The worldwide art community is keeping a careful eye on what’s going on in Los Angeles, with gallery after gallery announcing plans to open there. Frieze Los Angeles, which opened its third edition with a VIP preview on Thursday morning, is part of the cause for the sudden surge of interest. The fair, which was held in a custom-built tent across from the Beverly Hilton and featured roughly 100 exhibitors, drew a continuous stream of people and witnessed excellent sales throughout the day.
Frieze sponsored a small brunch before the fair’s opening, at which Beverly Hills Mayor Robert Wunderlich, who arrived on a bicycle and wore a pink helmet, spoke. Afterward, Wunderlich told a reporter that Frieze is a “perfect fit,” because the city “has had a strong relationship to arts and culture since its beginnings that continues now.” “We’re glad Frieze is here, and we’re delighted to be its host,” he continued. To paraphrase Casablanca’s ending, “I hope this is the start of a lovely relationship.”
The ten best booths at Frieze Los Angeles are listed below.
- Amelia Toledo at Nara Roesler
Amelia Toledo, a Brazilian artist who was featured in the groundbreaking traveling show “Radical Women,” which opened at the Hammer Museum in 2017, is still mostly unknown in the United States. At this year’s fair, Nara Roesler, a leading Brazilian gallery that has worked with the artist’s estate since 2019, hopes to change that. Toledo was a student of Anita Malfatti and Waldemar da Costa, as well as a friend of Mira Schendel, Lygia Clark, and Lygia Pape, who worked with her for almost eight decades before her death in 2017. Roesler’s booth will include two series that underline the importance of nature in Toledo’s profession. Her lyrically simple “Horizon” paintings, created during the last decades of her life, are displayed on the walls, in which shades of the same color—oranges, blues, and reds—meet at a center horizon line. Several pieces from her “Minas de cor” (Color mines) series are arranged in stainless steel bands on the floor, including yellow and red jasper, crystal quartz, and blue quartzite. Toledo polished the stones to bring out their natural brilliance.
- Samuel Levi Jones at Vielmetter
Samuel Levi Jones presents a stunning new series of mixed-media works in this solo booth, in which the covers and pages of Indiana history and law books are juxtaposed in various compositions. These works are striking, no doubt due to the fact that the artist pulped and colored his books, giving them a tactile touch. Though these abstractions may appear straightforward at first glance, Jones is interested in the myriad ways that recorded history can systemically perpetuate inequality.
- Tania Candiani at Vermelho
Tania Candiani, a Mexican artist residing in Mexico City, is exhibiting two stunning sets of work at the Vermelho gallery in So Paulo. Two wall installations of rows of black and white alarm clocks form diamond and hourglass forms in Sobre el Tiempo (2008–22). Two life-size sewn paintings from her “Manifestantes” series (2019–22) are also on display, which she began a week before the “revolución Diamantina,” a 2019 march in Mexico City condemning the rape of a woman by four police officers. The artist stated in a statement that she wanted to show “women in various marches and protests around the world.” Taking advantage of the moment of unanimity and protest—when the voice rises. Sewing is a form of noisy drawing for me. “These portraits are voices,” says the artist.
- Jennie C. Jones at Alexander Gray Associates
Jennie C. Jones has one striking canvas in the booth of New York’s Alexander Gray Associates, which is currently the subject of an exhibition at the Guggenheim Museum in New York. This 2021 painting, titled Red Tone #5, is part of Guggenheim’s Red Tone series and features two intense red tones. The artist has affixed a grey piece of architectural felt to the side of the work, which can be utilized to attenuate sound. It’s a visual representation of an auditory experience, as well as the painting’s potential for sound—or silence—for the artist. Jones’ use of basic tones is reminiscent of Minimalist painting. Palimpsest (I), a wall-mounted sculpture of old wooden boxes by Valeska Soares from 2016, has a parallel in Red Tone #5.
- Evelyn Taocheng Wang at Carlos/Ishikawa
Evelyn Taocheng Wang was born in Chengdu, China, in 1981 and has lived in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, for the last ten years. Her art frequently examines the cultural divide between Chinese and Dutch cultures, as well as the contrasts in their perceptions of class, gender, and beauty. Wang displays two connected sculptures in the booth of London’s Carlos/Ishikawa, after immersing herself in the golden period of Dutch art and the fashion of agnès b. (both of which present classical ideals of European beauty for women). Handmade textiles that resemble giant underwear are laid out across drying racks in them.
- Christina Quarles at Pilar Corrias
Pilar Corrias of London has brought a variety of pieces by its roster artists to its group booth, including a Philippe Parreno “Marquee” sculpture and a mixed-media painting by Gisela McDaniel. A striking new work by Christina Quarles, which will be included in the main exhibition of this year’s Venice Biennale, is also on display at the gallery. This new artwork, titled Another Day Over, adds to Quarles’ current body of work, which began in 2020 as lockdown began. Quarles has been recognized in recent years for her paintings in which various bodies blend into one another, but in Another Day Over, there appears to be only one figure—a reflection of the loneliness many people are feeling as the pandemic continues. It hangs between two Tschabalala Self chair sculptures.
- Tschabalala Self at Galerie Eva Presenhuber
In the case of Tschabalala Self, Galeria Eva Presenhuber has imported one of the artist’s significant works, which was last seen in Los Angeles three years ago at the Hammer Museum. The sculpture, which represents a Black lady leaning over, began as a plaster-and-gauze sculpture before being cast in bronze and painted pink. A pink carpet has been added as well. Self has stated that her work aims to reimagine how Black women have been represented in art throughout history, and here, she depicts her female figure as a person who is regenerating the surroundings around her.
- Helen Pashgian at Lehmann Maupin
Helen Pashgian, a Pasadena resident, has a lovely installation on the outside of Lehmann Maupin’s booth, which faces a mural that Betye Saar (of Roberts Projects) will be re-creating throughout the fair. Pashgian is displaying two recent entries in her ongoing series of mystical spheres produced with cast epoxy, each resting atop four-and-a-half-foot-tall pedestals, which are currently the focus of a survey at SITE Santa Fe in New Mexico. A rare Pashgian painting from the artist’s collection is sandwiched between the other works. Her unique cast epoxy approach has been adapted for a square canvas, where bright threads of color dance together. New works by Liza Lou, Catherine Opie, Nari Ward, and Lari Pittman, as well as a study for Calida Rawles’s newly unveiled commission at the SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, where the Super Bowl was held last Sunday, were on display at the gallery.
- Camille Henrot at Hauser & Wirth
Camille Henrot, who just joined Hauser & Wirth following the closing of Metro Pictures, exhibits a new series of paintings in a custom-built installation with pale green walls and frosted glass cut-outs. The pieces, titled “Do’s and Don’ts,” use numerous old etiquette books that the artist’s mother used to hold as source materials, which are then assembled into highly layered canvases that include gesso, peeled-off vinyl, screen-prints, directly applied paint, and more. As is typical of Henrot’s work, the artist is interested in investigating the impact of technology on our daily lives, specifically how digital technology has altered our social conventions.
- Bruce Nauman at Sperone Westwater
For four minutes, artist Bruce Nauman says “thank you” over and over again from an old-school television in Sperone Westwater’s booth. Thank You, a video sculpture created in 1992, appears simple at first glance. However, when Nauman repeats the remark, his tone becomes more abrasive and harsh. That simplicity is disturbing, and it raises the question of just how dangerous a simple “thank you” may be in the wrong hands.