The Frieze Art Fair has been held in a huge custom tent on Randall’s Island for the last several years. My pal, Domino magazine’s Susan Kilkenny, and I have gone to the VIP previews the together, starting out at the 35th Street pier. You board ferry that whisks a stylish art crowd up the East River (where I ran into T Magazine‘s Esin Goknar, my old Vanity Fair colleague, and the forever-cool art producer, Joy Glidden) past the United Nations, Roosevelt Park ands delivers you to art fair heaven. The structure itself is part of the huge appeal of this fair, which began in London, and the stable of galleries are really international, first-class. It’s always a bit overwhelming, even for art fair veterans. We saw a few booths but made our way directly to the restaurant Frankie’s Sputino to put our name down on the list, which had a 45 minute wait…
The big participation event of the fair seemed to be Gavin Brown’s Jonathan Horowitz installation… New York magazine’s art critic Jerry Saltz was caught trying his hand but I’ll let Houston-based sculptor, Mel Chin tell the main story…
“Long cold blooded story… Freezed out at Frieze Art Fair. I decided to join the fun, helping out at Gavin Brown’s Enterprise to produce a optional dot for artist Johnathan Horowitz’s dot collection.(retail: 100 grand) Besides they were offering 20 bucks… l needed cash for the ferry. I admit I was reacting to the conformity, might be rightfully accused of being a “sasshole” , did water down the paint and my dot was not perfect… I wanted to be expressive. The artist assistant no. 1 said it was not acceptable… artist asst. No. 2 wanted to take it away… And said I would not be paid. I was going to offer it to the artist but they would not bring him over. Dealer Brown said nothing and looked away. It wasnt even a urinal! Fellow artist, Jennie C. Jones was on the spot and documented the rejection. All ended well. I donated the inverted dot to the Brooklyn Museum. Curator Eugenie Tsai & trustees present, officially accepted my gift over lunch and I hightailed it outta there.” –Mel Chin
Another crowd favorite were two painted massage chairs by Korakrit Arunanondchai that were the definition of “becoming moved by art”. Artist Joaqin Carter highly recommended it, and said:
“I only came once.”
He also got the ubiquitous art fair photo pop with Eva & Adele, the duo performance art couple that always wears custom matching outfits and a cheerful demeanor.
We spent too much time at the restaurant, as we normally do, and then had 30 minutes to see 2/3 of the fair… and stopping to talk to people like the fab André Walker and Houston’s Contemporary Art Museum director Bill Arning and others pals ate up a few more minutes here and there but being social is part of the experience. (Neil Patrick Harris, who has a townhouse just across the river, was making the rounds but I didn’t bump into him…) Below are some of my favorites. If you’re in New York, I’d recommend taking the ferry and spending a few hours in and maybe even one hour outside on Randall’s Island… it’s like mini art vacation. For more info about hours, directions, etc, go here.