Art fairs are as much social occasions as they are aesthetic events, and correspondingly the unending stream of parties and VIP soirees that surround them are as much a part of the experience as the fairs themselves. Believe it or not, compared to the average Art Basel Miami Beach or Armory Week, the inaugural Frieze New York appears to be relatively light on such extra-curricular activities. Given that 2012 is the mega-fair's first year, it has yet to be completely overrun by random promoters looking for high-brow tie-ins.
That does not mean that there isn't a respectable swarm of events that people will be talking about — and scheming to get into — this week. So, for our readers' amusement, ARTINFO has rounded up a calender of some of the choicer affairs, complete with a (highly subjective, obviously) "Coolness Factor" score, and some sense of how hard it will be to get in. Enjoy!
Wednesday, May 2
—Frieze NY Kick-off party, MoMA PS1, 8:00-11:00 p.m.
Frieze Week kicks off with some thumping electronica at the official opening party, which goes down inside MoMA PS1’s Performance Dome. Martha Wainwright will perform alongside the "Kraftwerk — Retrospective 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8" installation, gracing the audience with melodic Edith Piaf covers, original songs, and a special DJ set by Mark Ronson.
Coolness Factor: 8. This is probably the coolest party open to the public this week.
Accessibility: Tickets are $25 in advance, $50 at the door.
Thursday, May 3
—Artists Space Club Nights: NEIN POP, subMercer 147 1/2 Mercer Street, 10 p.m.-4 a.m.
Fashion icon DJ Princess Julia, a veteran of the London club scene, will perform four separate sets between May 3rd and May 6th with guests including artist Matthew Higgs and Jon Santos. Saturday will include a performance by No Bra, a nearly-uncategorizable electro-pop act fronted by the melancholy long-haired artist Susanne Oberbeck.
Coolness Factor: 8. Considering DJ Princess Julia’s resume, this could be a great way to replicate hanging out with Grace Jones in the early '80s — that is, if you’re not already too exhausted. Then again, partying is hard work. Those guys were probably pretty exhausted too.
Accessibility: Tickets for a queue jump are $20 for all nights, $10 for a single night. Free entry for Artists Space members.
—Artbook + Fantom Release Party for Fantom 09, The Standard East Village, 9:00 p.m. – 11:00 p.m.
Issue 09 of Fantom will feature Elisabeth Biondi, Alex Gartenfeld, Leyla Gediz, K8 Hardy, Josh Kline, Martin Klimas, Marco Lorenzi, Francesco Vezzoli, and more. The event will take place at the lavish Penthouse of the Standard East Village, sponsored by Russian Standard vodka.
Coolness Factor: 4. We've been to the Top of the Standard before, but the organic vodka sounds tasty.
Accessibility: This is invite only.
Friday, May 4
—Creative Time Gala, The Roseland Ballroom, 7:00 p.m.–12:30 a.m.
To celebrate Creative Time’s 40th Anniversary Spring Gala moves to its grandest venue to date, at the Roseland Ballroom. The black tie event will feature speaker Ann Pasternak, a live and silent auction, and dancing well into the night.
Coolness Factor: 9. Creative Time is a pretty cool organization so we expect them to throw a pretty rockin’ gala.
Accessibility: Since it’s a gala, tickets will be expensive — so you’re only getting in if you shell out the big bucks.
—Lana Del Rey's Mulberry Dinner, Crown Restaurant
Super-recent, intensily divisive pop sensation Lana Del Rey has been snagged to perform at British luxury brand Mulberry’s Frieze week bash. A major Frieze week sponsor, this will be party with exclusive invites, but also perhaps one of the most talked about. (If you want a preview, see Lana Del Rey's previous Mulberry dinner performance in London, here.)
Coolness Factor: Really depends on how you feel about Lana Del Rey!
Accessibility: You probably won’t be able to get in if you haven’t already been invited.
—Frieze Week Art Party, Dagny & Barstow, 264 Bowery, 6:00–9:00 p.m.
Online collector’s spot ArtStar, high-end women’s boutique Dagny & Barstow, and Jess Hodin of Winston Art Group band together to throw a Frieze Week bash that is just for the Lower East Side gallery crews. Don’t miss the chance to also get 15 percent off anything in the store during the party – just don’t spill champagne on it first. Cocktails will be served by St. Germain.
Coolness Factor: 4. The possibility of partying AND discount shopping at the same time makes this party unique, we'll say that.
Accessibility: Look for the invite in your email.
Saturday, May 5
—Frieze Week Gallery Brunches, 535 West 22nd Street, 10:00 a.m–2:00 p.m.
Ten Chelsea galleries — Asya Geisberg Gallery, Yancey Richardson Gallery, P.P.O.W., Morgan Lehman Gallery, Churner and Churner, Newman Popiashvili Gallery, Horton Gallery, Monya Rowe Gallery, Josée Bienvenu Gallery, and ZieherSmith — will host VIP brunches and private viewings during the early hours on Saturday.
Coolness Factor: 6. Though the lack of any dancing this early in the morning drags this one down, this should also be a fine place for some actual, you know, talk about art, which is a good thing.
Accessibility: This is just for Frieze VIPs, or lucky press.
—Art Talks with Allan Sekula at Frieze, Frieze New York, Randall's Island, 1 p.m.
Allan Sekula will present a short film, "Art Isn’t Fair" (2012), edited from footage shot in 2004 at Art Basel Miami Beach and dedicated to Jean Jacques Rousseau’s “Discourse on Inequality” (1755). Sekula will also discuss the Docker’s Museum, an exhibition he built and curated about maritime shipping.
Coolness Factor: 4 — "cool," not so much. But this will undoubtedly be interesting and even sobering, which may even be better.
Accessibility: Free (with admission to the fair).
—Frieze New York pARTy, West 26th Street, betweeen 10th and 11th Avenues, 6:00-9:00 p.m.
James Cohan will be leading a block party with a large handful of local galleries. The whole thing will be open until 8 p.m., there will be food trucks, local style maven Hannah Bronfman will DJ, and the indie rock band Dreamshow will play a live set.
Coolness Factor: 5. Food trucks and art parties have already made a healthy appearance in Chelsea — but we’re not going to poo-poo the prospect of seeing some prestigious gallerists actually dance!
Accessibility: It’s really hard to imagine anyone standing on the perimeter of a velvet rope with a clipboard. Isn’t accessibility the whole point of a block party?
—Opening reception for Kehinde Wiley’s “An Economy of Grace,” Sean Kelly Gallery, 528 West 29th Street, 6:00-8:00 p.m.
Wiley has work up all over town, but this monumental exhibition is his first series featuring women.
Coolness Factor: 6. Seeing this work will be the highlight, as it’s a much anticipated series.
Accessibility: Come one, come all!
Sunday, May 6
—Frieze Downtown Night at select locations in Manhattan, 6:00 p.m.-2 a.m.
Drink tea at Bidoun’s bookshop, grab some theater at the Kitchen, and go on a tour with Lawrence Weiner at the Clocktower or Ryan McGinley at Team Gallery. Then boogey on down to Santos Party House and let the rug-cutting commence.
Coolness Factor: The worst thing you could say is that this sounds like a quintessential night out in New York City. Hope that’s not too damning.
Accessibility: Santos Party House is a nightclub, but the Clocktower has Lawrence Weiner. Who do you think is going to turn more people away?
CORRECTION: An earlier version of this article listed Jon Santos, creative director of Common Space, as co-founder of Artists Space.