After a year’s absence, Frieze returned, not to the Paramount lot where the previous two fairs were held, but to a tent that was, in real estate parlance, Beverly Hilton adjacent. It was business as usual. From February 17-20, collectors collected, museums acquired, galleries sold, and celebrities spotted. Sales upwards of a million dollars for individual works were reported, and post fair stats boasted vigorous sales, including sold-out booths, the gold standard. Focus LA, a selection of local emerging galleries, also reported hefty stats.
So, how was the art? Of course, there was great art to be seen, and yet fairs do not make it easy, in fact, the amount of visual stimulation makes it difficult to merely survive the experience. For those who attend the fair as art enthusiasts, (as opposed to collectors or gallerists), a better coping strategy is to adjust your expectations and limit your time; You don’t have to see everything. It is widely known that you can always follow up at any local gallery after the fair, especially midweek, when you will have the art all to yourself.
the Chris Burden gazebo, the Anish Kapoors, there were gems to be found. I appreciated the new discoveries and the galleries that have the temerity to show older work, a respite that allows for some breathing space between the often ambitious and in-your-face contemporary sensibilities. In this category, Michael Rosenfeld Gallery was a goldmine, focusing on work that complimented recent museum shows in Los Angeles that featured Black artists.There were some excellent Charles White portraits, several small Bob Thompson paintings and dynamic paintings by Beauford Delaney.
|Sarah Rosalena Brady|
Sometimes, work from the past speaks to you. This Alan Saret stainless steel wall sculpture at Karma was a lovely, quiet discovery. Similarly, a delicate Lee Bontecue at Mark Selwyn stopped me in my tracks.
At LA’s Chateau Shatto, these two Helen Johnson paintings on hanging canvas were impressive. Other noteworthy art, but in no particularly order, follows: