London’s esteemed Frieze Art Fair had its second outing in New York last week. Jean Hepburn floated among the artists, collectors, curators, journalists and 45,000 visitors.
Asking a New Yorker to leave the island is no mean feat but it was a burden tens of thousands of us were evidently happy to bear as they boarded the ferry to Randall’s Island for the city’s second Frieze Art Fair. The fair came at the end of a jam-packed stint of big ticket art events, including Jeff Koons’ new work at David Zwirner (his first New York show since 2008), The Armory Show and Dallas Art Fair, and I found myself asking: what it was that Frieze could offer that A) I hadn’t seen before or B) couldn’t be seen in an ambitious Saturday spent in the West Village?
I quickly shook off these thoughts, realising I was at risk of sounding like most annoying, spoilt locals. Frieze also had the promise of a considerable amount of European galleries (51% according to the New York Times), a great spread of publications, an impressive catalog of eating options courtesy of several killer restaurants and a $1m, 80ft inflatable red ballon dog by Paul McCarthy watching over the proceedings.
The bar at Italian joint Frankies Spuntino was my first stop, and after two cheeky glasses of rosé I was ready to dive headfirst into the 450-meter-long tent. Maybe it was the wine talking, but to start the day it seemed undoubtedly appropriate to slip my sneakers off and get involved with the Bjarne Melgaard kid-friendly installation at Gavin Brown Enterprise.
From there, I wandered (with laces firmly tied back up) across to David Zwirner’s booth, which boasted a handful of Thomas Ruff nudes among his other works. Arguably the most immersive pieces of the fair were Jack Early’s installation at the McCaffrey Fine Art booth and the spoken performance piece at the Marian Goodman booth. Daniel Arsham’s life-size human sculptures cast from broken glass and resin also stopped me in my tracks. From there, the fair was a blur of some incredible works from Thomas Demand, Tracey Emin, Damien Hirst, George Condo, Alex Katz, and Dan Colen (below).
After spending way too much time tapping away at Doug Aitken’s green onyx xylophone table courtesy of 303 Gallery, I decided it was time to grab a bite from the Mission Chinese restaurant pop-up and head out to the sculpture garden that overlooked the city. Too much contemporary art, rosé, and San Francisco-style Chinese food is evidently never a bad thing.
Frieze New York
By Jean Tennenbaum