Through Sunday at Frieze New York’s impressive white tent on Randall’s Island, visitors can snap selfies under a giant table designed by artist Robert Therrien, sip from water bottles ornamented with Laercio Redondo’s designs, and watch a feminist parade orchestrated by Lara Schnitger. While pristine design and eye-catching spectacle are integral to any art fair, some of this edition’s best and most important works also reside in simpler, easily overlooked corners. Over 190 galleries spanning 30 countries are presenting this year; here, we culled 11 of our favorite booths from the mix. Whether you’re looking for fully immersive experiences or subtle portraiture, overlooked talents or contemporary innovators, here’s where to start.
Main Section, Booth E3
With works by Ann Agee, Ramiro Gomez, Anthony Iacono, Judith Linhares, Marth Wilson, and Martin Wong
Installation view of P.P.O.W’s booth at Frieze New York, 2018. Photo by Mark Blower. Courtesy of Mark Blower/Frieze.
Shoe lovers, head to Ann Agee’s installation at P.P.O.W’s booth immediately: The Brooklyn-based artist created over 200 small stoneware, earthenware, and porcelain sculptures that resemble footwear. Some are realistically detailed while others are more abstract, spanning what looks like a patent leather loafer to a bunch of blocks. Their collective title, Hand Warmers (2017–18), evokes the process of firing these pieces in a hot kiln, and emphasizes the unique act of making each object. In contrast to that personal touch, Agee signed each work with some variation of her “logo” (“Agee MFG,” “Agee Manufacturing Co.”) to humorously hint at a much larger, more corporate operation.
Main Section, Booth B5
With works by Doug Aitken, Jules de Balincourt, Ilse D’Hollander, Yayoi Kusama, Alice Neel, Maria Nepomuceno, Chris Ofili, Celia Paul, Conrad Shawcross, Do Ho Suh, and Sarah Sze
Installation view of Victoria Miro’s booth at Frieze New York, 2018. Photo by Mark Blower. Courtesy of Mark Blower/Frieze.
There’s something holy about the women in Celia Paul’s paintings—they always seem to be haloed in a strange light. A small room within Victoria Miro’s booth, which holds five works by Paul, has a near ecclesiastical feel. Her quiet canvases are filled with grays, the nubby texture of her linen adding a little roughness. In addition to three portraits, the artist is also exhibiting two seascapes. The latter, priced between £20,000 and £40,000, had both sold by the end of Wednesday, as had a self-portrait.All the works are lovely, haunting, and moody. Paul’s sitters, clothed in loose garments and rendered against non-descript backdrops, always appear to be alone, deep in thought. According to Victoria Miro’s Anna Fisher, the gallery opted to show the British painter at Frieze New York, considering she doesn’t yet have U.S. representation. Plus, a Hilton Als-curated survey of her work is now on view at the Yale Center for British Art.
Main Section, Booth B13
With works by Kara Walker, Erin Shirreff, Leonardo Drew, Jeffrey Gibson, Arturo Herrera, and Vik Muniz
Installation view of Sikkema Jenkins & Co.’s booth at Frieze New York, 2018. Photo by Mark Blower. Courtesy of Mark Blower/Frieze.
Kara Walker’s large-scale Rift of the Medusa (2017)—roughly 138 by 177 inches—riffs on Théodore Géricault’s famed Raft of the Medusa (1818–19). Walker replaces the nautical wreckage depicted in the original with a collage of gouache and sumi ink marks that still suggests fracturing wood and tumbling waves. At the helm is a long-haired figure who holds what appears to be a giant penis (or is it a snake?) above its lips. The figure’s gender and sexuality remain ambiguous; its powerful blackness, however, is clear. Erin Shirreff, too, explicitly borrows others’ artworks for her own purposes. She takes photographs of photographs of sculptures that she finds in catalogs, and then further abstracts them—printing them onto sheets of aluminum, cutting them into shapes, and arranging within a lightbox-style frame. A viewer’s head is liable to spin when trying to unravel the layers of art and image evoked.
Installation view of Empty Gallery’s booth at Frieze New York, 2018. Photo by Mark Blower. Courtesy of Mark Blower/Frieze.
Walk through a plastic curtain, and you’ve entered the sonic realm of Los Angeles-based artist Jacqueline Kiyomi Gordon. She’s mic’d the exterior of the booth to record the sounds of the fair. They pass into a digital program, which alters them and expels the resulting noises through two sculptures (several cast concrete speakers and one that’s real, all mounted on painted steel poles). Additional sculptures—priced between $6,000 and $9,500—made from wool and other fabrics, resembling blankets and garments, help absorb the noise. Gordon tells Artsy that she was considering the word “absorptive” and all its possible connotations. “What does it mean to be ‘absorptive?’ To feel ‘absorptive?’” she asks. The aurally focused exhibition is on-brand for this Hong Kong gallery, which also runs the Berlin-based vinyl record label Empty Editions.
Installation view of Pace Gallery’s booth at Frieze New York, 2018. Photo by Mark Blower. Courtesy of Mark Blower/Frieze.
If the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s recent David Hockney retrospective left you wanting more, the Pace booth delivers. You can find digital drawings that feature cigarettes, flowers, and Hockney’s own paintings and visage. Creating his work on an iPad or iPhone has made his studio more mobile—one of the prints, depicting a doctor’s waiting room, suggests Hockney made it on the spot. A manipulated photograph,In the Studio, December 2017, features Hockney standing in his studio among his paintings.By Wednesday evening, 30 works had already sold, each priced at $26,000 (they’re all editioned). If you still want to delve deeper into Hockney’s oeuvre, Pace’s location on West 25th Street in Chelsea is exhibiting new paintings and photographs through May 12th; and a selection of his drawings, etchings, paintings, and photo-collages made between 1958 and 1983 are on view at the Frieze booth of London’s Offer Waterman Gallery.
Installation view of Gavin Brown’s Enterprise’s booth at Frieze New York, 2018. Photo by Mark Blower. Courtesy of Mark Blower/Frieze.
Arthur Jafa’s six new editioned photographic artworks resist hierarchy: Disparate images, both found and original, all receive the same treatment. Screenshots; a photograph of Kim Kardashian and Kanye West; and a picture of a W.E.B. DuBois book cover are all around the same size, lined in rows and columns against a neutral gray backdrop. “They are sort of his uploads of the meticulously organized files on his computer,” says the gallery’s Kyla McMillan. “He contemplates different elements of culture, other aspects of black identity.” Some of the most instantly recognizable shots are portraits of contemporary and deceased celebrities (Donald Glover, Justin Bieber, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Marilyn Monroe). Others are more elusive. After visiting Frieze, head to Gavin Brown uptown: On May 4th, the gallery’s Harlem location opens an in-depth Jafa exhibition.
Installation view of Martos Gallery’s booth at Frieze New York, 2018. Courtesy of Martos Gallery.
Martos is giving away a publication entitled Class Notes, filled with scanned pages from Dan Asher’s 1991–92 notebooks (the booth itself features a suite of his paintings—mostly portraits painted and drawn with frantic, energetic lines). The New York-based artist, who died in 2010, created wacky, inventive, and funny scrawls. One page features what looks like a mock-up of a license plate: “ISUE4YOU,” it reads. Asher wrote “American Jurisprudence” underneath. Another page merely reads “self-cleaning outhouse (privy).” Altogether, the scribbles enhance the viewer’s understanding of Asher’s wry and ever-inventive mind. “It’s like a collection of his brain,” says the gallery’s Ebony L. Haynes.
Main Section, Booth A5
With works by Gert and Uwe Tobias
Installation view of Rodolphe Janssen’s booth at Frieze New York, 2018. Photo by Mark Blower. Courtesy of Mark Blower/Frieze.
Romanian-German brothers Gert and Uwe Tobias exhibit fairy tale-inspired ceramics and woodcuts on canvas that infuse this Belgian gallery’s light-blue booth with a sense of fantasy. The paintings at first appear to be simple, pastel depictions of women, flowers, and birds against patterned backdrops—yet each distinct section of the canvas actually derives from a separate woodcut that the artists used as a stamp. The accompanying egg-shaped vases feature pictures of winged animals and a cat’s face. As of Wednesday evening, ceramics priced at $6,000; a woodcut at $75,000; and other works ranging from $15,000 to $22,000 had already sold.
Main Section, Booth A11
With works by Diego, MADSAKI, Tenga, and more
Installation view of Kaikai Kiki’s booth at Frieze New York, 2018. Photo by Mark Blower. Courtesy of Mark Blower/Frieze.
You can’t miss the booth for Kaikai Kiki, the Tokyo gallery helmed by Takashi Murakami. Street artist Diego’s bright canvases give the booth’s interior the impression of graffitied walls; gritty bubble letters read “rice baller,” “Karaoke,” and “Fuji/Yama.” Paintings by MADSAKI hang overtop, depicting cartoon characters with vulgar language emanating from their speech bubbles: “cunnilinguist,” “shouldn’t have taken that acid.” The artist tells Artsy that he considers these pieces to be self-portraits, reflections of his high school experiences in New Jersey. Nearby, Japanese artist Tenga shows rough-edged plaques that resemble torn cardboard with cartoon characters—a Smurf; Wally Gator—painted on. “I’m trying to create a universal language,” he says of the deceptively cheap-looking pieces, which are actually all carefully carved from wood.
Installation view of Galerie Kornfeld’s booth at Frieze New York, 2018. Photo by Mark Blower. Courtesy of Mark Blower/Frieze.
Filled with dark, brushy paintings of jungles and mountains, Galerie Kornfeld’s booth becomes something of a colorful forest itself: visitors wind around green, pink, and gray walls and columns to discover works from the 1960s through the ’80s by the late Georgian artist Natela Iankoshvili. While she has pieces in major national institutions, this Berlin-based gallery hopes to introduce her oeuvre to a more international audience. Iankoshvili’s skies—comprised of distinct blue, yellow, white, and black brushstrokes—undulate like waves. The paintings “look as fresh as if they were painted yesterday,” says the gallery’s director, Dr. Tilman Treusch. The selection here suggests a potent, underrecognized talent. Prices range from €5,000 to €7,500 for works on paper, to €200,000 to €300,000 for a painting.
Need a respite from the tent’s unforgiving brightness (which makes the artwork look good, the humans less so)? Step into the blackened room at Marian Goodman’s booth, where Pierre Huyghe’s L’Expédition Scintillante, Acte 2, Untitled (Light Box) (2002) plays. French composer Erik Satie’s gentle composition, Gymnopédies (no. 3 and no. 4) (1888), emanates into the darkness while a light show plays between two massive troughs—one suspended from the ceiling, one on the ground. Swirling smoke enhances the ambiance. (Tell those around you to put away their phones and just enjoy the experience.) First exhibited in Austria in 2002, and previously shown at LACMA, the work now arrives to delight New York audiences.