[February 23 2020]
FRIEZE LOS ANGELES
This past weekend marked the second iteration of Star Art Fair Frieze’s Los Angeles outpost. Last year the highly anticipated motion made waves. Prior to the debut, its’ success was uncertain. LA’s original fair, Art Los Angeles Contemporary, never quite caught on with an international audience, despite its’ ten year run (the fair is still going after rebranding and changing locations this year), and Paris Photo’s sudden pull from their fair also at Paramount Studio in 2016, what would have been their fourth year, reporting previous years’ low gallery sales as the predominant reason for cancellation.
At Frieze Los Angeles 2019, despite the heavy rain and some to be expected disorganization, you could feel the success, after which, originally skeptical galleries lined up to get a booth. At the 2020 edition however, success shone as bright as the sunshine, celebrities bought by the dozen, and gallerists gladly poured the celebratory champagne. It seemed that, having experienced the LA crowd once before, galleries were seasoned and brought work which was at once sellable or “easy” that remained exciting, playful and intelligent – all terms which can be used to describe the city in question.
After this second iteration, we can be clear that Frieze is here to stay and, with Los Angeles’ position as a contemporary art center cemented, the LA art fair week can only grow. See you next year!
Frieze Los Angeles Booth Highlights
Powerhouse Gagosian presented a Car-centric booth, the center-piece being Richard Prince’s life-size Untitled car sculpture, including LA legends Edward Ruscha, Chris Burden as well as Richard Prince, Adam McEwen and Robert Therrien. The Car concept is at once specific and expansive, a way to open up a broader conversation about the LA experience in general and remain cohesive, thoughtful and engaging.
Sadie Coles HQ
London based gallery Sadie Coles presented a solo booth by Venezuelan painter Alvaro Barrington, in an immersive painting installation complete with site-specific wallpaper.
Local Los Angeles gallery, run by Olivia Barrett, presented Aria Dean and Helen Johnson in a two person booth. Both artists use aesthetics, via differing mediums (Johnson in painting and Dean in sculpture, video), to explore and express critical theory, resulting in a tight, pretty and conceptually rigorous presentation.
A new and very welcomed addition to the fair, Bel Ami was one of the younger participants having started the gallery only three years ago. Their entrée featuring Miriam Laura Leonardi and Lauren Satlowski, was widely talked about and circulated via social media (Satlowski’s, Another poem about snow in particular). Run by Paris-originating Naoki Sutter-Shudo, LA staple Eric Kim and Lee Foley (formerly of Chateau Shatto), this gallery is proof of a wider international ongoing conversation happening in Los Angeles. Also proof that Frieze is properly doing its’ job by including important (and possibly lesser known) LA galleries.
Cactus Store | Paramount Studios Backlot
Echo Park based concept store fronts as a plant store but is so much more. Specializing in (and selling) rare cactus is their bread and butter, but the design firm works on projects from film to landscaping with their most recent project taking place at Dover Street Los Angeles spear-headed by artist Gus Thompson. Their inclusion on the Paramount Studios Backlot, next to Andrea Zittels’ A-Z Store, is further evidence in Frieze’s integrity and evidential research.
ACID-FREE | Paramount Studios Backlot
ACID-FREE, Los Angeles based book fair organized by a committee of LA based publishers, librarians and curators, hosted by Blum & Poe Los Angeles, launched its new Library Services division on the Frieze Paramount Studios Backlot. A new model in book distribution developed in support of the diversity of independent publishing practices, Library Services showcases a curated library of titles from a roster of publishers based in Los Angeles and the greater US. Titles supplied by Library Services were available for on-site browsing in the Frieze Los Angeles Backlot, with publications made available for purchase through a new platform that connects buyers directly to publishers.
With a focus on books that maintain positions of criticality and self-reflexivity, Library Services provides audiences an opportunity to support the Acid-Free publisher network and its mission to create new spaces for critical discussion surrounding independent art.
A forward thinking endeavor, matched with an immersive physical presence only added to the dynamism of this frankly fun and promising fair.
Text Kate Eringer