Review of Frieze Los Angeles 2019, California, United States

Premiering February 15-17, 2019, Frieze launch a new annual contemporary art fair in Los Angeles, presented at Paramount Pictures Studios, reflecting Los Angeles’ position as a global arts capital. Frieze Los Angeles was at the heart of a dynamic week during which international collectors, curators and artists come together to engage with and appreciate the city and everything that makes it great.

Los Angeles, a city with an incredibly rich landscape of museums, galleries and art schools which play a pivotal role in the international art world. Frieze Los Angeles add an exciting new dimension to this thriving cultural scene.

Frieze Los Angeles largely focuses on contemporary art and celebrate the exceptionally dynamic culture of Los Angeles and its global contributions to the visual arts. The full program and list of participating galleries was announced at a future date. Frieze Los Angeles bring together the most significant and forward-thinking galleries from across the city and around the world. The fair experience was completed by Frieze Week events across the city.

Frieze Los Angeles bring together around 60 of the most significant and forward-thinking galleries from across the city and around the world at Paramount Pictures Studios, a historic studio lot located in Hollywood. Presented in a bespoke structure designed by Kulapat Yantrasast of wHY, the program celebrate the exceptionally dynamic and diverse culture of Los Angeles and its global contributions to the visual arts.

Through Frieze Los Angeles, the art world’s best is coming to one of the most iconic cultural capitals in the world. Exceptional solo and curated presentations, in addition to unique artist commissions as part of Frieze Projects and the Artist Street Fair in the open-air filmset of the Paramount Backlot.

For its Los Angeles premiere, Frieze has put together a 60-exhibitor line-up replete with blue-chip galleries like Gagosian, David Zwirner, Hauser & Wirth, and Marian Goodman. The fair’s special projects section explore artificiality and reality, with site-specific installations, sculptures, and performances on view in a backlot of Paramount Pictures Studios. Programming also include film screenings, talks with artists and arts professionals, and pop-up shops.

Frieze Art Fair
Since 2019, Frieze Los Angeles join Frieze New York, Frieze London and Frieze Masters on the international art world calendar, reflecting Los Angeles’ position as a global arts capital. Frieze Art Fair features more than 170 contemporary art galleries, and the fair also includes specially commissioned artists’ projects, a talks programme and an artist-led education schedule.

Frieze is a media and events company that comprises three publications, frieze, Frieze Masters Magazine and Frieze Week; and five international art fairs, Frieze London, Frieze LA, Frieze New York Frieze Masters and Frieze Seoul; regular talks and summits, led by frieze editors.

Frieze was founded in 1991 by Amanda Sharp, Matthew Slotover and Tom Gidley with the launch of frieze magazine, a leading magazine of contemporary art and culture. Sharp and Slotover established Frieze London in 2003, one of the world’s most influential contemporary art fairs which takes place each October in The Regent’s Park, London. In 2012, Frieze launched Frieze New York taking place in May; and Frieze Masters, which coincides with Frieze London in October and is dedicated to art from ancient to modern.

Frieze Art Fair launches in Los Angeles on February 15 on the grounds of Paramount Pictures Studio (with an invitation-only preview on February 14). Artists, galleries, and collectors the world over descend on the inaugural edition of Frieze LA, as well as a handful of satellite fairs setting up shop around the city. Visitors see offerings from 60 leading galleries from cities around the world, with a heavy presence of from New York and L.A. A real flaneur experience, visitors can also wander around and encounter the interventions.

The galleries was housed in a bespoke structure by architect Kulapat Yantrasast of interdisciplinary design firm wHY, while artist projects was installed around the New York Street backlot in buildings, streets and interior spaces. Organized by Ali Subotnick, a former curator at L.A.’s Hammer Museum, the artists involved in the projects include Barbara Kruger (Spruth Magers); Paul McCarthy (Hauser & Wirth); Sarah Cain (Honor Fraser); Karon Davis (Wilding Cran); Hannah Greely (Parker Gallery); Patrick Jackson (Ghebaly Gallery); Lisa Anne Auerbach (Gavlak); Trulee Hall (Maccarone), Cayetano Ferrer and Kori Newkirk, Tino Sehgal and New York’s Catharine Czudej.

Doug Aitken
Down the street from Regen Projects’s 20,000-square-foot space on Santa Monica Boulevard is a derelict storefront window, empty inside save for three ethereal human figures. Illuminated by pulsating light, each figure holds a phone to her face, as if on permanent hold. This is Doug Aitken’s installation Don’t Forget to Breathe (2019), a dark rumination on late-capitalism in which e-commerce has turned brick-and-mortar stores into literal ghost towns.

On view at Mixografia is a show that demonstrates the influence that the one-of-a-kind printer, publisher, and exhibition space has had on the LA art scene over the past 45 years. Titled “Phases,” the exhibition brings together a variety of printed works that showcase the evolution of portraiture and its conventions from the early 1970s through today. Twenty artists are represented in total, including John Baldessari, Larry Rivers, and Alex Israel—all of whom collaborated with Mixografia to make the work.

Sam Francis: The ’70s
For Frieze week, Jonathan Novak presents an ambitious exhibition of monotypes and paintings on canvas and paper by California artist Sam Francis. All works were created between 1970 and 1979—his “most spectacularly innovative decade,” according to critic Richard Speer’s essay for the show. It was a period during which the artist “configured, deconstructed, and reconstructed organic shapes and brilliant color in muscular expansions and contractions.”

David Hockney
On view are all new works by the venerable British painter, including portraits, multi-canvas paintings, and what Hockney calls “photographic drawings.” The latter are wall-sized compositions made of hundreds of stitched-together photographs, the latest example of Hockney’s ongoing interest in new forms of technology. More than 60 years into his career, the artist casually continues to find ways to reinvent himself while still doing what he does best.

Albert Oehlen: Wall Drawing
Occupying a storefront space next to Gagosian’s Beverly Hills outpost, artist Albert Oehlen presents a “pop-up” wall drawing this month. The massive installation, a scribbly charcoal-on-paper sketch that the artist considers an exercise in free-form creation, can be seen both indoors and from the street.

Beverly Pepper: New Particles from the Sun
“New Particles from the Sun” is a collection of sculptures the 96-year-old American-born, Italy-based sculptor Beverly Pepper, made in the early part of her career, between 1958 and 1967. The title is taken from a poem Frank O’Hara wrote for a show of hers held in Rome in 1965. The pairing makes sense: O’Hara’s rhythmic, expressionistic style complements Pepper’s steel experiments—both move at their own pace, following each idea and tangent to a natural conclusion.

Gonzalo Lebrija: Veladuras Nocturnas
After signing on with Kohn last fall, Mexican artist Lebrija makes his debut at the gallery this year with an ambitious exhibition. On view are paintings from the artist’s signature Veladuras series, which feature layers of muted semi-transparent paint that form prismatic abstractions, as well as a new sculptural work and film installation. Lebrija is not quite as well-known to American audiences as he is in his home country, but hat may be changing soon.

Cindy Parra: A Walk in the Clouds
Cindy Parra’s work looks like the art class homework of an elementary school child: Her acrylic illustrations are filled with doodled princesses, stars, and, most prominently, a pink unicorn. However, she does them with a knowing sense of irony, touching on a number of big themes along the way, including desire, fantasy, and fetishism.

Frieze Projects
In addition to the gallery booths, a curated program of installations, talks, and performances augment the mercantile aspect, curator transform the iconic Paramount backlot into an open-air artistic showcase; alongside pop-up restaurants and a street fair of artist-driven non-profits and creative enterprises from all around the city.

On the studio’s backlot, curator Ali Subotnick has organized 16 artist projects that interact with and play off the lot’s faux cityscape, including works by Barbara Kruger, Karon Davis, Lisa Anne Auerbach, and Caetano Ferrer. A selection of arts-focused nonprofits, including Acid Free and the Women’s Center for Creative Work, also set up shop on the backlot.

LAXART Executive Director Hamza Walker has put together Frieze Talks, which began last week with “Name That Tune” events with Lauren Halsey, Frances Stark, and Jim Shaw, and continue with talks between artists, and conversations on patronage. Online platform CurateLA has teamed up with the Institute of Contemporary Art LA for an irreverent Hollywood bus tour led by Jen Stark, Nao Bustamante, and Salina Estitties.

Frieze Week
Frieze also celebrate the unique creative landscape of Los Angeles with an expanded Frieze Week program of exhibitions and events across the city. In partnership with major museums, galleries and cultural spaces, Frieze Week encompass a broad spectrum of programming showcasing the many communities which make up L.A.’s dynamic artistic scene.

Frieze’s arrival plus an unprecedented international art week. This year, Art Los Angeles Contemporary has rescheduled to coincide with Frieze, alongside newcomer Felix LA, a surprise LA edition of Spring Break, as well as the stART Up, Art in LA Affair, and Superfine fairs. Emphasizing their support for the local economy, the fairs strongly favor LA galleries and artists, and take place in such city-specific venues as a Hollywood movie studio, or by a pool.

The week also recasts LA’s role in the art world from a creative center to a commercial one, right as the sustainability of the current art-fair model for mid-sized galleries has come into question. In response, the new fairs are debuting a few different approaches, from tiered booth pricing to the elimination of the “emerging” label to interdisciplinary public programming.