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From Art Fairs to Gallery-Hopping: A Recap of 2024 LA Frieze Week

Ryan Flores, Rising from the Garden, at Frieze.

From fashion to music, LA Frieze Week has become the anchor for numerous arts-related happenings in the lead up to the main event. As well, each year the fair is an opportunity to visit the increasing number of galleries across the city. It’s been over two weeks since Frieze Week hit Los Angeles, from February 29th to March 3rd, and I’m still digesting all of the art that was seen and experienced…

LA galleries generally have a relaxed energy, and often feature courtyards or outdoor spaces conducive to conviviality and simply ‘hanging out’. Having sunshine in the middle of winter doesn’t hurt, either! Be sure to save the dates for next year’s Frieze Art Fair (soon to be announced) so that you can plan your own art-filled experience; and, in the meantime, enjoy highlights from this year’s event below:

FRIEZE LOS ANGELES

Taking place at Santa Monica Airport for the second year, the fifth edition of Frieze Los Angeles welcomed some 32,000 visitors over the course of the four-day contemporary art fair. Of the 95 participating galleries representing over 21 countries, more than half of them hailed from the Greater Los Angeles area. This year’s fair featured both experiential installations and collaborations with non-profit organizations; it was prime for style-spotting; and the pop-up of over a dozen women-owned L.A. restaurants provided a welcome boost between art-looking.

Activating the expansive outdoor location was ‘Set Seen’, a series of special projects inspired by Los Angeles’ history of set design, presented in collaboration with Art Production Fund. Projects included: PROCESSIONAL, a series of 33 light pole vinyl banners on the streets leading up to the fair, featuring portraits by Derek Fordjour, in their signature painting style of layering strips of paper on canvas, followed by brightly coloured paint; For Rising from the Garden, by Ryan Flores – a group of Gaudi-inspired ceramic sculptures with intertwining fruit and vegetables, emerging next to picnic tables; a head-turning red pickup truck adorned with a pair of ‘Truck Nutz’ was driven around the airport, for conceptual artist Pippa Garner’s project, Haulin’ Ass! (the truck’s exterior was designed and built to appear to be driving backwards); on the soccer field, visitors were invited to spectate or participate in Rat Race, by Sharif Farrag, where remote-controlled cars were modified with the addition of cute, colourful ceramic rats.

Inside the fair tent, highlights included the presentation of Los Angeles-based artist, Lotus L. Kang, and Mexico City gallery, Commonwealth and Council. (The artist recently showed a version of the work on view for her solo installation at the CAG, In Cascades.) Another highlight was discovering the work of Filipino-American artist, Stephanie Syjuco, presented by fair newcomers Silverlens (New York / Manila). The artist, who is based in Oakland, works in photography, sculpture and installation, moving from handmade and craft-inspired mediums to digital editing and archive excavations.

Offsite, as part of Frieze Music, visitors celebrated the fair’s opening day with live music at the Hammer Museum, where LA-based violinist, singer and songwriter, Sudan Archives, gave an electrifying performance, blending R&B, hip-hop and experimental electronic music with the fiddling style of West Africa.


Peter Gynd solo booth at Spring/Break Art Show.
SPRING/BREAK ART SHOW

At Spring/Break Art Show (February 27th to March 3rd, 2024) in Culver City, it was all colour, colour, and more colour! Described as an artist-run exhibition in the form of an art fair, the 2024 Los Angeles edition of Spring/Break delivered on exhibitions that were exploratory and immersive. The 60+ participating curators and artists responded to the theme of Interior/Exterior in diverse ways. As one of the artists selected as part of the show’s new Artist Spotlight program, Peter Gynd’s solo booth presented 50 oil paintings depicting intimate interior scenes surrounded by abstracted landscapes. (An artist with Vancouver roots, Gynd recently had a solo exhibition at qathet Art Centre in qathet, Powell River.

All works that were presented are now available to view on the show’s website.


Kavi Gupta at Felix Art Fair.
FELIX ART FAIR

For Felix Art Fair (February 28th to March 3rd, 2024), the historic Hotel Roosevelt saw 66 participating galleries transforming hotel rooms and poolside cabanas into intimate spaces for viewing art. Some standout presentations included New York’s Rachel Uffner Gallery, featuring a large-scale diptych by Talia Levitt, which used acrylic paint to achieve an effect resembling embroidery work from up-close and a mosaic mural from afar; and Kavi Gupta (Chicago) presented a selection of new paintings and sculptures from the gallery’s artists, including striking portraits by Devan Shimoyama.


Wanda Koop at Night Gallery.
GALLERIES AROUND TOWN

Outside of the fairs, Frieze Week was an opportunity to explore Los Angeles’ growing arts scene. At Lisson Gallery, which opened its LA location in 2023, there was an exhibition of Vancouver artist Rodney Graham (1949-2022), pairing paintings and photographic light boxes from the artist’s later years. At Night Gallery, in Downtown LA, we joined Wanda Koop on a fantastic walk-through of her solo exhibition, Objects of Interest. The gallery, which already has two sprawling ‘campuses’, recently opened a new project space called Sidecar.

Over on Western Avenue in the Melrose Hill area, we explored another cluster of galleries: Morán Morán had photography by Robert Mapplethorpe on view; David Zwirner, who has two neighbouring spaces, presented a group show of works by the most well-known (American) Minimalist artists from the 1960s and 1970s (Dan Flavin, Donald Judd, On Kawara, Sol LeWitt), complemented by geometric abstract sculptures by John McCracken; Sargent’s Daughters presented a solo show of innovative ceramic work by Alex Anderson; and sharing the space with Sargent’s Daughters was SHRINE, which presented soft-focus pastel drawings by Rasmus Eckhardt.

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