Los Angeles’s Ultra-Cool Poolside Fair Felix Is Yet Again a Favorite Among Tastemaking Dealers

The fair held its third edition last week at the historic Hollywood Roosevelt hotel.

Galleries showing in Felix art fair "Cabana" section have direct access to and view on the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel pool. Photo by Zach Whitford.

The energy, and widespread enthusiasm for L.A.’s bustling week of art events was on full display at the beloved satellite fair Felix, which closed its third edition on Sunday evening after a buzzy few days at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel.

The fair setting at the historic hotel was exotic and appealing but it also felt a bit disjointed, with 60 galleries spread across the ground floor cabanas that lead out to the hotel pool and the “Tower Galleries” up on the 11th and 12th floors. After lapping the poolside booths, visitors wishing to get to the upper floors had to line up behind a velvet rope for a roughly 20-minute wait to ride an elevator upstairs last Friday.

Aside from that minor gripe, the upstairs rooms provided ample light in which to view the vast array of work on display, and gentle breezes came through the mostly open windows that offered sweeping views of Hollywood.

“L.A. energy is always incredible and this year is no exception,” said Amy Adams, founder and owner of Portland, Oregon gallery Adams and Ollman, who were in room 1226. “We brought museum quality works by Katherine Bradford, Bill Traylor, and James Castle, alongside artists who are debuting at the fair for the first time.” The gallery reported selling nearly 20 artworks, mainly to museum trustees, as well as existing and new clients for prices ranging between $3,000 to $30,000.

Katherine Bradford, <i>Dark Swim</i> (2021). Image courtesy the artist and Adams and Ollman, Portland, Oregon

Katherine Bradford, Dark Swim (2021). Image courtesy the artist and Adams and Ollman, Portland, Oregon

Though it shared the same opening day last Wednesday as Frieze, which took place over in Beverly Hills, there was no shortage of visitors or sales, participating dealers told Artnet News. “I love it. It’s one of our favorite fairs,” said Los Angeles gallerist Chris Sharp, who was participating in Felix for the second time in the cabana area.

His booth included the work of Tom Allen, Sophie Barber, and Lin May Saeed in a presentation that revolved around “nature as something at once alien, intimate, and mediated,” according to the dealer. Allen’s works sold with prices ranging from between $11,000 and $22,000. Barber’s works sold at prices ranging from $2,500 to $8,500; Saeed currently has work on hold, with prices ranging from $4,800 to $13,500. 

Lin May Saeed, Hemar Relief(2022). Image courtesy the artist and Chris Sharp Gallery.

Lin May Saeed, Hemar Relief (2022). Image courtesy the artist and Chris Sharp Gallery.

New York gallery Mrs. reported a nearly sold out booth, with prices ranging from $2,000 to $10,000, according to director Sara Salamone. The gallery additionally chose to supplement its Felix booth with a popup exhibition by one particularly buzzy artist, Poppy Jones, at the Los Angeles OCHI Gallery.

In the show, called “Cutting Shade,” Jones’ innovative technique involves printing a photograph to scale onto fabric plates coated in water and oil, which she manipulates with watercolor. Different fabrics absorb oil and paint in unique ways: silk soaks them up and bleeds the color into its fibers while the suede makes for more blotchy absorption. Her images of flowers, water glasses, curtains, and windows are at once beautiful and quietly haunting.

Poppy Jones, White, Water (2021). Image courtesy the artist and Mrs. Gallery.

Poppy Jones, White, Water (2021). Image courtesy the artist and Mrs. Gallery.

Back at Felix, another hit solo presentation was a group of paintings by Clayton Schiff at the New York- and Los Angeles-based gallery Harkawik. It was almost impossible not to connect with Schiff’s surreal depictions of cartoonish, distorted characters in various states of alienation, despair, or fear.

Chicago gallery Kavi Gupta chose to bring a wide-ranging presentation that mixed two and three-dimensional works from established names and emerging artists, including 2022 Whitney Biennial artist James Little, MacArthur Genius Award winner Jeffrey Gibson, and Venice Biennale artist and National Academy inductee Deborah Kass. AFRICOBRA founder Wadsworth Jarrell and the 2021 Smithsonian Futures artist Devan Shimoyama were also among those on view.

Installation view of Kavi Gupta at Felix Art Fair. Image courtesy Kavi Gupta.

Installation view of Kavi Gupta at Felix Art Fair. Image courtesy Kavi Gupta.

“It has been invigorating to be back at Felix for our third year and reengage with our LA audience with some of our most in-demand artists,” said Kavi Gupta. The gallery reported strong sales, including works by Suchitra Mattai ($40,000-60,000), Kour Pour ($18,000 – 25,000), and Clare Rojas ($40,000 –  60,000). Little’s work sold as for prices in the $100,000 to 150,000 range as did work by painter Young Il Ahn.

Overall, dealers like Gupta seemed pleased with the more buttoned-down vibe of the fair. “The boutique atmosphere of the Felix Fair offers us the chance to present and discuss complex narratives of contemporary art in an intimate and conversational environment for collectors and curators,” he said.

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