7 Standout Booths at Frieze New York
Frieze New York’s preview opened yesterday on an idyllic spring day with its SO-IL-designed serpentine tent awaiting an eager crowd of VIPs. The fair has historically brought together a finely curated group of galleries hailing mainly from Europe and North America. This year is no different, with galleries bringing uncommonly sophisticated and ambitious offerings to the tent. Here are seven booths you shouldn’t overlook on your stroll through the aisles.
For each of the past three editions of the fair, New York doyenne Marian Goodman has dedicated her booth to one artist from her roster: last year to Danh Vo and, in 2013, to performance artist Tino Sehgal. This year, Goodman focuses on Paris- and Turin-based Arte Povera artist Giuseppe Penone in a presentation that takes fairgoers out of the tent and into a museum—or a forest. Within the booth’s towering walls (the highest I’ve ever seen at a fair) highlights include pieces from Penone’s iconic “Albero” (Tree) series (begun in 1969), 15-foot-tall sculptures carved from felled fir and cedar trees, as well as his intoxicating Respirare l’ombra (Breathing the Shadow, 2008), laurel leaves and bronze caged in metallic wire mesh that takes up one entire wall.
Hauser & Wirth
Facilitating a conversation between the artists in their program is something Hauser & Wirth does especially well, and the gallery’s booths (often organized by outside curators) have upped the ante of fair presentations. At Frieze New York this year, the gallery’s eclectic roster is represented beautifully through a dialogue between Dieter Roth and Isa Genzken (an iconic Roth “Tischmatten” piece and two towering Genzken sculptures converse) on one end, and a Paul McCarthy charcoal drawing and Louise Bourgeois sculpture on the other end, as well as works by Roni Horn and Monika Sosnowksa. It’s all underscored by Martin Creed’s brightly colored, kidlike stripes painted across the booth’s walls.
While artists historically shy away from visiting fairs, Frieze has always been the exception. Elizabeth Dee takes the artist’s presence one step further in a presentation that incorporates artists voices through pull quotes featured prominently on the booth walls. For example, the space above three of Philippe Decrauzat’s wavy graphic pieces reads: “I like to intervene in existing narratives, by taking a conceptual or graphic element and giving it a new role for an interpretation.” The text, though at first slightly offputting, ends up being a valuable entry point for the often difficult-to-access conceptual practices of many of Dee’s artists—like wall texts but better.
Louise Bourgeois’s dangling red legs will lure any discerning collector into Cheim & Read’s booth this year. The presentation reads like a “greatest hits” of sorts for the gallery. It features paintings and sculpture from their diverse, cross-generational lineup: works by Lynda Benglis, Adam Fuss, Joan Mitchell, Jack Pierson, Jenny Holzer, Juan Uslé, Ghada Amer, Ron Gorchov, and Barry McGee, mostly made post-2000 (including brand new works by Amer and Gorchov). While the group could be construed as a bit random in any other setting, it oddly works in their breezy booth—ripe for the picking.
Gavin Brown’s enterprise
It’s now expected that Gavin Brown will provide some type of interactive art-meets-entertainment display at Frieze New York’s preview day. (Lest we forget Brown and actor Mark Ruffalo serving sausages in 2012 in a Rirkrit Tiravanija-inspired piece, or Bjarne Melgaard’s plush installation in 2013, which fairgoers were encouraged to jump into and roll around in.) Brown’s presentations walk the line between brilliant and gimmicky. But needless to say, they’re always crowd-pleasers. This year, Jonathan Horowitz asks the audience to make his sole work in the booth, entitled 700 Dots. Viewers are given instructions on how to paint a solid black dot. It must be eight inches in diameter, and participants must use only paint, brushes, and canvas—no ruler, compass, or pencil allowed. In return, the ad hoc studio assistants get a check from Horowitz for $20. That means 700 dots costs Horowitz $14,000 in labor (the price tag on the piece is reportedly $100,000 per group of 100 dots).
Nolan’s booth this year is a magnet for curators and collectors alike. Three pieces by Richard Artschwager anchor the space: an unusual 1980 “Handle” work and two of the late artist’s mouth-dropping cowhide “Chair/Chairs,” of which he only made 100. Collector favorite, Berlin-based Jorinde Voigt (who releases a book this week and who also has work in Johann König’s booth) takes over one corner of the booth with her lyrical gold-leaf-and-pastel-on-paper works. The opposite corner features an interesting juxtaposition between artist’s artist Barry Le Va’s painted cutout collage work and Wardell Milan’s utopian, collage-based photograph. (You likely won’t hear the two artists’ names uttered together ever again.)
Another unusual, but brilliant, pairing is at David Zwirner Gallery, where the split-personality booth is divided between two solo presentations. One side features signature small-scale, mixed-media works on paper and the beautifully misshapen and rough papier-mâché sculptures of Austrian Franz West. The main attraction, though, is his salon-style wall L’Art pour l’Art (Art for Art’s Sake) (1973–97), the title itself an embodiment of West’s artistic spirit. Meanwhile, American minimalist John McCracken counters West’s quirky imperfection with his flawless, candy-colored fiberglass-and-resin sculptures, including a set of his iconic leaning planks.
With over 190 booths at the fair, whittling the “best” down to seven is an impossible task, so a hat-tip to the following notable mentions is more than warranted: Salon 94’s expansive female-dominated booth, with Laurie Simmons’s and Marilyn Minter’s works in mischievous conversation, a large-scale painting by Lorna Simpson that comes from the same series that debuted in Okwui Enwezor’s “All the World’s Futures” last week, and the delicate-meets-hardcore jewelry of sculptor Kara Hamilton; Kate MacGarry’s sparse but refreshingly textural booth, where works by Josh Blackwell, Marcus Coates, Florian Meisenberg, and Francis Upritchard play off one another; Standard (OSLO)’s solo booth featuring Ian Cheng’s virtual world; Andrea Rosen Gallery’s Michael St. John-curated booth, featuring the likes of William Eggleston and Dash Snow; Galerie Buchholz’s brilliant pairing of cross-generational counterparts (and Venice favorites) Simon Denny and Isa Genzken; and The Box’s presentation of Judith Bernstein’s sexually charged two-dimensional works.