Frieze New York Inaugural Edition A Triumph

Frieze New York

In this round up of the greatest art show on Earth or at least NY, Frieze New York which ended Monday 7 May had many galleries reporting excellent sales across all levels of the market and expressing admiration for the overall conception of the new fair, its structure and environment.More than 180 galleries from 30 countries took part in the inaugural edition of Frieze New York making it the largest event produced by Frieze. The fair took place in a bespoke temporary structure, designed by Brooklyn-based architects SO – IL, on Randall’s Island, Manhattan.With visitor numbers in the region of 45,000, the fair attracted an international spectrum of artists, collectors, curators and journalists who all remarked upon the quality of the material brought by the galleries and pleasant atmosphere of the fair as a whole. Tickets sold out for both Saturday and Sunday. Frieze New York is sponsored by Deutsche Bank.

Matthew Slotover and Amanda Sharp said: ‘We could not be happier with the reception to our first New York fair. Ahead of the fair we were confident that we had the right location, galleries and structure to make Frieze New York a success but those elements have worked together to make an instant international event that has surpassed our expectations. The quality of material brought by the galleries and the response from collectors throughout the entire duration of the fair that made it both a creative and a professional environment.’

Significant sales were reported at every level: Galerie Gisela Capitain sold an untitled work by Martin Kippenberger to a US collector for over €1,000,000. David Zwirner’s significant sales included John McCracken Be (2004) for $750,000 and two works by Donald Judd, both priced in the region of $500,000; Xavier Hufkens reported selling all of his works by Sterling Ruby ranging from $50,000 to $200,000; Victoria Miro placed four ‘Infinity Net’ works by Yayoi Kusama priced at $535,000 each. Metro Pictures placed a Cindy Sherman photograph from 1977 for $950,000. David Kordansky sold all nine available paintings by Jon Pestoni for $14,000 to $22,000.

In Frame, the section of the fair dedicated to galleries under six years old showing solo artist presentations, Take Ninagawa brought 10 works by Japanese artist Shinro Ohtake, which all sold for around $20,000 each. Bureau sold their cast concrete sculpture by Justin Matherly for $35,000 to a European collector. Curatorial advisor to the section Tim Saltarelli said: ‘Frame proved itself to be an invaluable research tool, presenting many of the galleries and artists, both emerging and overlooked, to an international audience for the first time. Frame represents the diversity of contemporary practices today, from the installation work of Samara Golden at Night Gallery, combining both live and pre-recorded video images in an immersive sculptural environment, to Vincent Vulsma’s Jacquard woven textile works based on Walker Evans’ documentary photographs of 19th century Kuba textiles at Galerie Cinzia Friedlaender.’ Co-advisor Rodrigo Moura added, ‘Frame has confirmed its importance in the overall fabric of the fair. The section acts as a forum for investigation, exchange, and discovery for curators, collectors and other professionals visiting the fair. Works spanned from strict studio practice, with artists like Shinro Ohtake, to research-oriented projects, like Charlotte Moth’s, and those with an interest in the economic and historical framework of the fair, such as Goldin + Senneby and José Dávila.’
The gallery response was positive Lisa Spellman of 303 Gallery (New York) said: ‘It wasn’t your average fair experience. Frieze is right when they say it an fair that puts artists first, I feel like it was a seamless place were one could finally become integrated with the works. I have never heard so many rave reviews from so many different collectors, curators and writers. It was a total place of inspiration and a huge tribute to New York and the culture of art in Manhattan. We sold a lot! To great New York collections, as well as LA, Dallas, Israel, London, Switzerland, it was totally an international fair we are beyond ecstatic.’
Andrea Rosen (New York) described Frieze New York as ‘a great fair, perhaps the nicest of all fair experiences that I have had. The whole place had a fantastic feeling and I very much liked the size and spaciousness as well as the organization of the booths. We presented a specific, focused stand with work by Elliott Hundley and that worked for us as we sold out our booth on the first day. I could not have asked for more.’
Alessandra D’Aloia of Galeria Fortes Vilaça (Sao Paulo) said: ‘It has been eight years since we’ve done a fair in New York and it’s great to be back. This is the right environment for a New York fair as it’s fresh. We’ve made good sales and met important collectors.’
Franco Noero (Turin) also described his positive experience, ‘Altogether Frieze has found a wonderful formula in this fair. We had very good sales, and met very good people. There is such an energetic atmosphere too as the structure is extraordinary. Being a European gallery it’s important for us to have a place in the US and we’ve found it here, meeting American collectors including South Americans and Canadians.’

Alex Zachary (New York) described the fair as ‘wonderful in every sense. It gave us a platform for Lutz Bacher’s works and doing a solo show really worked. We met old friends, new friends, curatorial friends – everyone.’

Maureen Paley (London) said that the fair had gone ‘extremely well’ for the gallery. ‘We have engaged with a very well informed audience. The structure and organization of the galleries made the whole concept into a specific destination with people returning and revisiting. Having brought new works by Rebecca Warren and Wolfgang Tillmans, the level of serious collecting is refreshing.’

Tanya Leighton (Berlin) stated: We’ve met new collectors from across the United States and made lots of institutional connections. We presented two artists unknown in the states, with Aleksandra Domanovic and Oliver Laric, but that pairing really worked for us and translated into great sales.’
Galerie Daniel Buchholz (Cologne) remarked upon the level of new contacts they had made. ‘Lots of new collectors had a universal interest in all our artists. We’ve made sales every day of the fair, right up until the last day. And it was a very nice idea of have it here on Randall’s Island.’
Pauline Daly of Sadie Coles (London): ‘It was a really good fair. We loved it as a space to work in and met both new and old contacts.’
Özkan Cangüven of RAMPA (Istanbul) said: ‘It was the best fair. Lots of curators, collectors, very productive. We had interest in all our artists and the clear environment and wonderful lighting was amazing.’
Jane Hait of Wallspace (New York) was also very positive: ‘It was an amazing experience. We loved the venue, the light and, of course, the curve; it meant that you were continuously seeing art, rather than a corridor. The location of Randall’s Island itself made it a destination and we had a great response to our artists across the boar. In particular we debuted sculptural pieces by Harry Dodge and were rewarded by bringing unusual material.’
James Fuentes (New York) remarked ‘Since I entered the contemporary art field 14 years ago I have not had the pleasure to partake in a more successful international event – either as a visitor or an exhibitor. I have had a nonstop dialogue with collectors, institutions and art lovers throughout the entire duration of the fair. To have an insight into what is happening globally is new for New York and is in tune with what this city is all about.’
Those exhibiting in Frame were equally pleased Gabriella Giattino of Bureau (New York) was enthusiastic: ‘We have had an excellent experience. Many collectors have told us that this is the best fair they’ve ever been to. We sold all our work to new people. It has also been an important experience for our artist Justin Matherly as we wouldn’t have been able to present this level of work in the gallery.’

Alexander Hertling of Balice Hertling (Paris) found the whole experience ‘very positive: we sold to both new and old contacts and had a good reaction from curators and writers too.’
Mieke Marple of Night Gallery (Los Angeles) said ‘having done a fair of this level we now don’t want to do anything less. It has been the most amazing platform for us and having made a significant effort with this work it has been rewarding as the response has been amazing. Frieze gave us the flexibility and freedom to be the best we could be. We are fairly new at this and we’ve met a lot of people which is a testament to the people that Frieze attracts and has translated into sales. It’s life changing!’
The collector response was formidable Jerry Speyer observed, ‘Frieze New York is a perfect example of what the combination of intellect and creativity can dare to imagine, and then accomplish to the delight of the people who were lucky enough to attend. The location provided a unique backdrop for this event. The architectural design and details were well thought out and helped create a wonderful setting for this fair. This event set a new standard.’
Art Advisor Allan Schwartzman added: ‘Frieze New York raised the bar for how a great art fair can be experienced. The layout of the booths, the unfolding of its boulevards and the plazas of rest in between, the occasional grounding peeks into the outside landscape and the river beyond, and all that yummy great food spread throughout the fair made for a most civilized experience for viewing art. This was even more finely experienced in the section of solo presentations by younger galleries called Frame, which was the best focused section-within-a-fair I have ever seen. Both in how this section was distinguished from the main flow of the fair while still being integrated into its central fabric, I felt like I had wandered into a well-curated presentation of compelling young artists from all over the world; I learned a lot and thoroughly enjoyed the experience.’
Rosa de la Cruz also enjoyed the fair: ‘I loved that Frieze chose Randall’s Island; to find a place, as in London, in which we were in a park but at the same close to the city. The galleries had a lot of space to showcase the art and the work looked splendid. What a nice surprise!’
Museum Groups were well represented a large number of international museum groups attended the fair, including: Acacia Collectors Group, Milan; Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo; American Patrons of Tate, New York; ARTIC, Chicago; Aspen Art Museum, Aspen; Baltimore Museum of Art, Baltimore; Bronx Museum of the Arts, New York; Chrysler Art Museum, Virginia; Contemporary Art Society, London; Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston; Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum, New York; Courtauld, London; Denver Art Museum, Denver; Deutsche Guggenheim, Berlin; DIA, New York; FNG, Berlin; Guggenheim Museum, New York; Guggenheim Museum, Venice; Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; High Museum, Atlanta; Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington DC; KAS, Berlin; LACMA, Los Angeles; La Maison Rouge Paris; MAM, Sao Paolo; Macro, Rome; Menil Society, Houston; Miami Art Museum, Miami; MOCA, Los Angeles; MOCA, Miami, MoMA, New York; MoMA, San Francisco; Montclair Art Museum, New Jersey; MUAC, Mexico; Museum of Arts & Design, New York; New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York; Outset, London and Israel; Palais de Tokyo, Paris; Parasol Unit, London; Secession, Vienna; Serpentine, London; Tate, London; The Aldrich, Ridgefield; The Art Society Belgium; The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; Warsaw Museum of Modern Art, Warsaw; Whitney Museum, New York.
The Pon-Profit Spaces were critically acclaimed Peter Russo of Triple Canopy said ‘having worked with the notion of the expanded field of publication this has given us a way to find a new public. We’ve reached new supporters too via a new collector base via our limited editions and multiples.’ Matthew Higgs said of White Columns participation: ‘It was an extraordinary platform to introduce White Columns and Creative Growth to this audience and locate those ideas within the larger drift of contemporary art.’

The stand prize went to Galerie Jocelyn Wollf who won the Frieze Art Fair Stand Prize sponsored by Champagne Pommery. The prize was judged by Alessandro Rabottini (Curator at Large, GAMeC, Bergamo, Italy); Eungie Joo (Keith Haring Director and Curator, Education and Public Programs, New Museum, NY, USA); and Polly Staple (Director, Chisenhale Gallery, London, UK).

Having won the Frieze Art Fair Stand Prize Jocelyn Wolff said that he’d had a good experience at the fair, ‘It’s an honour to win the stand prize and a surprise. I have always focused on a curatorial approach and I thought that in an art-fair context that it could be invisible, however I am pleased that is not the case in this fair.’

Frieze Projects New York was curated by Cecilia Alemani and featured the work of eight artists: John Ahearn, Uri Aran, Latifa Echakhch, Joel Kyack, Rick Moody, Virginia Overton, Tim Rollins and K.O.S. and Ulla von Brandenburg. Frieze Projects were sponsored by Mulberry. Interviews with all the commissioned artists appear in the Frieze New York Catalogue, which is available for purchase at and is priced: $39.95 / £24.95.
Frieze Talks had nearly 750 visitors attending the Talks program, a daily program of presentations, panel discussions and conversations that took place in the auditorium at Frieze New York. The talks program was programmed by Cecilia Alemani and participants included: Georges Didi-Huberman (Professor, École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales, Paris) Okwui Enwezor (Director, Haus der Kunst, Munich), Zoe Leonard (Artist), Glenn D. Lowry (Director, The Museum of Modern Art, New York), Saskia Sassen (Robert S. Lynd Professor of Sociology Columbia University, New York), Taryn Simon (Artist), Robert Storr (Dean, Yale School of Art), and Sheena Wagstaff (Chairman, Modern and Contemporary Art Department, Metropolitan Museum, New York). Frieze Talks are available online
Frieze Sounds debut edition featured three commissioned audio works by artists: Martin Creed, Rick Moody and Frances Stark. Frieze Sounds was programmed and curated by Cecilia Alemani and presented with BMW. The sound works premiered in the BMW 7 Series cars that operate the VIP shuttle services from Randall’s Island. Additionally the works are accessible at
The Sculpture Park offered a rare opportunity to see a significant group of international work addressed on a public scale. The Sculpture Park was located along the waterfront of Randall’s Island overlooking the East River. The Sculpture Park at Frieze New York was selected by curator Tom Eccles and included work by James Angus, Rathin Barman, Louise Bourgeois, Christoph Büchel, Joshua Callaghan, Ryan Gander, Subodh Gupta, Jeppe Hein, Ernesto Neto, Suzanne Philipsz, Jaume Plensa, Tomás Saraceno, Katja Strunz and Cerith Wyn Evans.

Photo: © ArtLyst 2012


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