Wednesday, April 3, 2024

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 different. First, the fair was smaller than previous years. It was held in one building as opposed to two separate buildings. Last year’s fair was in two buildings where fair goers had to either walk a distance or take a golf cart between the venues. Everything was concentrated in one building. This allowed better accessibility to booths and vendors at Frieze.

This year’s Frieze was strong both in the quality of booths and vendors, and the special curated sections focusing on the local art galleries and spaces. Organized for the first-time by Essence Harden (Visual Arts Curator and Program Manager, California African American Museum), Focus comprised of 12 young US-based galleries showing solo stands by emerging or overlooked talent. Curated by Harden, the featured presentations explore the intimate, environmental and urban dimensions of ecologies. With the majority of participating spaces based in LA, Focus is a celebration of the city’s vibrant and evolving art community. Each booth had strengths in depth and substance of the artists exhibited. However, the best booth of Focus was the ebony glazed ceramic portraits by LA based sculptor, Mustafa Ali Clayton at Dominique Gallery, and the textile works by Akea Brionne at the Lyles & King booth. Working from her archive of family photographs, Brionne uses a digital loom to weave diaristic tapestries that chart her ancestral history, everyday experience and Black identity while Clayton affirms the beauty, heritage, and strength of the Black woman figure.

Among the gallery exhibitors, the best booths displayed art from women and people of color. Jack Shainman Gallery always is strong in its presentation. The Frieze Los Angeles booth was no exception. Works by Jessie Krimes, Lynette Yiadom-Boakye, Odili Donald Odita, Nick Cave and others were a visual delight and exemplified a strong Black visual language. Another booth was the Casey Kaplan exhibit of new works by Jordan Casteel. Casteel’s paintings display the interaction between community, family, and the natural world. Family and intimacy are strong in Casteel’s work. Definitely a great booth. Another noteworthy booth was Gagosian’s “Social Abstraction” with works by the intergenerational group of Black artists Derrick Adams, Theaster Gates, Cy Gavin, Lauren Halsey, and Rick Lowe who try go beyond the abstraction to elevate experiences instead. A truly powerful booth that was one of the best. Gary Tyler’s powerful work of struggle and redemption while in prioson was the recipient of this year’s Frieze Impact Award of $25,000. Tyler’s work In Memoriam of an Ashanti Warrior (2024) was acquired by the Santa Monica Art Bank. This year’s edition is realized in partnership with Endeavor Impact and The Center for Art and Advocacy and its fellowship program, Right of Return, a non-profit dedicated to providing a direct path to sustainability and equity for artists directly impacted by the criminal legal system. Finally, The Pit, one of the best art galleries in Los Angeles, which just opened a new space in Glassell Park, exhibited new works by California-based artist Allison Schulnik, her first presentation in her home state since 2016. An important figure in the LA art scene, Schulnik was born in San Diego, CA in 1978 and lives and works in Sky Valley, CA. The booth was painted in blue-green and yellow with both ceramic works and paintings. Schulnik’s personal approach to art is inviting and engaging. Schulnik reflects and welcomes the viewer into her world. The Pit booth at Frieze Los Angeles was one of the best and definitely stood out. Other booths that stood out were for Pace, Kasmin showing vanessa german, and Gladstone Gallery. 

The 2024 edition of Frieze Los Angeles was a success with reports from galleries of strong sales throughout the week and praise from both local and international fairgoers, attracting 32,000 visitors from 48 countries across the four days of the fair. The fair hosted over 95 galleries spanning 21 countries in a bespoke structure designed by Kulapat Yantrasast’s architectural studio WHY, alongside some of the city’s renowned non-profits, local restaurants and partner activations. The enthusiasm level was greater than past iterations and it was noticeable. With Frieze Los Angeles coming to close, it would be safe to say that Frieze will be back. My only hope is that Frieze would expand in both size and length of days. With more and more of the community wanting to experience and attend the fair, it would be smart to expand the fair to a larger venue and to add a day or two. Los Angeles is hungry for more Frieze and looking forward to 2025.  

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...