Art Out: A Look Inside Frieze
By Belle McIntyre
The arrival of the Frieze Art Fair is always a much anticipated event in the New York art scene. This is the sixth edition in New York and includes more than 200 contemporary and 20th century galleries from 31 countries - both established and emerging. The location in an enormous tent on Randall’s always has a festive air, with numerous restaurants, outdoor dining spaces, roving performance artists and pop-up happenings.
There are three sections, which each have a slightly different point of view. Spotlight includes 31 galleries presenting solo artists’ work from established and emerging artists. Frame features emerging international galleries. Focus subsidizes a select group of promising young galleries from many different countries, which gives the whole fair a somewhat egalitarian quality and provides for some unexpected work to be shown. There is also the presence, for the first time, three galleries showing tribal art which highlights its influence on modern and contemporary art.
It is ambitious, audacious, and often overwhelming. I confess to entering with a sense of dread and numbness when surveying the scale and the breadth of it and wondering if it is possible to take it all in and then try to make sense of it. The only solution is just to be in the moment and take it one stand at a time and not worry what you might be missing or will not have time for. Just settle in and enjoy the riches available. Here are some of my highlights.
From our point of view, we always prefer more photography. However, the work on view was wide ranging in scope, technique and style from the bold and in-your-face to the personal and intimate. There was quite a lot of work which was clearly politically and culturally engaging .
The large color work of Marilyn Minter at Salon 94 and Andres Sarrano’s luridly-colored celebrity portraits at Nathalie Obadia which run the gamut between Donald Trump and Snoop Dogg would be the most obvious in the cultural reference category. Included in that group would be William Eggleston attractively paired with the painted metal sculpture of Carol Bove at David Zwirner, and Catherine Opie at Lehman Maupin.
On the political spectrum there were some powerful images at Jack Shainman from Richard Mosse, a documentary photographer known for his images of landscapes and people from conflict areas, who often uses military grade infra-red film which registers heat and creates an otherworldly aura. The environmentally-focused work of the Swiss photographer Julian Charrière at Sean Kelly expresses awe and respect for the planet in large beautiful images, including a nuclear test site in Kazakhstan showing thermonuclear clouds in black and white.
Another trend I noticed had to do with food as depicted by a large-scale C-print by Lucie Stahl at dèpendence entitled Violent Vegan. She has done a gorgeous series devoted to junk food. This mirrors the concerns of Lawrence Abu Adman at Maureen Paley who shows a large scale color C-print of rows of supermarket shelves packed with soft drinks and snacks and the ones with the shortest shelf-life are depicted in black and white while the rest are in color. Unsurprisingly the least natural and longest lived are the ones in vivid color.
The personal and intimate in scale and subject matter can be found in a series at 303 Gallery by Collier Schorr, and the extremely personal work of Francesca Woodman. And for sheer beauty Uta Barth’s serene and elegant still lives at Tanya Bonakdar are an exploration and meditation on the effects of light passing through and reflecting back on glass.
All images ©Fernando Sandoval