More than a year after New York City’s last major art fair turned out the lights, the art world got back up with Frieze New York, marking the first in-person fair to return to NYC since the COVID-19 pandemic started. Of course, this year’s event looks a bit different, is necessarily smaller, ranging from 200 exhibitors in 2019 to just 64. Also, Frieze New York, 2021 takes place for the first time in a sleek new Manhattan location, at The Shed, the culture and performing arts center designed by Diller Scofidio + Renfro in Hudson Yards, compared to the usual expedition to Randall’s Island.
The fair started by following health and safety protocols, visitors were required to present a negative COVID-19 test or vaccine proof in order to gain strictly timed entry. When it comes to the artists, the representation is mostly American, there are some international exhibitors are taking part, from Brazil, London, and Buenos Aires, and Daily Design News is going to taking you on a journey through the best of Frieze New York!
Douglas Rieger at Helena Anrather and Capsule Shanghai
The joint presentation by New York gallery Helena Anrather and Capsule Shanghai was one of the standouts at the Frame Section. Showcasing new work, recent sculptures, and mixed media by the emerging Pittsburgh artist Douglas Rieger. The anthropomorphic sculptures are crafted with a lot of precision, with wood, silicone, steel, and vinyl, to reveal opposing sensations of soft and hard, rough and smooth.
Ewa Juszkiewicz and Rachel Feinstein, Gagosian
Gagosian opted to dedicate its large space to a pair of female artists that subvert and challenge the male-dominated realm of art history in their practices: the Polish painter Ewa Juszkiewicz, and the sculptor Rachel Feinstein, known for her darkly humorous aesthetic. Feinstein in her artworks represents a group of large-scale majolica sculptures, inspired by Franz Anton Bustelli’s Rococo commedia dell’arte figurines, while Ewa’s paintings reimagine well-known 18th- and 19th-century masterpieces depicting fashionably dressed women, disturbing the veneer by concealing their faces with wrapped fabric or elaborate hairstyles.
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Annette Messager, Marian Goodman Gallery
Marian Goodman Gallery brought to Frieze New York a museum-quality solo presentation of artwork by renowned French contemporary artist Annette Messager that floats between the playful and the macabre! In a standalone room, Petite Babylone, 2019, is made up of dozens of black abstract shapes and stuffed animals grouped on the floor. A slow-moving light display creates a ballet of shadows, adding a haunting sensation. Hanging on the wall with black string, five drawings are interspersed between 42 of her signature effigy sculptures. A series of watercolor drawings round out the impressive booth.
With its mix of stabilized and emerging Brazilian artists, including a superb new Marina Perez Simão seascape painting that sold on the fair’s first day, Mendes Wood, a cutting-edge gallery that maintains outposts in São Paulo and New York, celebrated Brazilian creativity at Friezes New York! Between the other highlights is a wall sculpture by Sonia Gomes, who beautifully combines secondhand textiles with everyday materials!
Stephen Friedman Gallery
Mesmerizing paintings portraying nonbinary people by Cornwall artist Sarah Ball are some of the greatest highlights at the London-based Stephen Friedman Gallery! Loaded with emotion and deep sensitivity, the hauntingly beautiful faces gaze straight out of the frame at the viewer and firmly hold their attention.
Galeria Nara Roesler
Galeria Nara Roesler, which just opened its first gallery location in New York’s Chelsea gallery, offers a carefully curated group of three influential Brazilian artists, and each one explores the notion of self. Carlito Carvalhosa takes the central focus, with vibrant colorful works on mirrors form an interesting dialogue with Cristina Canale’s gestural portraits. Sculptures made of perforated sound stone sitting atop concrete columns by the artist Amelia Toledo surrounded these artworks. Toledo combines the history of concrete art in Brazil with a personal fascination with nature.
For those who hadn’t have the chance to visit Frieze New York, a dedicated edition of Frieze Viewing Room will run parallel to the fair, through May 14, and will feature an expanded list of over 160 exhibitors!