Artist Andy Slemenda in front of a Steiner Haga Kristensen painting at Malmö based Johan Berggren Gallery’s booth at Frieze New York. (SCANDINAVIAN SHOUT OUT their booth was cool, I liked the Victor Rosdal metal spheres with mounted paintings) Photo credit: Anna Mikaela Ekstrand
Frieze New York is one of the few fairs that focuses solely on contemporary art, visitors to the over 23,000 m2 tent on Randall’s Island last weekend could see work presented by over 190 galleries from 29 countries. Frieze London, held in Regent’s Park in London every October has been a staple of the art market since 2003 and it’s New York off-shot, now in its third year, is a big draw for European galleries and a worthy contender of it’s rival the Armory Show which is slightly smaller in size, higher grossing but arguably more bland and predictable. Frieze New York has also garnered a higher number of satellite fairs than last year. Unlike the Armory Show there is little work featured by dead artists at Frieze I didn’t see one Andy Warhol, that said Hauser and Wirth’s presentation “On The Fabric of the Human Body” featured work by the deceased Louise Bourgeois. It was a treat to see The Family (2008) late gouache paintings depicting figures with hanging bosoms, swollen stomachs and seeping blood alongside pieces by Rita Ackermann, Isa Genzken and Paul McCarthy all dealing with the body excellently curated by Gianni Jetzer, I will let it slip. A trend this year seems to be ceramics, starting off in the Whitney biennial with examples like elegant Shio Kusaka’s pottery and Sterling Ruby’s engaging ‘Basin Theology’ series of ceramic sculptures Frieze offered work in ceramic ranging from great Lynda Benglis work at Cheim & Reid, Jessica Jackson Hutchins (below) to industrial design style ceramic vases at Andrew Kreps.
Unlike presentations like the Venice Biennale, the Whitney Biennial or Documenta where a vast amount of art is showcased under the direction of one or a small number of curators art fairs present work in a different context; for sale which, when you are not looking to buy ends up being rather repetitive. Frieze however was less tedious than other fairs, perhaps due to all the great art (or the natural lighting).
A good way to keep up the pace at an art fair is to visit it in good company, I went to the preview (attended by notables such as designers Marc Jacobs and Raf Simons as well as the former mayor of New York Michael Bloomberg, Uma Thurman and Leonardo Dicaprio) with American artist Andy Šlemenda. Originally from rural Pennsylvania Šlemenda is a sculptor that mixes organic and man made material, like ostrich eggs and crepe paper with Styrofoam to create phantasmal sculptures, he is an NYU MFA graduate that, after stints in Paris and Istanbul currently lives and works in Brooklyn. He describes himself as creating art with the sensibility of a woman and appreciates aesthetics similar to his own.
Here are Andy Slemenda’s Top 5 Picks from Frieze 2014
1. Marlie Mul at Croy Nielsen, Berlin. Focus.
Marlie Mul Puddle (Faint Green) 2014. Resin, sand placed on floor. 4x104x67 cm. Unique. 15,000 USD. Sold. Courtesy of Croy Nielsen.
Marlie Mul Cigarette Ends Here (Smoking Pregnant Woman, Baby, and Friend) 2012. Digital print on silk. 220×130 cm. Edition of 3 plus 2 Artist proofs. Sold. Courtesy of Croy Nielsen.
The gallery will also show Mul’s work at Liste Art Fair Basel, 17-22 June.
2. Karla Black at Galerie Gisela Capitain, Cologne.
Karla Black. Pleaser 2009. Brown Paper, paint, eye shadow, nail varnish, chalk dust. 160x400x5 cm. 38,000 GBP + VAT. Sold. Courtesy of Galerie Gisela Capitain.
3. Jessica Jackson Hutchins at Johann König, Berlin and Timothy Taylor Gallery, London.
Jessica Jackson Hutchins Fountain, 2014. Ceramic, glaze, found ceramics, ottoman. 120x70x60 cm. Unique. 40-50.000 USD. Courtesy of Johan König Gallery.
Jessica Jackson Hutchins Leather Flowers, 2014. Leather, acrylic, stain, linen. 132×107 cm. Unique. 15-20.000 USD. Courtesy of Johan König Gallery.
Jessica Jackson Hutchins, SAP, 2013. Ceramic, glaze, sofa. Unique. Courtesy of Timothy Taylor Gallery, photo by Sebastiano Pellion di Persano.
4. Elaine Cameron-Weir at Ramiken Crucible, New York
Elaine Cameron-Weir.Installation view. Photo by Ginny Kollak.
5. Josef Strau at Gallery Francesca Pia, Zurich.
Josef Strau, The tea pot and the redemption, 2013. Aluminium, cotton. approx. arrangement 40 x 100 x 82 cm. Courtesy of Gallery Francesca Pia, photo by Mathilde Agius.
Andy Slemenda will be showing in “To Store & Organize Material,” a group show that he has co-curated together with artist Liza Lacroix. On view at 863 Broadway in Bushwick, New York May 30th through June 1st.
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Anna Mikaela Ekstrand is editor-in-chief and founder of Cultbytes. She mediates art through writing, curating, and lecturing. Her latest books are Assuming Asymmetries: Conversations on Curating Public Art Projects of the 1980s and 1990s and Curating Beyond the Mainstream. Send your inquiries, tips, and pitches to firstname.lastname@example.org.