Siddall said what was missing was one clearly defined moment for collectors and curators to travel to L.A.
“Over the last five years, the art world has really continued to grow here, and the only thing it lacked, really, was this kind of moment to celebrate that extraordinary cultural scene,” she said. “It’s a city that had all the right ingredients; it just didn’t have that moment to tie it all together.”
Even so, Frieze dipped its toe into the L.A. waters: The fair’s modest size of 70 galleries was less than half the size of Frieze’s London and New York fairs, which have around 160 and 190 exhibitors, respectively. That means the directors could better ensure that each gallery chosen to participate received the attention from collectors they might not have gotten in a larger fair.
The choice of Paramount Pictures Studios helped combat the traffic and provided the fair with a central location, while allowing space to erect one Frieze’s signature white tents—this one designed by wHY, the studio founded by L.A.–based architect Kulapat Yantrasast. Paramount’s New York backlot provided additional square footage for Frieze Projects and a number of pop-up restaurants; it also caused double-takes for visitors in town from the Big Apple, with the rainy weather making the sets of SoHo apartments and subway stops look uncannily real.