Everybody has to have their top ten list, so here’s ours. Booths and artworks, established and emerging, delightful and compromising, we browsed, scrutinized, photographed, enquired, chatted with dealers and selected the following favorites. And yes, if we were oligarchs, we would have come home with a shiny blue heart
or a kitty-in-a-sock kind of trophies (+ 2 tuxedo’ed black boys to guard them).
Best WOW effect
You’ve probably already guessed it: Jeff Koons at Gagosian steals the show. This stand is from another world and Larry knows how to set a dramatic stage, including a group of well choreographed security guards.
Gavin Brown’s enterprise wins with an installation of 23 grimacing fluorescent traffic cones (Rob Pruitt, 2013) and Alex Katz’s paintings. We also loved the more traditional stands of David Zwirner and Hauser & Wirth, showing fantastic pieces from Sterling Ruby, Paul McCarthy, Ron Mueck and Matthew Day Jackson (H&W) and Oscar Murillo, Michael Riedel and Francis Alÿs (DZ).
Best solo presentation
If you missed the solo show of Navid Nuur at Parasol Unit earlier this year, this is your second chance. Plan B – a cutting edge gallery from Cluj, Romania, with a second space in Berlin, shows some of Nuur’s best pieces at Frieze Focus. A beautiful mixture of work, all related to text but brought to live in different media (glass, neon, pencil on paper, fabric sculptures etc).
Best explanation we got from a dealer
We had a great conversation with Mihai Pop, director and curator of Plan B about Navid Nuur’s work and with Irina Stark from Pilar Corrias about Leigh Ledare’s new series, as well as with young gallerist Hilary Crisp, but the winner will have to be Nick Koenigsknecht from Peres Projects. Artists, if you seek a charming, eloquent and knowledgeable dealer, look no more!
Best laugh (in a good way!)
George Condo’s busts at Spruth Magers. United Nations’ Souvenir Palace by Beninese artist Meschac Gaba. Gravestone dedicated to Tomorrow from Elmgreen & Dragset at Massimo De Carlo.
Best vomit (in not a good way!)
Monstrous sculpture of pregnant Jennifer Rubell with a hollow womb, inviting weirdos to climb inside. Interactive pieces can be fun but this was just ridiculous.
Best (affordable) artworks
Benjamin Hirte’s engraved bicycle pumps (unique, $3.200 each) at Galerie Emanuel Layr (Frame), Elad Lassry at David Kordansky ($9.000), Leigh Ledare at Pilar Corrias (15.000), Jordan Wolfson at Sadie Coles ($15.000) – all small editions. Janice Kerbel’s Kills the Workers screen print (£240, ed. of 30).
Best use of technology
Use of Oculus Rift at Formalist Sidewalk Poetry Club (work of artist Ian Cheng).
It was a close contest amongst the fox at Peter Kilchmann (Javier Tellez), the vulture at Emmanuel Perrotin (Elmgreen & Dragset), the shark at Massimo De Carlo and the rat at Matthew Marks (Katharina Fritsch). The rat wins! This exquisite, but an expensive rodent costs $10.000 and there are 250 of them running around…
Best porn disguised as art
Normally Paul McCarthy or Leigh Ledare would easily claim the price, but this year they kept it rather decent. Instead we nominate a 4–channel video installation by Omer Fast at Arratia, Beer gallery, telling an engaging, and by times sad, story of people in the LA adult industry. The result is not about sex but about the day-to-day labor of pornography. As the artist states: “it is very, very mundane, on a daily basis, probably like working at Walmart”.
All our photos are on Flickr.
Enjoy the fair!