See the Top Ten Booths at Frieze New York 2015
Nicole Wermers, Math Bass, and Richard Tuttle delighted us.
1. Gavin Brown’s enterprise, New York
Gavin Brown’s booth was devoted to Jonathan Horowitz’s “700 Dots” project. For this work, the artist pays 700 participants $20 each to paint a neat black circle on a small white canvas (they’re given very precise instructions) (see Brian Boucher Survives Sweaty Dudes, Mazes, and Velcro Suits at Frieze New York). When it’s complete, the entire collection of dot paintings will be sold as a work of the artist. It offers fairgoers a quiet, highly focused moment in the bustle of the art fair and a fun atmosphere that was the talk of the preview. It also seems to embody that high level of engagement that feels like the essence of Frieze this year.
2. Herald St., London
Most striking here apart from Peter Coffin’s Untitled (Alphabet) (2014) that extends in an opalescent rainbow arc over the booth are the fur-jacket-draped chairs of Turner Prize-nominated artist Nicole Wermers, a comment on consumerist culture and the fusion of art and design (see Nominees for the 2015 Turner Prize Include Three Women Artists and a Housing Project). Ida Ekblad’s canvases A Day of Toil 8 (2014) and A Day of Toil 4 (2014) hung nearby. Ekblad has used shopping carts in a Situationist-inspired series she calls “drift,” for which she would wander through the city with a shopping cart collecting detritus. For the canvases in the booth, Ekblad carved poetry into the wheels of a shopping cart, covered them in paint, and then ran the carts over the canvases.
3. Pace, New York
For its first outing at the fair, Pace brought a solo presentation of the work of Richard Tuttle, 12 drawings in a series called “Aspects” created in Maine in 2014—from materials including cardboard, maple wood, and furniture grade lacquer. But perhaps most intriguing about the presentation was the booth itself, which was also designed by Tuttle extending his exploration of form and texture from the sketchbook to the entire room. Masonite floors, turned right-side-up with black shiny Masonite dots exposed at the edges are true Tuttle and unite the work with the room in an enveloping poetic experience.
4. The Third Line, Dubai
The principles of Islamic geometry typically found in the shrines of Iran have been transformed into sculpture and wall works by contemporary Iranian artist Monir Shahroudy Farmanfarmaian, who spent 26 years in exile in New York during the Islamic Revolution and found herself spending time with Willem de Kooning and Joan Mitchell. On view at this gallery’s booth is a nice selection of Farmanfarmaian’s drawings and mirrored glass works—also on view at her first solo show at the Guggenheim through June 3 (see Monir Farmanfarmaian Talks Intimately With Frank Stella About Her Guggenheim Museum Show). On one wall is a large installation that consists of nine mirrored elements. While this installation is fixed on the wall, it is a precursor to a series of works known as “Convertibles,” for which the works can be rearranged into different patterns (and they come with installation instructions for various ways to hang it).
5. The Breeder, Athens
It was hard to miss Andreas Angelidakis’s “Crash Pad.” For this installation, Angelidakis converted the booth into an “Oda,” or a welcoming room of the kind that existed in palaces during the Ottoman Empire, with 19th century Greek rugs, pillows, and thematically appropriate sculpture like simulacra of Corinthian columns made from cardboard or created with 3-D printers. “The work intends to challenge our conception of the Classical Greek aesthetic,” said George Vamvakidis, one of the gallery’s co-owners. Fair visitors should feel welcome to take a rest and socialize among the pillows. (For more news on Frieze New York 2015 see Pickle, the Instagram-Famous Art World Dog, Turned Away from Frieze.)
6. Clearing, Brooklyn and Brussels
At Clearing, a gallery based in Brooklyn and Brussels (see Forget Chelsea—The 15 Brooklyn Art Galleries You Need to Know Now), roughly 40 small colorful works on paper by Calvin Marcus are hung in a single line at eye level. Each work in the series, which collectively is called “Military Man With Tongue Out” (2014-2015), portrays a soldier in a grotesque and somewhat comedic manner at some stage of death or distress. The works, partly because of their materials—they’re made with crayon and sharpie—evoke both childrens’ drawings and ancient prints of Japanese samurai.
7. Overduin & Co., Los Angeles
The booth of Overduin & Co. has been filled with paintings (from her “News!” series) and recent sculpture of LA-based artist Math Bass. Bass takes cues from early sign painting to create paintings with tense interplay of positive and negative space that can verge on optical illusions. There’s playful formal repetition of shapes and symbols found across her work—what looks like a cigarette in one painting appears in another painting to be a match, and in yet a third painting looks more like a smokestack. Perhaps attesting to Bass’s up-and-coming-ness, surveying the booth on our visit was none-other than collector Mera Rubell.
8. Long March Space, Beijing
Artist Zhan Wang’s shiny stainless steel rock surreally placed on top of a Ming-dynasty table (in style only), Shanshui Furniture 1 (1998-2008), is a startling site in the aisles of Frieze, and feels a bit like walking into a painting by Magritte. One of China’s leading contemporary artists, Wang is best known for these shiny rock sculptures shaped like the “scholar’s rocks” you might find in a Chinese garden. Other striking works in this booth include Xu Zhen’s Play Spire of the Sky (2013), an architectural S&M tower made of leather and chains as well as paintings by Wang Jianwei.
9. Lokal_30, Warsaw
The booth of this Warsaw-based gallery is devoted to the sometimes erotically charged vintage works of Natalia LL, a pioneer of the Polish neo-avantgarde. They challenge the viewer in ways that still feel fresh and bracing—and these are works from the 1970s, some of which have recently been rediscovered and restored. Ahead of her time, Natalia made works with her husband exploring the documentation of various sexual acts (mind you this is way before Kim Kardashian and Paris Hilton), books of which are also on view in the gallery. Other works on view include framed photographs of young women eating watermelon that look like they’ve been transformed by the most perfect Instagram filter ever.
10. Travesia Cuatro, Madrid and Guadelajara
This booth, filled with the hand-painted ceramics and sculpture of Milena Muzquiz, caught our eye from the earliest moments a the fair. Muzquiz, who is also a musician—she’s in the band Los Super Elegantes—managed to convey a sense of whimsy and folksy cheerfulness that gave us a brief pause of delight.
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