By consensus, the very best thing at Frieze New York was the way the tent allowed in natural light. But the art on view, glimpsed via the sightlines afforded by the capacious venue, was outstanding — not an easy thing to pull off in a scene far too overcrowded with fairs. Below, Modern Painters offers a number of bests, a few insights, and a couple of pans. (To see the list in illustrated slide show form, click here.)
1. Best old-school collage: Astrid Klein at Spruth Magers and Robert Heinecken at Friederich Petzel.
2. Talk about laying a golden egg: “Sky slipped gold decorated stone-burst egg” by Takuro Kuwata, Tomio Koyama Gallery, Tokyo.
3. Most surprising work: Judith Scott’s yarn sculptures at White Columns, New York.
4. Thinking beyond the support: Laura Owens at Gavin Brown’s Enterprise, New York.
5. Try packing this one up: Karla Black cellophane and nail-polish sculpture, “Become Useful” at Galerie Gisela Capitain, Cologne
6. Best video installations that could fit in a living room: Mika Rottenberg and John Kessler’s cabinet at Nicole Klagsbrun, New York and Nathaniel Mellors at Galerie Diana Stigter, Amsterdam.
7. We like: Tatiana Trouve at Galerie Perrotin, Paris.
8. Best conceptual room at a booth: Katie Paterson at James Cohan, New York.
9. Best installation: Samara Golden at Night Gallery, Los Angeles.
10. Doing more with less: Heroic sculpture made with cheap concrete and walkers at Bureau of New York. Artist Justin Matherly is slowly coming to own a very specific, very cool niche.
11. Best photo op: Anish Kapoor’s fiberglass sculpture at Lisson Gallery.
12. Saddest-looking booth: Gagosian’s oversized stand. We imagine this guy in our photo has just bought out the full array of Rudolf Stingels and is now on his cell trying to flip them at a profit.
13. Best wakeup call for tired fairgoers: Judging by the amount of work at James Fuentes’s booth, Josh Abelow must make a painting every 3.5 minutes. These playfully obscene, text-heavy canvases were hung in an overstuffed salon style that was a real blast for the senses.
14. Material for nightmares: Nicole Eisenman’s "Saggy Titties," a foam and oil on wood painting from 2007, on display at Berlin’s Galerie Barbara Weiss. It’ll be haunting us for the next month, but we love it.
15. Viscerally thrilling: Collage-influenced, brilliantly hyperactive photos by Michele Abeles at New York’s 47 Canal.
16. The perfect gift for a collector who has everything (except taste): Massimo De Carlo of Milan and London showed this three panel piece by Aaron Young
17. Gets your heart pumping: Since no one in the art world has ever seen cocaine before, you should stop by Galerie Lelong to check out Helio Oiticica’s photograph that incorporates the drug.
18. Best trompe l'oeil: A painting by Kees Goudzwaard at Zeno X of Antwerp. As we’re always saying around the Modern Painters office, “Ain’t nobody out there painting trompe l'oeil depictions of tape like Goudzwaard.”
19. The clock is ticking if you want to buy this one: Sanya Kantarovsky’s whimsical painting at Marc Foxx had us checking our watch. (And our wallets — yup, still too broke to actually purchase anything at Frieze.)
20. The meme that won't quit: We wrote about the cats-in-art trend a few issues back. And why should it? Here’s Michael St John’s piece at Andrea Rosen. Kurt Cobain + kittens + weird pom-pom = a certain breed of brilliant. (Full disclosure: The Modern Painters editorial team is slightly divided on the whole ‘cat art’ thing.)
21. The best damn giant dragon-fly sculpture balanced on a pedestal at the whole fair: Matt Golden at London’s Limoncello Gallery.
22. Best deal: Cans of Bud Light on the ferry to Frieze cost $6. That means if you buy this sculpture by Lutz Bacher from Cabinet in London, you’re probably still getting a bargain even if you drink the whole thing.
23. Grossest work: Sarah Lucas’s awesomely gross "Bike" at London’s Sadie Coles. We never want to ride it.
24. Most ingenious: At L.A.’s Overduin and Kite there were three large-scale sculptures made of charcoal and aqua-resin that resembled crumpled up sheets of construction paper by Kaari Upson, whose bare-bones ingenuity we heartily applaud.
25. Best floor: Magazine cut-outs of mountains, part of a project by Marcello Maloberti at Gallerie Raffaella Cortese of Milan.
To see Modern Painters Magazine's Top Picks From Frieze New York, click the slideshow above