For the first time, Los Angeles will host Frieze Los Angeles, a one-of-a-kind immersive art experience at Paramount Pictures Studios, featuring acclaimed artists and 70 forward-thinking galleries from L.A. and around the world. During its limited run February 15-17, Frieze Los Angeles will commandeer the famed New York Street Backlot at Paramount, providing a delightfully dichotomous feeling of being in two cities at once. It will sell out, so get your pre-sale tix now.
Selected artists will showcase their installations, sculptures and performance works in Paramount’s timeless New York backlot—its buildings, streets, and interior spaces have been captured in countless films, photos, and television shows. Curated by Ali Subotnick (formerly of L.A.’s Hammer Museum), Frieze Los Angeles features artists “who live, work, or have histories with the city,” and were handpicked for their talent and ability to “develop projects responding to the fair’s untraditional site and context."
Subotnick elaborates, “Unlike most fairs and exhibitions that take place in parks, tents, or traditional white spaces, they are forced to grapple with a land of make-believe, built to be seen on film. Each artist embraced the opportunity and challenge, and the results are often magical and otherworldly, surreal and hyper-real, but never dull.”
Count us in. Here's what you can't miss at Frieze Los Angeles.
Your curiosity will be piqued as soon as you exit the fair tent and walk to the backlot. Along the pathway, Barbara Kruger's stickers will challenge you with questions such as “Who will write the history of tears?” and "Is there life without pain?" Kruger’s work is a hint of what’s to come - it invites active participation rather than passive observation right out of the gate.
When you arrive at the backlot film set, pause and savor interdisciplinary artist Cayetano Ferrer’s wall piece, which evokes New York's inimitable architecture and signage. Cementing the aura of N.Y. in L.A., Ferrer’s work immediately reinforces and reflects L.A.'s position as a global arts capital.
Step inside the lot’s classic brownstone building and treat your senses to not only the all-encompassing installation from acclaimed site-specific painter Sarah Cain, but to a new stained-glass piece as well. Cain also invites you to share a bit of her process, by indulging your sweet tooth (as she does when she is working) via dark chocolates with Earl Grey flavor—the result of her collaboration with L.A.'s own andSons Chocolatiers.
Be sure to stop into the apartment next door for a bit of creative therapy. Lisa Anne Auerbach’s Psychic Art Advisor will be offering one-on-one counseling sessions focused on collecting and creativity, which may be just the right amount of inspired energy you need before arriving at the next must-see stop.
Pause and reflect on the powerful commentary made by Karon Davis' installation, The Game. Life-sized sculptures symbolize a heart-wrenching, modern-day reality: schools have become hunting grounds, with children relegated to becoming the hunted - the "game," aka animals hunted for sport.
Take a deep breath, continue to Brooklyn, and look up. Hannah Greely’s High and Dry will span a clothesline connecting apartment buildings in a classic Brooklyn residential block. In this whimsical work, Greeley suspends cartoon-like paintings of clothing items as well as objects that you see in the sky such as clouds and helicopters.
Emerging from the SoHo subway, Trulee Hall’s fluorescent serpent twists and winds its way through windows and fire escapes, while a companion video layers CGI, clay animation and live action in a video collage of characters wandering the backlot.
Be sure to keep an eye out for Kori Newkirk’s antennae sculptures, which will be found throughout the lot, as a nod to a nearly extinct mode of visual broadcasting. Reminiscent of tumbleweeds which have haphazardly come to rest on a desert plain, Newkirk’s sculptures perhaps pay homage to a bygone era, or invoke a sense of foreboding.
In the Upper East Side, Tino Sehgal’s constructed situation, This is competition engages you in the commercial activity of an art fair, as two gallerists compete to sell the artist’s work.
From the theatre, visit a sub-level set for an interior domestic space, which has been transformed by Patrick Jackson into Alley on the Inside - a classic dark back alley with large-scale wall reliefs hanging from the alley’s faux brick walls.
Emerging from the alley onto a nearby sidewalk, you’ll want to take in South African born Catharine Czudej's Smash 3. Inspired by a Chinese-made children’s toy, the sculpture renders a cartoonish representation of the archetypal American “Teamster.” The piece provokes consideration of actual working heroes, along with those imagined in our dreams, or on a film set.
Contemporary artist Paul McCarthy presents one of his iconic large-scale inflatable works, Daddies Tomato Ketchup Inflatable in the Financial District. The giant bottle harkens back to some of McCarthy's earliest performances and videos, which included a lot of smeared ketchup. The juxtaposition of the inflatable facing off against a skyscraper also calls into question what is familiar, and what is real.
Frieze Los Angeles marks the West Coast debut of Frieze Projects, which is celebrating 15 years of innovation in art festivals, that began with the first Frieze London art fair in 2003. Since that time, Frieze Projects have earned rave reviews for their unadulterated art experiences, rocketing the traditional art fair format to an entirely new plane. As such, Frieze Los Angeles is an experience not to be missed.
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