If there is anything close to an international currency- it’s art- and ‘art’ is at Frieze in abundance. There were so many occasions where I passed a booth and said – “Oh, that must be such and such a gallery,” only to notice that the booth in fact belonged to a dealer from a far away city, stocking the same artists as a New York gallery; clearly there are art stars and they travel well. The Maria Abromovic self portrait print with gold stuffed into her mouth spoke volumes. The glass covering of the piece reflected the busy shoppers and bright lights of the fair, while she stared out from behind the frame, silenced by the crumpled gold in her mouth.
The cross pollination and international blur of art can easily be seen in the younger artists as well. Agnieszka Kurant is an artist of Polish descent who lives in New York. I happened upon her work at a Brazilian gallery’s booth. The piece that caught my eye was’ Ersatz Chopin,’a horizontal pile up of CD’s with Chopin’s image and Chinese text. I learned that the artist was inspired when she found out that Chopin has the biggest number of fans in China! Agnieszka Kurant plans to send one set of these ‘fake’ CD,s- back to China, as a comment on the global cultural/economic melting pot.
The overall impression of works on view was eye catching, lively and loud. The tongue in cheek work by Hans Peter Feldman, a German artist- showing at an Italian gallery- Massimo Minini, mocked the seriousness of classical art with his addition of red clown noses on his models.
There was levity in the air and leisurely joy among the strolling crowd as they took in the art- or ate at the various food venues. One could dine indoors or out and there were extensive international options available for eating. Most art fairs are held in hermetic bunker like structures bulging with art and anxious multi-lingual exchanges over hearty handshakes. While those art fairs are useful for a variety of purposes, I never find them pleasant. Frieze NY, now in its second year is different. Held in high vaulted white tents, situated on the green grasses of New York’s Randall’s Island Park , surrounded by the East River, fresh air and fresh light are abundant. Frieze NY feels outdoorsy and fresh.
Suzanne Buttler – co-owner of Canada Gallery said that, “they love showing at Frieze NY. Frieze is a well vetted art fair and collectors take everything they see seriously. The natural light makes the art look its best and the airy setting is easy on the body and makes people feel good. We sold everything we could possibly sell, early into the preview.”
We are all creatures of comfort and art aficionados especially, live by their senses. – Frieze NY caters to us well with: Good Feng Shui, good food, and good art –in that order. We look forward to round three sometime in May 2014.
Words/Photos Lizanne Merrill © Artlyst 2013