Art Fair Insider: Frieze New York is Upon Us

May 8, 2013 4:40PM

By Ted Loos

Are you having what Yogi Berra called “déjà vu all over again?” If you’re in the New York art world, you might be. That’s because Armory Arts Week was a mere two months ago. Now artists, gallerists, gallerinas, dealers, connoisseurs, collectors and flâneurs are gearing up yet again for another jam-packed week of talks, shows, parties and fun, anchored by Frieze New York.

The fair starts Thursday and runs all the way through Monday (extra time to do business), having taken the world by storm last year, in its first iteration. Like Art Basel Miami did when it launched in 2001, Frieze New York immediately reshaped the entire art world calendar. People felt that they just couldn’t miss out on this sister fair of the London stalwart. (That fact, along with the brand new Art Basel Hong Kong coming up later this month, means that for dealers, May is no longer a time to put on a nice group show for the summer and head to the beach.)

Herewith, the top 10 things to look forward to during Frieze Week.

1. Sarah Sze. Sze’s intricate, fragile-looking installations, built high and wide with random household goods and materials she finds everywhere, are among the more successful sculptures of recent years. The booth of Tanya Bonakdar Gallery will show her work, and as a bonus it gives you a mini-preview of the Venice Biennale, where Sze has been chosen to represent her country in the U.S. Pavilion. Her huge and sprawling piece Triple Point will be on view there all summer and into fall.

2. Mary Heilmann. A true master of modern painting, Heilmann has been having a flourish of interest in her work lately—she’s in her 70s and still going strong. No wonder her savvy geometric abstractions are on view in no less than four galleries, including 303 and Hauser & Wirth.

3. Spencer Finch. I recently visited Finch in his Brooklyn studio, and I have a growing admiration for his artworks, which are hard to categorize. He takes scientific principles and natural observations and turns them into color, light, and form, all the while reminding us that an exact transfer of data to art is basically impossible. There’s a beautiful dreamer quality to everything he does, so look for this artist’s work at James Cohan (the Chelsea gallery also has a big show now) and Yvon Lambert.

4. Sculpture Park. One of the advantages of Frieze New York is that it’s in May, with the likelihood of great weather. What better fun than to check out the dozen or so outdoor sculptures assembled by curator Tom Eccles right next to the main Frieze tent itself? Certainly Paul McCarthy’s 80-foot-high inflatable piece Balloon Dog will get some attention. Down, boy.

5. Frieze Launch Party. If you’re a VIP (if not, please stop reading now, it’s unseemly), there’s an opening soiree on Wednesday at MoMA PS 1. They figured since you’re already willing to go to Randall’s Island, heading out to Queens won’t faze you. Promised is a “very special live performance,” as well as cocktails galore.

Tune in tomorrow for the rest of the list.

Ted Loos writes on wine, art and architecture for a variety of publications, including The New York Times, Vogue and You can follow him on Twitter at @LoosLips.