Tuesday, March 1, 2022

Frieze Los Angeles (February 17th to 20th, 2022), Beverly Hills, CA (Photo Essay)

 It's been two years since Frieze Los Angeles was last opened. The two years was definitely worth wait. First, Frieze Los Angeles moved from its original location at the Paramount Studios on Melrose to the back of the Beverly Wilshire Hotel in the heart of Beverly Hills. Occupying three tents, Frieze Los Angeles 2022 was the art fair of all art fairs happening simultaneously in the city that week. Without the movie studio lot, the fair felt more business-like in its presentation. However, this was a good thing. It may not have been the LA or Hollywood experience that the previous fairs may have been, but it was the art fair that LA needed. The biggest complaint going back years has been the lack of a collector base. This year's Frieze has dispelled that complaint. What did sell? 

Hauser & Wirth sold out its entire stand – a solo exhibition by celebrated French artist Camille Henrot at prices ranging from $20,000 and $140,000. In another early sale, Gagosian placed Chris Burden’s large-format sculpture Dreamer’s Folly to an important European institution. Vielmetter was another gallery that found favor, selling out their booth of works by Samuel-Levi Jones. Goodman Gallery sold a work by William Kentridge priced above $500,000 to a prominent Los Angeles collection; Pace sold a ‘Gazing Ball’ sculpture by Jeff Koons in the region of $3,000,000, a large-scale sculpture by Louise Nevelson, and all five NFTs on view from Leo Villareal’s ‘Cosmic Reef’ series sold for 2.0 ETH; Lehmann Maupin sold out of works by McArthur Binion for a combined total of $550,000; David Kordansky Gallery sold all works from their solo presentation of paintings by artist Michael Williams, each priced at $100,000; David Zwirner sold a number of works by Lisa Yuskavage for between $600,000 and $1.5 million, a painting by Alice Neel for $1 million and two new paintings by Katherine Bernhardt for $150,000 each; Château Shatto sold major works within the first hours of the fair by Aria Dean, Van Hanos, Helen Johnson, Emma McIntyre, Jonny Negron and Katja Seib; White Cube reported numerous sales including a five panel work by Imi Knoebel for €395,000, a Beatrix Milhazes painting for $1,200,000 and collage for $200,000, and a work by Tracy Emin for £60,000; Thaddeus Ropac sold a Georg Baselitz work for €1,350,000 and a Robert Rauschenberg work for $1,100,000; Jessica Silverman sold the artist proof of an outdoor bronze by Woody De Othello for $400,000, a Clare Rojas painting for $150,000 and four works on paper by Claudia Wieser; Galerie Lelong & Co sold a new sculpture by Leonardo Drew sold for $80,000 to an American private collection with paintings by Tariku Shiferaw for $10,000 to $40,000; François Ghebaly sold two Kathleen Ryan works at $225,000 and $75,000 and one Sayre Gomez painting for $95,000; Xavier Hufkens sold out their booth of Thomas Houseago works, each priced at $350,000; Stephen Friedman Gallery sold out their booth of works by Denzil Forrester in the price range of £15,000 to £185,000.

The fair also saw the return of the Focus LA, the section of the fair that provides a platform for emerging Los Angeles spaces, which was curated this year by Amanda Hunt (Director of Public Programs & Creative Practice, Lucas Museum of Narrative Art). Parker Gallery placed two paintings by Melvino Garretti priced at $25,000 and $35,000 with a major European public collection; Charlie James Gallery sold all twelve new Jay Lynn Gomez acrylic on magazine page works presented; Stanley’s sold out of their presentation in the opening hours of the fair, which presented stained glass works by Timo Fahler in the range of $7,500 to $30,000 as well as ceramic works by Amia Yokoyama in the range of $4,000 to $15,000; Garden sold a work by Sarah Rosalena for $40,000 along with two ceramic works each for $6,000; in lieu placed five felted wool tapestries by Pauline Shaw in the $10,000 to 20,000 range and two works by Ficus Interfaith each under $10,000.

My hope is that some of the sales went to institutions here in the Los Angeles area. I would like to see a lot of these works in museums or public collections for the enjoyment of the public. I was discouraged by hearing that some of the most impressive pieces, such as Chris Burden's installation, were going to institutions abroad. Overall, the third iteration of Frieze marked something of a sea change. With New York galleries preparing to plant new spaces in the new city, and LA galleries doing the same in New York, Los Angeles is quickly becoming an even greater powerhouse. Frieze was a momentous occasion. I am hoping that it's not a canary in the coal mining to something that crowds out the freedom and experimentality that has defined the LA art scene. The openness is what makes the LA art scene attractive without the weight of the market or art historical pressures. Only time will tell.   

Frieze Los Angeles 2024 (Review)

Frieze Los Angeles 2024 was held again at Santa Monica Airport from February 29, 2024, to March 3, 2024. This year’s Frieze was remarkedly d...