Dealers at Frieze New York Aim to Capitalize on Venice Biennale Momentum

The fair's opening day 'confirms that New York is the center of the global art market,' one mega-dealer said.

Frieze New York 2024 Photo by Casey Kelbaugh. Courtesy of Frieze and CKA.

The latest edition of Frieze New York opened this morning at the Shed in Hudson Yards, on the western edge of Manhattan, with droves of collectors, museum directors and curators, and other bold-faced names on hand. However, by the middle of the afternoon, when the musician and artist David Byrne arrived by bicycle, the atmosphere was a bit more subdued, and thinner crowds were strolling through the roughly 60 booths that are spread across several floors.

Despite concerns about the economic climate, and the decidedly un-frothy state of the art market right now, dealers were upbeat by the end of the day.

Artists with Venice Biennale-related exhibitions have work on view all over the place (as I noted in my recent preview), including Alex Katz, who has a striking solo outing with Gladstone. Those with high-profile museum shows are in the spotlight, too.

At this cautious moment in the market, smaller, more moderately priced works were selling well. The booth of Stephen Friedman Gallery (of London and New York) was buzzing, where Holly Hendry’s wall-hung sculptural works were priced from £6,500 to £15,000 (about $8,100 to $18,800).

a booth at Frieze New york showing mixed media sculptural works hung on the wall

Installation view of works by Holly Hendry at Stephen Friedman’s booth at Frieze New York, May 2024. Image courtesy the artist and Stephen Friedman Gallery, London and New York.

“Through a deeply tactile practice brimming with humor and wit, Holly’s work redefines spaces conceptually and physically,” Friedman said. “I see her as an inventor, first and foremost, but also an alchemist at heart.” Hendry currently has a solo exhibition at the SCAD Museum of Art in Savannah, Georgia, and her work is included in a group exhibition, “When Forms Come Alive,” at the Hayward Gallery in London.

artworks including paintings on a wall and a standing sculpture in the booth of Perrotin

Installation view of Perrotin at Frieze New York May 2024.

Sales at Perrotin gallery were coming fast and furious. The globe-spanning gallery sold out a display of painting and sculpture by Lee Bae, a South Korean artist in the Dansaekhwa (“monochrome painting”) movement whose work has centered on charcoal for decades. Lee currently has a solo show at La Maison de la Lune Brûlée at the Wilmotte Foundation in Venice, an official collateral event at the Venice Biennale, and he will have a solo show at Perrotin’s New York branch in September. Last year, he installed a 21-foot-tall sculpture at Rockefeller Center.

In addition, Perrotin sold works by Thilo Heinzmann, Paola Pivi, and Daniel Arsham in the range of $40,000 to $125,000. Arsham also has a solo exhibition in Venice right now, at the Chiesa di Santa Caterina. Peggy Leboeuf, a partner at the gallery, said that “it’s always nice to create synergy between exhibitions and fairs.”

Hauser and Wirth’s booth at Frieze New York. Photo: Sarah Muehlbauer, courtesy Hauser and Wirth

Hauser and Wirth’s president, Marc Payot, said that Frieze New York’s opening day performance “confirms that New York is the center of the global art market.” For the gallery, he said, “there’s no place that combines the individual and the collective with such tremendous energy.”

The mega-gallery reported the biggest sales I have clocked so far. They included Ed Clark’s Midi #5 Orange (2001) for $850,000, Nicole Eisenmann’s Emerged, Not Me (2023) for $150,000, Charles Gaines’s Numbers and Trees: Charleston Series 2 (2024) for $210,000 each, with multiple editions sold, Glenn Ligon’s Stranger Study #43 (2023) for $700,000, Nicolas Party’s Triptych with Mountains (2023) for $350,000, and Henry Taylor’s Portrait of Larry Dunn (2020) for $750,000.

an abstract painting featuring purple and scarlet swaths on a brown background

Martha Jungwirth, Ohne Titel, aus der Serie “Corona-Tagebuch (2021). © Martha Jungwirth /Bildrecht, Wien 2024
Photo: Ulrich Ghezzi

Dealer Thaddaeus Ropac said that the opening day “has really shown the continued strength of the American market.” His initial sales included Tony Cragg’s Incident Solo (2023) for €725,000 ($776,000), Daniel Richter’s in den Kolonien (2024) for €420,000 ($450,000), Joan Snyder’s Autumn/Red Berries (2015) for $130,000, Alex Katz’s Study for Tree 4 (2023) for $125,000, and six works by Martha Jungwirth at prices ranging from €60,000 to €350,000 ($64,000 to $375,000).

Ropac also sold Robert Longo’s Study of Iceberg Rocket (2023) for $90,000, and Megan Rooney’s With Wind (2024) for £25,000 ($31,000).

Meanwhile, Karma International and Sprüth Magers reported a number of sales from their joint booth presentation devoted to Swiss artist Sylvie Fleury, including You Got the Silver No. 2 (2023) for €65,000 ($70,000) and a neon sculptural work, JOY (2019), for €25,000 ($27,000).

There is certainly time for all the exhibitors to close more deals. The fair runs through Sunday.

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