AO On Site Photoset – New York: Frieze Art Fair Summary at Randall’s Island Park, May 4-7, 2012

May 10th, 2012

Louise Bourgeois, Untitled (2004). All photos on site by Art Observed.

The last of the throng at the first Frieze Art Fair on Randall’s Island in New York City petered out Monday afternoon yet, the most avid collectors simply shifted course to the remainder auction sales at Christie’s and Philips de Pury. Overall, gallerists at the fair appeared to be immensely pleased with the inaugural event, some booths claiming blowout sales, while others were content with merely executing reserve transactions.

John Ahearn casts a fairgoer in plaster as part of Frieze Projects

Works by Dan Flavin (left) and John McCracken (right) at David Zwirner

Laurence Tuhey, associate director of Timothy Taylor Gallery in Mayfair, London, was delighted to close on several established paintings by Sean Scully and Alex Katz, the latter he personally picked up from Katz’s studio in lower Manhattan the morning of the fair preview. In the VIP room within his booth, Tuhey had slyly withheld a miniature painting by Philip Guston, the late Abstract Expressionist painter, for select clients. At Gagosian’s booth, Rudolf Stingel’s six photo-like paintings which each sold for $450,000 on preview day continued to be on display all five days of the fair while buzz built around Lucio Fontana’s museum-quality exhibition across the river at the Chelsea branch.

Metro Pictures

At White Cube, reported negotiations for Damien Hirst’s I Want You Too (1993) continued through Monday as the original asking price of $4m was deemed high and discounts were expected to close the deal. As the younger, perhaps quirkier fair to, say, Art Basel in Switzerland, buyers and collectors in New York have been split between finding the latest output of established artists while attempting to calibrate the resale value of untested art as an investment vehicle in the secondary market. Antony Gormley’s 1987 monolithic sculpture priced at £500,000 remained unsold, whereas the Build V (2010) geometric skeleton found a buyer at £300,000. Kimberly Brown of White Cube remarked, “We are very happy with the outcome of the fair in New York and certainly look forward to the next one.”

Lisa Spellman of 303 Gallery

Nearly closing time on Monday, a coterie of dealers at 303 Gallery’s booth sat around their round table in elevated spirits, having sold three editions of Doug Aitken’s More priced at $250,000. Two remaining gallerists at the Sikkema Jenkins & Co. booth, however, were somewhat coy about the distinct probability of Mayor Bloomberg having purchased one edition of Vik Muniz’s Washington Crossing the Delaware, after Emanuel Leutze (Pictures of Magazines 2), 2012. (During the Vernissage on Thursday, Bloomberg was seen attentively observing the highly detailed appropriation piece.) At Massimo de Carlo, a Rob Pruitt piece sold for $75,000, Rashid Johnson’s work sold for $70,000, and Aaron Young’s painting sold for $90,000. And at Hauser & Wirth, a blue dwarf sculpture by Paul McCarthy sold for $950,000.

Outside the pavilion

As the arduous task of dismantling the 250,000 sq ft temporary tents is underway, many have reflected on the structure itself. The highly pitched pavilion certainly lent the venue an airy atmosphere, yet the plastic heat-trapping fabric had proved to be rather oppressive for gallerists and guests on the sunnier days. The largest criticism of the fair design, however, for some related to the harsh overhead lighting. Not only did the intensity strain one’s eyes, the lighting was not neutral and arguably did not present pieces in the best light. Tuhey of Timothy Taylor had quipped, “This Scully piece would appear purple in my gallery in London, yet it looks gray here.” Alternatively, the array of dining choices was well received, featuring several different restaurants and chefs throughout. Fairgoers adored the adventurous outing aspect of taking the ferry (or helicopter) to Randall’s Island, and did not seem to mind abandoning the provincial tendencies of New Yorkers to stay within their fiefdoms.

John Ahearn’s face castings made on site

John Ahearn and woman just after casting her face

Dealer Andrew Kreps at his booth



Works by Tracy Emin at Lehmann Maupin

Sculpture by Tony Cragg



Gilbert and George

Curator Neville Wakefield, center right

Works by Lorna Simpson at Salon 94

Works by Lorna Simpson at Salon 94

James Fuentes

Works at James Fuentes

Roberta’s mobile pizza oven

James Angus, Concrete Cloudburst (2012)

Subodh Gupta, Et tu, Duchamp? (2009)

Joshua Callaghan, Two Dollar Umbrella (2011)

Jeppe Hein, Geometric Mirrors (2010)

Rathin Barman, Untitled (2012)

—I. Kim

Related Links: 

Exhibition Site [Frieze New York]
Interview: Amanda Sharp, Co-Founder of Frieze Art Fair Talks About The Move to NYC [GofG]
Moving In and Moving Up [Artnet]
New York Frieze Art Fair considered success [Art Media Agency]
Frieze New York 2012 [Wallpaper]
On an Island, Worker Bees Fill a  Long White Hive [NY Times]
London’s Frieze art fair debuts New York edition [LA Times]
Another Fair Makes a Debut, and Aims to Lure the Collectors Already in Town [NY Times]
Frieze art fair New York – in pictures [The Guardian]