Frieze New York’s signature serpentining white tent on Randall’s Island was as bright and airy as ever this week, but the energy inside was subdued.
This was not unexpected. Frieze this year fell on a week following a string of major European art events, including Art Brussels
, Art Cologne
, and Gallery Weekend Berlin
and just before the opening of the Venice Biennial
—with Documenta, Skulptur Projekte Münster, and Art Basel in Basel just around the corner. It is newly decoupled from the emerging art fair NADA (which now takes place in early March, during The Armory Show), but this year coincides with TEFAF New York
, an older, genteel European affair
. The spring New York auctions are also newly decoupled from Frieze week, taking place two weeks from now to avoid Venice congestion.
With all of that action on the calendar, many said Frieze felt a tiny bit anticlimactic this year, despite reports of strong sales. Adding to that anticlimax, was the fact that a number of galleries seemed to have wrapped up most of their business while the Frieze tent was being set up, hedging their bets by confirming deals with collectors as fair previews were sent out.
Los Angeles’s David Kordansky Gallery
sold out its booth of
paintings, ranging from $22,000 to $110,000 each, to both collectors and institutions, building off momentum from her concurrent appearance in the Whitney Biennial. Gallery director Irina Stark said, “There is a waiting list for the works, so lots of works have been placed while sending out the previews.”
Brazilian gallery Mendes Wood DM
had also mostly pre-sold its booth, largely to Brazilian and U.S. collectors who’d put things on hold after seeing them via email and at the gallery’s opening in New York on Tuesday. The works—by
, 2016 Turner Prize nominee
—ranged between $10,000 and $50,000.
“[Collectors] just came to close everything,” said head of sales Martin Aguilera, who is based at the gallery’s New York location (the others are in São Paulo and Brussels).
The bulk of Hauser & Wirth
’s paintings and sculptures by American artist
, sold on the range from $150,000 to $300,000 on opening day, going to both major museums and private collections, according to the gallery. It was her first presentation with Hauser & Wirth since she joined the mega-gallery from New York’s Salon 94.