See the Top 15 Booths at Frieze London 2016
From the splashy to the thoughtfully curated, it's all here.
The 14th edition of Frieze London has kicked off today, to a massive queue of eager collectors ready to burst through the gates shortly after 11 a.m.
It might have been the unusually mild and sunny weather in London this early October, but the mood in the aisles was electric from the get-go.
Dealers reported strong sales shortly after 11:30 am, and collectors, including Valeria Napoleone and Patrizia Sandretto Re Rebaudengo, as well as the curator Vincent Honoré—who manages the collection of David Roberts—were seen perusing the walls and engaging in lively conversations about nearby works in the very first hour. Whoever said it was the Brexit blues?
In terms of the art on offer, this year Frieze London seems influenced by its younger sibling Frieze Masters. The general impression is that dealers—over 160 international galleries are showing at the fair this year—have gone for more pared-down presentations, and booths look more streamlined and elegant. Even Gagosian, best-known for its brash Frieze London outings (including Carsten Holler’s colorful playground in 2014 and Jeff Koons’ extravaganza last year) opted for a minimal solo presentation by Edmund de Waal.
There is also a refreshing embrace of modern artists and artists from the 1960s, ’70s, and ’80s. Frieze London is still a top fair to discover young talent, but it seems as if the strong success of Frieze Masters had opened up the possibilities for a more cross-historical approach, which is definitely welcome.
If you are going to the fair and don’t want to get lost in a daze, here are some highlights you shouldn’t miss this year.
1. Hauser & Wirth
Not many galleries can compete with Hauser & Wirth when it comes to making a bold statement. This year, the gallery’s curated booth “L’Atelier d’Artistes” was again an early favorite, packed full of admirers at an early hour.
There is indeed much to see in this booth, a riff on the current trend of staging artist’s studios in museums and galleries. Under the conceit of being the studio of a mysterious and prolific artist, the booth is displaying a plethora of works from a number of modern and contemporary artists, including Rodney Graham, Hans Arp, Phyllida Barlow, Louise Bourgeois, Francis Picabia, Isa Genzken, and Martin Creed. It is the perfect booth to get lost in, if you have the time and inclination.
2. Michael Werner
Michael Werner seduces visitors with its elegant booth featuring legends like Francis Picabia, James Lee Byars, Marcel Broodthaers, and Per Kirkeby, putting them in conversation with artists from a younger generation like Enrico David and Peter Doig. Although there are sculptures in the booth (by Broodthaers and Byars, for example), the presentation has a strong pictorial bent.
New York’s P.P.O.W delights with its presentation of feminist art from the 1960s to today. Artists featured included Portia Munson, Carolee Schneemann, Carrie Mae Weems, Martin Wong, Betty Tompkins, and Aurel Schmidt.
The centerpiece was undoubtedly Munson’s Pink Project: Table, which she created for Marcia Tucker’s famous exhibition “Bad Girls,” staged in 1994 at the New Museum. From found dolls and hairbrushes to sex toys and masks, the installation explores how pink has been embedded in the female subjectivity by capitalism, often with ludicrous results. Crucially, everyone at the VIP seemed to be loving it, from groups of young girls to male collectors ready to support her message.
4. Kate MacGarry
Also in pink and pastel hues (a strong color trend at the fair this year) is Francis Upritchard’s solo presentation at the booth of London dealer Kate MacGarry. The installation, a critique of museum displays featuring a series of pots, sculptures, and figurines—some dressed in contemporary clothes—is as stunning as it is humorous. But there’s more than beauty to the practice of this New Zealand-born, London-based artist, who is concerned with anthropology, craft, tribes, and archetypes.
5. Timothy Taylor
London’s Timothy Taylor convinced with an open booth dedicated to the painted bronzes of the Brooklyn-based artist Eddie Martinez, which strike a seductive balance between delicacy and exuberance. Martinez’s works, a beguiling mix of sculpture and painting, were selling like hot cakes, with six of them exchanging hands in the first hours (with prices ranging $12,000-16,000).
For those who prefer a bigger scale, there’s also a large work by Martinez at the fair’s Sculpture Park, on sale for $120,000.
6. Pilar Corrias
The one artist that everyone was talking about the start of Frieze Week was Philippe Parreno, who unveiled his brilliant commission for Tate Modern’s Turbine Hall on Monday night, garnering rave reviews.
Pilar Corrias has cleverly capitalized on this, presenting a minimal yet striking booth featuring only two works: Parreno’s Speech Bubbles (Transparent Orange) (2016) and Shahzia Sikander‘s Singing Suns, a new HD-video animation with music by Du Yun. Two pieces by two very different artists that nevertheless work together to perfection.
7. Victoria Miro
The London dealer presented a winning booth, featuring three top artists from her roster: Grayson Perry, Yayoi Kusama, and Chantal Joffe.
Perry’s sculptures and tapestry, with prices ranging from £50,000 to £450,000, were a big hit with collectors, as were Kusama’s recent paintings, including Infinity Nets [MLFTJ] (2016) and My Eternal Life (both from 2016, with prices ranging $400,000 to $1 million). A number of paintings by Chantal Joffe depicting strong Jewish women, including Betty Friedan, Hannah Arendt, Claude Cahun, and Gertrude Stein, had also sold in the morning, with prices ranging £10,000 to £30,000.
8. Meyer Kainer
Another recurring trend at the fair evidenced the ongoing interest of contemporary artists in interior design and domestic spaces. In that vein, the collaboration between Lucy McKenzie and Laurent Dupont at the booth the the Vienna-based gallery Meyer Kainer was one of the most significant.
Although the works (which have prices ranging €20,000 to €45,000) had been previously seen at the gallery, it marked the first opportunity for London audiences to enjoy them.
9. Peres Projects
Besides Parreno, if there’s another artist on everyone’s lips in London this week it’s American artist Donna Huanca, who currently has a much-talked about solo show at the Zabludowicz Collection and is also participating at the superb group show at David Roberts Art Foundation, titled “Streams of Warm Impermanence.”
Much has been said about Huanca’s use of female nudes in her performances and installations. At the booth of the Berlin gallery, her paintings took center stage, evidencing Huanca’s pictorial gift, using texture and color to create layered and seducing compositions, which command prices ranging from $15,000 to $60,000.
10. Lisson Gallery
Lisson’s booth definitely caught one’s eye, what with a massive Anish Kapoor piece so monumental that, at 12 feet high, it would have been equally at home at the Sculpture Park outside (or at Versailles, for that matter). It features a price tag to match its size: $4.6 million.
The rest of the pieces at gallery’s large booth were less monumental perhaps but equally appealing, particularly Susan Hiller’s Pink Painting (1984-87) which sold in the morning after a number of strong offers. Ai Weiwei’s Sofa in Black (2011), Pedro Reyes’ stunning Black Sun (2016), and a series of recent works by Ryan Gander were a phenomenal offering for fans of sculpture.
11. Kamel Mennour
Giant bells lay broken on the floor of Kamel Mennour’s booth, which staged a solo presentation of the work of French-Moroccan artist Latifa Echakhch.
The bells, real ones sourced from churches, evoke the ruins of war-torn towns and speak to the rehabilitation of memory over time. As a contemplative backdrop, there are a series of blackened oil-stick-on-canvas paintings whose only color are in slash marks, which reveal layers of bright color beneath.
12. David Zwirner
David Zwirner packed a strong punch with work by the much-hyped Kerry James Marshall (whose show at the Met Breuer opens at the end of the month), and new work by Carol Bove, a bright blue sculpture that shows the artist taking her cool, simple poetic structures in a bright and edgy direction. Chris Ofili, Bridget Riley, and Yayoi Kusama offer other gems in the booth.
13. Anthony Reynolds
Iconic photographs of Richard Billingham’s family—memorably his alcoholic father and his obese mother—were the heart of Anthony Reynold’s presentation in the new section of the fair called “The Nineties.”
The section, which is curated by the Geneva-based Nicolas Trembley, looks back at significant gallery shows of the 1990s. Billingham’s photographic series, “Ray’s Laugh,” which was featured in the seminal “Sensation” exhibition at the Royal Academy of Art in London in 1997, is surprisingly still fresh and startling, decades later.
At ShanghART gallery presented a solo booth of subtle and curious work by Beijing-based artist Ouyang Chun. His paintings explored themes of mental instability (he was raised near an insane asylum near Beijing), while at the center of the floor was “Infinity Column,” a delicately stacked tower of everyday objects.
15. Sprüth Magers
Among the small selection of artists at Sprüth Magers’s booth, British artist Gary Hume’s paintings, drawings, and sculptures stand out.
While the works are new, they play on vintage Hume themes including a Snowman sculpture (this one shinier than the older versions) and abstract enamel paintings in subdued colors. The knockout in this booth is series of small charcoal nudes that show Hume’s mastery of line and form.
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