ART FAIR REVIEW 

TOP BOOTHS TO HAVE SEEN AT FRIEZE NEW YORK 2015 

 

  

Gavin Brown's enterprise, New York

Gavin Brown's booth was devoted to Jonathan Horowitz's "700 Dots" project. For this work, the artist paid 700 participants $20 each to paint a neat black circle on a small white canvas (they were given very precise instructions). When it was complete, the entire collection of dot paintings was sold as a work of the artist. It offered fairgoers a quiet, highly focused moment in the bustle of the art fair and a fun atmosphere that was the talk of the preview. It also seemed to embody that high level of engagement that felt like the essence of Frieze this year.

 

 

  

Herald St., London 

Most striking here apart from Peter Coffin's Untitled (Alphabet) (2014) that extended in an opalescent rainbow arc over the booth were the fur-jacket-draped chairs of Turner Prize-nominated artist Nicole Wermers

, a comment on consumerist culture and the fusion of art and design. Ida Ekblad's canvases A Day of Toil 8 (2014) and A Day of Toil 4 (2014) hung nearby. Ekblad used shopping carts in a Situationist-inspired series she calls "drift," for which she would wander through the city with a shopping cart collecting detritus. For the canvases in the booth, Ekblad carved poetry into the wheels of a shopping cart, covered them in paint, and then ran the carts over the canvases.

 

 

  

Pace, New York

For its first outing at the fair, Pace brought a solo presentation of the work of Richard Tuttle, 12 drawings in a series called "Aspects" created in Maine in 2014-from materials including cardboard, maple wood, and furniture grade lacquer. But perhaps most intriguing about the presentation was the booth itself, which was also designed by Tuttle extending his exploration of form and texture from the sketchbook to the entire room. Masonite floors, turned right-side-up with black shiny Masonite dots exposed at the edges are true Tuttle and united the work with the room in an enveloping poetic experience.

 

 

  

The principles of Islamic geometry typically found in the shrines of Iran were transformed into sculpture and wall works by contemporary Iranian artist Monir Shahroudy Farmanfarmaian, who spent 26 years in exile in New York during the Islamic Revolution and found herself spending time with Willem de Kooning and Joan Mitchell. On view at this gallery's booth was a nice selection of Farmanfarmaian's drawings and mirrored glass works-also on view at her first solo show at the Guggenheim through June 3. On one wall was a large installation that consisted of nine mirrored elements. While this installation was fixed on the wall, it was a precursor to a series of works known as "Convertibles," for which the works could be rearranged into different patterns (and they come with installation instructions for various ways to hang it).

 

 

  

The Breeder, Athens
It was hard to miss Andreas Angelidakis's "Crash Pad." For this installation, Angelidakis converted the booth into an "Oda," or a welcoming room of the kind that existed in palaces during the Ottoman Empire, with 19th century Greek rugs, pillows, and thematically appropriate sculpture like simulacra of Corinthian columns made from cardboard or created with 3-D printers. "The work intends to challenge our conception of the Classical Greek aesthetic," said George Vamvakidis, one of the gallery's co-owners. Fair visitors felt welcome to take a rest and socialize among the pillows. 
 
 
Clearing, Brooklyn and Brussels

At Clearing, a gallery based in Brooklyn and Brussels, roughly 40 small colorful works on paper by Calvin Marcus were hung in a single line at eye level. Each work in the series, which collectively was called "Military Man With Tongue Out" (2014-2015), portrayed a soldier in a grotesque and somewhat comedic manner at some stage of death or distress. The works, partly because of their materials-they're made with crayon and sharpie-evoke both childrens' drawings and ancient prints of Japanese samurai.

 

 

  

Overduin & Co., Los Angeles

The booth of Overduin & Co. was filled with paintings (from her "News!" series) and recent sculpture of LA-based artist Math Bass. Bass takes cues from early sign painting to create paintings with tense interplay of positive and negative space that can verge on optical illusions. There's playful formal repetition of shapes and symbols found across her work-what looks like a cigarette in one painting appears in another painting to be a match, and in yet a third painting looks more like a smokestack. Perhaps attesting to Bass's up-and-coming-ness, surveying the booth was none-other than collector Mera Rubell.

 

 

  

Artist Zhan Wang's shiny stainless steel rock surreally placed on top of a Ming-dynasty table (in style only), Shanshui Furniture 1 (1998-2008), was a startling site in the aisles of Frieze, and felt a bit like walking into a painting by Magritte. One of China's leading contemporary artists, Wang is best known for these shiny rock sculptures shaped like the "scholar's rocks" you might find in a Chinese garden. Other striking works in this booth included Xu Zhen's Play Spire of the Sky (2013), an architectural S&M tower made of leather and chains as well as paintings by Wang Jianwei.

 

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