Art Market

What Sold at Frieze Los Angeles 2022

Catherine Wagley
Feb 21, 2022 5:01PM

Camille Henrot, installation view in Hauser & Wirth’s booth at Frieze Los Angeles 2022. Photo by Casey Kelbaugh. Courtesy of Casey Kelbaugh/Frieze.

The first two iterations of Frieze Los Angeles felt novel, soaked so deeply in La La Land mystique that the stereotypes almost collapsed on themselves: set on the backlot of Paramount Studios in Hollywood, with Frieze Projects scattered across a set built to look like New York City. It was amusing to see work by L.A. artists taking over a fake version of the city long assumed to be the true U.S. art capital (even if L.A. galleries and artists have often been uninterested in that West-versus-East competition). And it was tempting to spend more time exploring this set, complete with bars and food trucks, than delving into the pristine, booth-lined tent.

This year, Frieze Los Angeles—back for the first time since 2020, relaunching as Omicron passes through the population—was less whimsical, more down-to-business. The tent, designed once again by Kulapat Yantrasast and his firm wHY architecture, was 40% bigger, accommodating 100 galleries instead of 70. It was constructed next door to the efficient, looming Beverly Hills Hilton hotel, a midcentury monument built by Conrad Hilton in 1955. With the cancellation of a public sculpture installation in the nearby Beverly Gardens Park, the big tent had little competition; there weren’t even many onsite restaurants to draw patrons away from the litany of booths.

Patrick Martinez and Jay Lynn Gomez, installation view in Charlie James’s booth at Frieze Los Angeles. Photo by Casey Kelbaugh. Courtesy of Casey Kelbaugh/Frieze.


If the lack of nourishment and extra projects made the fair feel austere, it also made the market impulse feel blatant and undeterred––in addition to making the fair feel relatively safe. “I laud Frieze for aiming on the side of safety,” said dealer Charlie James, who showed work by L.A. artists Patrick Martinez and Jay Lynn Gomez in Frieze’s Focus section––including an arresting collaborative relief by the two artists, pairing a neon, tile, and stucco assemblage by Martinez with a portrait on cardboard by Gomez. “I’m all about not testing my luck with this virus.”

James nearly sold out his booth, including 12 new paintings by Gomez, and also sold his gallery’s solo exhibition of Danie Cansino to a private Florida institution, a boon he attributes to the fair-week energy. “We’re really grateful, happy, and tired,” he said, acknowledging that the influx of outside collectors led to special opportunities (including a residency for one of his gallery’s artists through a Southern institution). Still, James, who opened his gallery in 2008, has been less reliant on collectors and institutions from elsewhere in recent years. “We are discernibly selling more and more on our home turf, and we have been for years,” he noted. “It’s our program growing, meeting a burgeoning audience.”

Mel Bochner, installation view of Street Sign (Seriously?), 2022. Photo by Casey Kelbaugh. Courtesy of Marc Selwyn Fine Art and Casey Kelbaugh/Frieze.

One of the long-time refrains about the L.A. market has been that the artists are here, but the city lacks a strong infrastructure and collector base. Another has been that West Side collectors won’t venture to the city’s Eastside. Both notions seem increasingly obsolete. New galleries have opened all over the city during the past decade, even as Frieze itself relocated to a quintessential West Side neighborhood, to the benefit of galleries operating nearby. “Beverly Hills has proved to be a central location between the east side and the west side and we saw collectors, artists, institutions and visitors from all across the city,” said Christine Messineo, appointed director of Frieze New York and Los Angeles this past November. “We’ve received lots of compliments. We’ll now spend some time evaluating the best place for us to be in 2023.”

Marc Selwyn Fine Art, located in Santa Monica, was walking distance from the Frieze tent. “There was a tremendous sense of excitement for Frieze in the community surrounding the fair,” said Marc Selwyn’s Ashley Duncan. “Our gallery had increased foot traffic from people who were visiting the area, and we supported the effort with three temporary public installations.” In collaboration with the city of Beverly Hills, the gallery installed a trio of public works: William Wegman videos in the windows of an empty department store soon to become Saks Fifth Avenue; an NFT of the late Lee Mullican’s work projected on the side of the Maison Margiela store; and Mel Bochner’s Street Sign (Seriously?) (2022)––an electronic sign, the kind usually used during construction projects, installed across from the Hilton, that declared “Blah Blah Blah,” “talk is cheap,” and “nothing ever changes.”

Installation view of Sean Kelly’s booth at Frieze Los Angeles 2022. Photo by Sebastiano Pellion di Persano. Courtesy of Sean Kelly, New York.

If Marc Selwyn has already rooted itself on the West Side, other galleries are following suit, and this iteration of Frieze coincides with a number of relocations—both among galleries already based in this city and galleries opening new spaces. Hauser & Wirth, which currently occupies an expansive downtown L.A. complex, will be opening a West Hollywood space in Fall 2022. “While L.A. is a global metropolis, it’s also a city comprised of unique communities with their own energy,” Marc Payot, the gallery’s president, said when they announced the new location in June, adding that their goal is “to become part of [these different communities’] fabric every day, all year”—a statement that seemed to acknowledge L.A.’s decentralized character while still vowing to conquer it.

Other galleries are choosing more central locations: Pace, which tried to open a short-lived L.A. gallery in the 1990s, will take over Kayne Griffin, a gallery in the Mid-Wilshire neighborhood. Lisson will open at 1037 N. Sycamore Avenue in Hollywood, while Sean Kelly Gallery’s new Los Angeles location will be just a half mile away, on Highland Avenue.

Sean Kelly, which plans to open this spring with an exhibition by Idris Khan, used the fair to feature the ​​London-based artist’s ethereal imagery. “We have had a fantastic response to Idris’s work and the excitement for his inaugural exhibition in L.A. has only grown,” said gallery partner Thomas Kelly, who is also Sean Kelly’s son and will run the L.A. space. “It has been very exciting being at Frieze L.A. knowing we will be opening a gallery here in the near future.” Sean Kelly Gallery sold work by Khan, in addition to a sculpture by Antony Gormley, titled Core (2017), from his “Polyhedra Works” series, a geometric figure assembled from cast iron hexagons.

Georg Baselitz, Eisdiele, 2020. © Georg Baselitz. Photo by Jochen Littkemann. Courtesy of Thaddaeus Ropac.

Jeff Koons, Gazing Ball (Antinous-Dionysus), 2013. © Jeff Koons. Courtesy of Pace Gallery.

Other notable sales include the following:

  • Thaddaeus Ropac sold Georg Baselitz’s Eisdiele (2020), a loose oil portrait of the artist’s wife Elke (one of Baselitz’s longtime subjects), for €1,350,000. In addition, the European gallery sold an untitled 1998 work by Robert Rauschenberg for $1.1 million.
  • Gladstone Gallery also sold a Rauschenberg painting for $1,100,000, as well as a wool knit canvas by Rosemarie Trockel for 800,000 EUR and a painting by Carroll Dunham for $850,000.Pace Gallery sold one of Jeff Koons’s Gazing Ball sculptures from 2013, a blue glass ball resting atop a classical bust, for under $3 million. The gallery also sold all five of the NFTs in its booth by Leo Villareal, from his “Cosmic Reef” series, which went for 2.0 ETH apiece.

Camille Henrot, installation view in Hauser & Wirth’s booth at Frieze Los Angeles 2022. Photo by Fredrik Nilsen. Courtesy of Hauser & Wirth.

  • Hauser & Wirth sold out its booth of paintings by the French artist Camille Henrot, who has never shown in Los Angeles before. The works, which combined sleek digital collage with expressive mark-making, ranged in price from $20,000 to $140,000.
  • White Cube sold a Beatriz Milhazes painting for $1,200,000 and collage for $200,000.
  • David Zwirner sold three paintings by Lisa Yuskavage––recent oil paintings on linen depicting voluptuous women in domestic settings, like Artist’s Model (2022), in which a nude woman poses amidst pink-on-pink cushions, carpets, and curtains. The works by Yuskavage ranged from $600,000 to $1.5 million. Zwirner also sold a painting by Alice Neel for $1 million.

Barkley L. Hendricks, Estelle, 1972. © Barkley L. Hendricks. Courtesy of the Estate of Barkley L. Hendricks and Jack Shainman Gallery, New York.

Thomas Houseago
Yosemite Day 5 - Storm at Hetch Hetchy, 2022
Xavier Hufkens
  • Xavier Hufkens sold out its booth of Thomas Houseago paintings, each with an asking price in the range of $350,000. One work, Purple Sunset on the Pool - Early Moonrise (for DH), was acquired by LACMA.
  • Jack Shainman Gallery sold a painting by the exceptional late portraitist Barkley L. Hendricks, Estelle (1972), for $1 million. The painting, a portrait of Estelle Johnson, a student at Connecticut College when Hendricks taught there. Since his death in 2017, Hendricks’s market has grown exponentially, spurred on by shows like the major institutional survey “Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power.” The gallery also sold Nina Chanel Abney’s Outdoor Dining #2, for $225,000; Toyin Ojih Odutola’s Accountability for $175,000; and a work by Akinsanya Kambon, which went to a museum collection for under $100,000.

Installation view in Michael Rosenfeld Gallery’s booth at Frieze Los Angeles 2022. Courtesy of Michael Rosenfeld Gallery LLC, New York.

Dealer Michael Rosenfeld said the booth had been well received, noting the presentation “builds upon enthusiasm generated by landmark exhibitions” including “Soul of a Nation” and “Charles White: A Retrospective,” while it also “complements” the current LACMA show “Black American Portraits.”

During Charles White’s years in Los Angeles, he was more revered by his students—a generation that included Timothy White and Suzanne Jackson (whose works were featured at Frieze L.A., in Ortuzar Projects booth)––than local institutions. Some of those students ended up starting artist’s run spaces and small galleries to support their peers and mentors.

To Frieze’s credit, it continues to offer a platform to younger and smaller galleries and project spaces through its curated Focus Section. This year, Amanda Hunt, who recently joined the yet-to-open Lucas Museum of Narrative Art as Director of Public Program and Creative Practice, curated the section. As in the two previous iterations of Frieze Los Angeles, it featured exclusively local galleries.

Amia Yokoyama and Timo Fahler, installation view in Stanley’s booth at Frieze Los Angeles 2022. Photo by Casey Kelbaugh. Courtesy of Casey Kelbaugh/Frieze.

In addition to Charlie James’s sales of work by Patrick Martinez and Jay Lynn Gomez, notable sales from the Focus section include:

  • Two works by Melvino Garretti, a longtime Los Angeles artist who marries narrative and expression with impressive ease, that Parker Gallery sold, priced between $25,000 and $35,000.
  • Stained glass sculptures by Timo Fahler (ranging from $7,500 to $30,000) and ceramics by Amia Yokoyama (ranging from $8,000 to $15,000) sold by Stanley’s, which sold out its booth.
  • Five felted wool tapestries by Pauline Shaw, sold by in lieu for between $10,000 and $20,000. Shaw’s work mines the history of craft, while also exploring personal history and spirituality.
  • An installation by Sarah Rosalena, an artist who merges her scientific explorations with her visual research into more hands-on, intimate, and indigenous craft traditions, which Garden sold for $40,000. The intimate local gallery also sold two ceramic works by Rosalena, each for $6,000.

Sarah Rosalena Brady, installation view in Garden’s booth at Frieze Los Angeles 2022. Photo by Ian Byers-Gamber. Courtesy of the artist and Garden, Los Angeles.

Garden, which has operated out of its founders’ home since 2017, built its program around art with an ecological bent. Prior to this iteration of Frieze, the gallery had never participated in an international fair. “The fair was a great success,” said Zachary Korol-Gold, Garden’s co-founder. “We placed many of Sarah Rosalena’s works and had the opportunity to discuss her practice with a number of institutions. Sarah's work deconstructs scientific visions through Wixárika craft”––a form of storytelling-through-art originated with indigenous people of Mexico––“a uniquely West Coast story with digital and space technologies meeting indigenous practices.” According to Korol-Gold, the fair “was an ideal context to introduce her work and our program.”

Catherine Wagley