jacket in a Lilly Pulitzer shop. The mega-gallery decided on black floors and walls for its booth, which is replete with predominantly black-and-white works by
Main Section, Booth D13
With works by Mitch Epstein, Louis Fratino, Zipora Fried, Jeffrey Gibson, Brenda Goodman, Sheila Hicks, Vik Muniz, Erin Shirreff, Kara Walker, and Luiz Zerbini
Sikkema Jenkins is already looking towards the Whitney Biennial (opening May 17th), which will include its artist, geometric abstraction Matemático Vermelho (2019) and lush Garden Tapestry (ca. 1975), the latter of linen, cotton, wool and silk, which resembles a collection of colorfully bound and freely flowing threads ($400,000).
The gallery is also showing paintings by two artists it just began representing: figurative works by
Buenos Aires–based artist
Familia (Daniel, Kinga y Maite) (2019), priced at $18,000, features a green canvas child, sitting against the wall and playing with a Kermit the Frog doll, while its red-and-black-canvas parents engage in kinbaku—Japanese bondage. One parent hangs above the ground, while the other lies on the carpet, strung up by its legs. “It makes sense with the work of Mariela when we think about suspension and restriction and in this environment of restriction,” said gallery director Leopol Mones Cazon. “How much can you support?”
Alina Cohen is a Staff Writer at Artsy.