frieze art fair | highlights

The Frieze Art Fair took place on Randall’s Island Park in New York this past weekend. The sixth edition of the event featured highly impressive presentations from more than 200 top international contemporary and 20th Century art galleries from 31 countries, curated segments showcasing emerging talent, site-specific artist commissions, and talk series.

Victoria Siddall, Director of the fair, organized Frieze’s museum-quality experience. “Frieze New York continues to evolve, and this year galleries are bringing presentations of greater breadth and quality than ever before, reflecting the diverse cultural interests of our audience,” noted Siddall. “Following major sales to institutions and private collectors in 2016 – and with Cecilia Alemani’s inspiring projects and Toby Kamps’s new perspective on Spotlight this year – the fair continues to develop as a vital and unique platform for art and ideas.”

Resonating with themes explored across this year’s international biennials such as feminist perspectives and politically charged subjects, many galleries presented work exploring the role of art in climates 
of conflict – from colonial pasts to dystopian futures. P.P.O.W. (New York) presented a large-scale, car-shaped pigeon coop by Anton van Dalen, originally exhibited at Exit Art in 1988, alongside pioneering works by artist-activists Martin Wong and David Wojnarowicz, all showing the influence of immigration, street art and Hip Hop on the cultural epoch.

Many galleries have curated shows featuring women artists from the 20th
 and 21st centuries, exploring pressing feminist issues and the role of women
in influential movements of contemporary practice. Solo exhibitions include Simone Subal Gallery (New York, Focus) who will showcase the Austrian- American pioneer of feminist Pop Art, Kiki Kogelnik (1935-1997); newcomer Bridget Donahue (New York, Frame) presenting a solo exhibition by Susan Cianciolo, coinciding with the artist’s participation in the Whitney Biennial; and The Third Line (Dubai, main) presenting a solo stand of work by Iranian artist Farhad Moshiri exploring the common ground between Iran and the West.

Photograph by Mark Blower. Courtesy of Mark Blower and Frieze.

One of our highlights include Esther Schipper’s multi-coloured geometric prism, floating in mid-air like a building block of life. Her symmetrically organic work was a clear crowd-pleaser in its joyful composition.

Following that thread of organic art, we were in disbelief to find Eric Serritella’s hand carved trompe l’oeil sculptures at Jason Jacques Gallery. At first glance we believed to be viewing sections of actual wood: bark, birch, and weathered logs. Upon closer inspection, it still looked like wood. It was only until the gallerist informed us that artist Serritella is a ceramist that we realised the immensity of the illusion. “I strive to show how nature maintains its splendours through tenacity and triumph of existence despite the disregard we humans show her,” noted Serritella. “I appreciate how ceramic mirrors the environment’s fragility and durability…easily damaged if disrespected and yet invincible in its inherent beauty.”

Keith Sonnier, Chila 2016

Another one of our highlights is Keith Sonnier’s light sculpture Chilia. The neon swoops and swirls are almost reminiscent of painterly strokes, fashioned with light. Sonnier was originally part of a group of artists who challenged preconceived notions of sculpture in the late 1960s by experimenting with industrial and ephemeral materials. Here, we experienced interwoven tubes of glowing neon – proving that Sonnier still challenges the way we normally perceive light forms.

Frieze Art Fair was on Randall’s Island in New York from May 5 – May 7, 2017.

Words / Sheri Chiu

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