What To See This Weekend at NYC’s Frieze Art Fair

Two tastemakers share their must-dos at NYC’s contemporary art fair.

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The Frieze New York annual art fair opens to the public on Friday, May 5, taking over Randall’s Island Park for three days. The sixth edition of the event showcases works of art from 200 galleries around the world, and this year, the Frieze Projects program will feature seven interactive, site-specific commissioned artworks, curated by Cecilia Alemani.

Tickets to attend the show start at just $10, which means this is not just for the art world elite. “Frieze New York is a place for everyone, from established art collectors to enthusiasts interested in discovering artists and artworks from around the world,” says Frieze Artistic Director for the Americas and Asia Abby Bangser.

With more than 1,000 works of art to take in, it can be hard to know where to start. We turned to Bangser and Jean-Christophe Laizeau, the International Communications Director for fair sponsor Ruinart, to get a list of must-sees from Frieze experts.

Stomping Grounds

“This year the Ruinart Lounge, where I spend most of my time sipping Blanc de Blancs and Rosé champagne, is featuring a sculpture commission by artist Jaume Plensa dedicated to our founder Dom Thierry Ruinart,” says Laizeau. The champagne brand is a mainstay at art fairs globally and the luxe Ruinart Lounge is a hot ticket. “There is an amazing story behind the piece itself and we are so excited to share this coveted piece with New York.”

Best Booths

“I always make sure to visit Marian Goodman, Chantal Croussel, Levy Gorvy, Axel Verdvoordt, and Lelong Gallery,” says Laizeau.

Favorite Artists

“I love Bernar Venet, Jean-Michel Othoniel, Georgia Russell, and Gideon Rubin but the two artists we are celebrating this year, Plensa and the photographer Giada Ripa, are two current favorites,” says Laizeau.

Terrific Talks

“We are very excited for Frieze’s first-ever symposium in New York taking place on Friday, May 5, in collaboration with the Getty and the Institute of Fine Arts at NYU,” says Bangser. “With tickets available to the public, the symposium will encompass three panel discussions featuring insights from curators, writers, scholars and artists on topics related to the Getty’s upcoming “Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA” which opens in September in Los Angeles.”

“Featuring some of today’s most significant artists, cultural figures, and thought-leaders, Frieze Talks provides visitors with an opportunity to delve into discourse on critical issues in contemporary culture,” says Bangser. “Curated by Tom Eccles, one of the highlights of this year’s program is a conversation between MoMA’s Ann Temkin and artist Laura Owens.”

Blast From the Past

“Each year at Frieze New York, Frieze Projects (which is the fair’s nonprofit program that commissions artists to create new works featured at the fair) presents a creative tribute to a gallery, alternative space, or an artist-run project that has transformed the way we experience contemporary art,” says Bangser.

“This year’s tribute on Sunday, May 7, will be dedicated to the Galleria La Tartaruga, an experimental gallery active from the 1950s in Rome, and its influential show, “Il Teatro delle Mostre” (Theater of Exhibitions, May 6-31, 1968). The original exhibition included 20 different installations that changed daily, and for Frieze New York, one of the original projects that I’m really excited about is the restaging of Fabio Mauri’s Luna. For Luna, Mauri transformed the gallery into a glowing moonscape with thousands of polystyrene beads. Mauri installed two layers of polystyrene, so that visitors could walk around, lie down, or swim in the polystyrene material, fully covered by the pellets.”

Outside the Fair

“New York City benefits from wonderful museums and cultural institutions, and it is amazing to see how these organizations embrace Frieze Week with major exhibitions on view all over the city,” says Bangser. “I’m particularly looking forward to SculptureCenter’s “Teresa Burga: Mano Mal Dibujada” exhibition of pioneering Peruvian artist Teresa Burga. There will also be more opportunity to see Burga’s work while at Frieze, as Galerie Barbara Thumm, will be presenting a rare selection of her pop works from the 1960s.”

Beyond the art

Alongside the extensive art offerings, fan-favorite restaurants like Sant Ambroeus, Court Street Grocers, Café Altro Paradiso, and Russ & Daughters will open outposts on the fair grounds to feed the crowds. Frieze’s artist nonprofit collaborations this year include the Calder Foundation, Helen Frankenthaler Foundation, The Keith Haring Foundation, Judd Foundation and The Noguchi Museum—each of which will present works from their respective artists in their private booths.

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