The spring art season is now in full swing, marked this week by the start of Frieze New York. Now in its eighth iteration, the fair continues to attract thousands to Randall’s Island during the three-day event.
Since it originated in London in 2003, Frieze has continued to expand, launching the New York edition in 2014 and a satellite version in Los Angeles this year.
The 2019 New York fair features the work of 196 galleries from around the globe. While several major exhibitors are noticeably missing his year — including Matthew Marks, Anton Kern, Gavin Brown’s Enterprise, and Pace, among others – there were also a series of newcomers. With a wide range of works, and some booths shouting a more political agenda than others, there is a lot to take in. Here are nine booths you won’t want to miss.
Marlborough Contemporary, Booth S24
Red Grooms has become an iconic fixture within the art world over the course of his four-decade career. He is making waves again this year with his Pop-Art inspired installation of a New York City bus, the M5. The interactive piece is in many ways an ode to New York, and is reminiscent of most people’s daily commute. From the humorous “Big Boy” advertisement on the side of the bus to the hodgepodge of people inside — ranging from a woman in a fur coat casting doubt with a furrowed brow to a hipster-esque commuter with large purple glasses — this piece encompasses the diversity and quirkiness that is New York. The installation even evokes a throwback vibe with its $1.25 fare a far cry from today’s $2.75 metro card.
Capsule Shanghai, Booth F1
Resembling biomorphic, surrealist body parts, Sarah Faux’s mixed-media works are more than meets the eye. Combining elements of painting and collage techniques, her art has both a playfulness and an erotic quality. From a large breast resting on top of a zebra pattern to another work that features disassembled pink legs attached to a hand with a bright red manicure, Faux’s work is both trippy and captivating.The interplay between bright and muted tones, combined with sometimes sexually suggestive imagery, and different materials with a subversive feminist agenda, make Faux a standout at this year’s fair.
And Now, Booth F2
Olivia Erlanger’s series of sculptures for And Now tap into a larger culture obsession with mermaids. Three front-loading washing machines are left opened with life-sized mermaid/fishtails coming out of them. Erlanger offers up an absurd, humorous, take on these superhuman creatures. The interventionist installation is also being given a second life at Frieze — the sculptures were originally shown in a laundromat in LA.
Lehmann Maupin, Booth C23
Featuring a group showing of Helen Pashgian, Lari Pittman, and Nari Ward , this year Lehmann Maupin has given viewers much to consider. Using shoelaces that have been arranged to spell out “We the People” in Arabic, which is also the title of the piece, the artist Nari Ward has managed to capture a complex, political message in one simple gesture. Ward has come to be known for using found objects that are then repurposed for his installations, which tend to offer a larger social commentary, and he does exactly that in this piece at Frieze. A previous version of the sculpture was also shown with the phrase spelled out in English at the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art in Kansas City, Missouri in 2018.
Galerie Lelong & Co, Booth, DLG 10
The work of the celebrated Cuban sculptor and performance artist Ana Mendieta is on view as part of Frieze’s themed Dialogos section. Mendieta would come to have a profound effect on the performance art world with many of the powerful earthworks she created from the 1960s until her tragic death in 1985. A feature film with accompanying photographs of Mendieta’s sculptures and performances are a bright spot in this year’s fair. The gallery also handles the estate of the late artist.
Hauser and Wirth, D5
One of the biggest highlights of this year’s fair is a solo show for the iconic Jenny Holzer , who uses language, sculpture and other mediums to explore larger themes of gender, violence and power. Holzer’s painting “I was Arrested” (2013-19) features a pale blue background detailed with silver-leafed shapes that seem to resemble countries. Over the silver patterns on the canvases, there are several thick black lines evoking blacked-out texts in redacted government papers, which give way to Holzer’s handwritten text. A combination of Holzer’s bench sculptures, paintings, and a multimedia work, this mini-exhibition also coincides with a current retrospective of the artist’s work at the Guggenheim in Bilbao, Spain.
White Cube Booth C13
Offering up a wide range of works on paper, sculpture, paintings and more, White Cube has a little something for everyone this year in its Frieze group showing of Miroslaw Balka , David Altmejd, Tracey Emin and Magnus Lesse. Most notable is the work of the YBA (Young British Artist) Tracey Emin. Her evocative and lush canvases use movement, the body, gesture and more which can be seen in the work “I Thought of Nothing BUT You (2019).”
Gagosian, Booth C26
With black walls and floors, Gagosian made a bold choice for this year’s Frieze by showing the work of the iconic sculptors John Chamberlain and Steven Parrino . The hyper-masculine vibe is underscored by Chamberlain’s huge sculptures made from smashed car parts and is countered by Parrino’s paintings and works on paper. The pairing of these artists seems like a natural fit, given Parrino’s typical palette consisting of blacks and silvers as well as his references to punk, minimalism and more. This is both complemented and contrasted by the sheer size and force of Chamberlain’s sculptures, as well as their shininess.
P.P.O.W, Booth C33
The graphic artist Steve Keene has opted to create something outside of his ordinary genre for this year’s Frieze: an interactive performance. The artist has turned PPOW’s booth into a working studio space for himself, where he will be painting over the course of the fair. The new works, which range in price from $10 to $50, can be purchased on site and feature a range of colorful images from animals to rockers like David Bowie and more. This clever intervention/performance also seems to offer a larger commentary on the state of the art market.
Frieze New York is on view through May 5th.