The hustle and bustle of the spring art season has fallen over New York, and the anticipation is building for this year’s edition of Frieze New York, set to open its doors in just a few days at its annual haunt at Randall’s Island. This year, as the fair reaches its seventh edition, some adjustments and tweaks to the schedule will look to expand the fair’s offerings and appeal in an increasingly crowded circuit.
Eiji Uematsu, Shape that supports (1995), via via Gallery 38
The fair will be the first New York edition under Loring Randolph, who was named artistic director for the Americas in, moving over from Casey Kaplan Gallery, and who takes over with a particular focus paid towards drawing in new buyers. Look for a fair pushing harder to cater to VIPs this year, in particular through scheduling. This year’s edition sees the fair open to VIP cardholders only for its first two days, May 2 and May 3 before it opens to the public, concluding on May 6th. The fair has also lowered its prices for the Frame section, hoping to appeal to smaller galleries often priced out of marquee fairs.
The range of galleries, as a result, should prove quite diverse. Berlin’s Peres Projects will be on hand, bringing a body of works that includes pieces by Ajarb Bernard Ategwa, Donna Huanca, Beth Letain and Austin Lee, while Whitechapel Gallery will bring a series of drawings and prints including pieces by Joan Jonas and Pawel Althamer. Also of note will be a striking series of works by Torbjørn Rødland and Tom of Finland at LA’s David Kordansky, examining the varied aesthetic perspectives and interests of two Nordic artists.
The fair also returns its curated sections, Frame and Spotlight. In Spotlight, the fair will feature a series of historically resonant and focused shows at each gallery booth, including a selection of 1960’s paintings by David Simpson at Haines, and a series of Jeff Keen’s collaged “secret comics” on view at London exhibition space Hales. At Frame, a range of younger artists and curated shows is also on view, including work by Mark Van Yetter at Bridget Donahue, and a series of drawings by Jorge de Léon on view at Proyectos Ultravioleta.
The fair also debuts a Live section this year, featuring a range of performances and other projects looking to expand its programming beyond static pieces and the occasional commission. For its inaugural year, performances have been commissioned from Alfredo Jaar, who will broadcast a range of recorded messages and audio clips over the fair’s loudspeaker, and Raúl de Nieves with Erik Zajaceskowski, performing expansive processions in hyper-elaborate costuming throughout the fair, culminating an imaginative installation work. Also of note is a performance by Hank Willis Thomas, who will present 15,093 and 15,580 (both 2018), embroidered fabric works each recalling the American flag but with stars that number lives lost by gun violence in recent years.
Also returning this week is the 1:54 African Contemporary Art Fair, which will set up shop again at Pioneer Works in Brooklyn. The fair has built a strong reputation for its curatorial vision and tightly focused exhibition project, and will soon be expanding to an edition in Morocco. With an exciting program that includes a sprawling lounge installation by artist Azikiwe Mohammed, and booths from major dealers in Nigeria, South Africa, and the rest of the continent’s burgeoning art scene, the fair remains a staple of the week’s offerings.
The week also marks the return of TEFAF’s edition in New York, bringing a combination of classical, Renaissance, and earlier art works as well as furniture and other design objects, making it a fitting addition for collectors and buyers looking to expand their holdings and collection beyond contemporary objects, and into more diverse fields.