Galleries collaborating in artwork festivals have a tendency to guage their success by the numbers — not solely earnings from their gross sales but additionally what number of new collectors they met who keep in contact. But for guests, what issues most is much less quantifiable: Was the truthful expertise memorable? And how was the artwork?
For many viewers reached by a reporter and photographer for The New York Times, the inaugural version of Frieze Los Angeles and the upstart Felix LA artwork truthful final weekend succeeded on these fronts, dispelling a longstanding notion of the town as a graveyard for artwork festivals and underscoring its vitality as an artwork middle.
Frieze, set at Paramount Studios, commissioned artworks for the five-acre New York streetscape on the backlot and they helped to provide the truthful a special vibe, from Hannah Greely’s work of laundry on a clotheslines to Sarah Cain’s wall-to-window takeover of a traditional brownstone condo, together with a superb stained-glass window.
In the large tent housing 70 gallery cubicles there have been many discoveries to be made. They ranged from a stridently coloured, puzzle-like portray of feminine manufacturing facility employees by the little-known Sacramento artist Irving Marcus (age 99) at Parker Gallery to a reconstruction of Judy Chicago’s vital 1965 “Zig Zag” sculpture at Jeffrey Deitch.
Hans Ulrich Obrist, the creative director of Serpentine Galleries in London, who usually leads two to a few journeys a yr for patrons, known as his journey “one of the most exciting we’ve ever had.” He praised the “village-like experience of the Paramount lot,” the truthful’s manageable measurement (lower than half that of Frieze New York) and the assorted satellite tv for pc festivals and pop-up occasions round it.
The standard Felix artwork truthful, which had free entry and was supposed to indicate extra inexpensive artwork, commandeered a number of poolside cabana rooms and your complete 11th flooring of the Hollywood Roosevelt resort. Visitors may see unframed work by Roger White unfold out on a mattress and putty sculptures by Matt Hoyt posed on resort finish tables moderately than museum pedestals. The foyer had a diffusion of Kristen Morgin’s painted clay replicas of books that she imagined came from Jennifer Aniston’s library, with titles heavy on romance and self-help.
Komal Shah, a Bay Area collector and trustee at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, praised the strong showing of women artists across Frieze and singled out as a Felix standout the room of the Chicago gallerist Kavi Gupta, which featured one wall of paintings by AfriCOBRA (African Commune of Bad Relevant Artists) — an artist collective that helped define the vision of the Black Arts Movement of the 1960s and 70s.
“I did hear a couple of dealers at Frieze lamenting that the L.A. crowd seemed to be more conservative than New York — more interested in paintings than conceptual work,” she said. “But I thought the dealers brought great works. And I loved the energy.”
Howard Rachofsky, the Dallas collector, agreed. “I don’t ever remember Frieze New York actually being fun — and this was,” he said. “My sense is this will be the first of many Frieze fairs out here.” Tickets had quickly sold out, with the final tally of attendance at 30,000. Bettina Korek, the Frieze L.A. director, confirmed the London-based group would return in 2020.
Dean Valentine, the co-founder of Felix, said that given the crowds and positive feedback, he was “excited to start the process” of planning for the future.
Here are some highlights from the fairs’ debut editions.