Frieze is always an interesting opportunity to look at the international art market in a very direct, distilled and attractive environment. It's an easy way to navigate the contemporary art worlds of LA and New York simultaneously, to see what London is selling alongside Berlin. Featuring over 180 galleries from all over the world, Frieze New York also sees the addition of Focus, devoted to young galleries joining the fair for the first time.
Simply getting there was an event, as it required the largely un-trekked journey out to Randall's Island, between Manhattan's Upper East side and Queens. Ferry services, buses, trains and taxis all shuttled people to what would suddenly appear to be a billowing white tube, which housed one of the world's most revered art fairs for its first time in New York. The structure, designed by New York-based SO-IL Architects, was essentially a simple and softly winding tent shredded into streamers on either end, fringing the entrances to the fair. Inside was the incredibly bright tunnel of contemporary art dealers, galleries and local restaurants that would make up the day's adventure.
"Ferry services, buses, trains and taxis all shuttled people to what would suddenly appear to be a billowing white tube, which housed one of the world's most revered art fairs for its first time in New York"
While most people are at Frieze for the business of buying and selling art, there were several commissioned projects solely dedicated to experiencing it. Frieze Projects New York featured works from eight artists, curated by Cecilia Alemani, located in and focusing on the many strange wonders of Randall's Island. It's pleasant but awkward landscape was reflected in the winding mirrors of Virginia Overton, and the tumbleweed still life from Latifa Echakhch. There were also several sound installations throughout the fair as well, including a cyborg GPS dialogue by Rick Moody that played through the complementary VIP BMW car service.
Another exciting aspect of Frieze New York was Frame, a selection of young galleries under six years old with specially commissioned projects for the fair. Ellen Lesperance's Dear Pippa Bacca, from Ambach & Rice Gallery in LA, was particularly moving and engaging. Using tactile elements like knitted textiles and hand collected pigment paintings, Lesperance has been honoring the final performance of the late Pippa Bacca, a peace pilgrimage from Milan to Jerusalem during which the artist was brutally murdered. Cash for Gold from Redling Fine Art was another topical and exciting interactive project, in which the artist Liz Glynn made recreations of wearable objects from pawn shops plated in traded 24k gold, and was even offering cash for your gold on the spot at a 125% rate. A smart person would have taken that cash directly to the beer garden and spent it all at Roberta's pizza stand, a truly satisfying union of art and commerce.
Text by Paul Wagenblast