Admittedly, art can seem a pretentious subject. But is there anything worse than being left out of a conversation because you’re ill-informed? It’s like when you’re 14 and you’re the only person in your class that hasn’t seen Pulp Fiction, or being Joey in Friends in that episode when… well, er, all episodes in fact. February is a busy time in Los Angeles for art; LA Art Show ran at the beginning of the month, and then Frieze was scheduled in for the following week. It’s the biggest art event in the West Coast - which makes it the odd occasion when Hollywood is more about artists than actors, and the city is swarming with dealers, buyers, collectors and curators. If you’re not an art snob, fear not - there are plenty of opportunity to fake it till you make it like the rest of us. And once the topic of conversation moves on from Fashion Week, it will no doubt move on to Frieze. So see this as your ultimate education to Frieze LA, from the stand-out installations, celebrity sightings and after-hours parties.
WHAT: A media and events company that publishes a magazine as well as hosting three major global art events (Frieze London, Frieze LA and Frieze New York), Frieze is an organisation that seeks to promote a voice for all forms of contemporary art: painting, drawing, sculpture, installation, performance, dance, poetry etc.
WHEN: The weekend just gone, which comes right after the Oscars, meaning the city littered with A-listers that stick around to attend the shows, perhaps looking to pick up a piece of art, or two.
WHERE: Paramount Picture Studios mainly, with other spots all over the city.
WHO: Leo DiCaprio, J-Lo, Charlize Theron, Chloe Moretz and James Corden.
As well as Frieze, other smaller fairs are hosted at the same time around the city, creating a real art buzz. If you’d like to casually drop these in conversation, perhaps by saying ‘Ah Frieze, don’t you think it’s become so populist these days? I much prefer one of the other, smaller, fairs…’ If anyone asks which, please just remember one of the following:
Felix LA at The Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel
A much more intimate fair than Frieze, Felix has lower exhibitor costs and completely transforms The Hollywood Roosevelt into an art-haven, with different galleries taking over suites, as well as booths set up around the poolside.
Spring/Break Art Show
Usually Spring/Break Art Show is in New York, but it debuted in LA last year. It presents up-and-coming artists with a theme, this year’s was ‘excess'. Open to the public for $25 a ticket, which in comparison to the $125-500 cost for Frieze, is cheap as chips.
StART Up Art Fair
For those artists that aren’t represented by a gallery, takes place in the uber-cool Kinney Hotel in Venice.
Barbara Kruger’s work took over the entire city, with green anti-capitalist slogans splayed over billboards, buildings and even the event’s sponsored tote bag. Even if you don’t know Kruger by name, you’ll recognise her previous work from her lawsuit with clothing brand Supreme, in which she poked fun at the brand’s ‘hype’ consumer philosophy with her 2017 work I shop therefore I am, that read its title slogan in the signature red and white Supreme font. This time round, Kruger posted politically charged questions such as ‘Who Hustles?’ and ‘What’s Hot, What’s Not?’ all over LA, making her a major talking point over the week.
Another hot topic was Israeli-born performance artist and sculptor Naama Tsabar, who showcased Inversions. The space utilised various instruments as well as the audience to demonstrate the physical transformation of the visual into the sonic.
But if you really want to sound like you know your stuff, mention Alison Saar’s Chaos in the Kitchen at LA Louver. Using sculpture and paintings, Saar showcased an interpretation of the creativity and empowerment of women in the kitchen in other cultures. Mainly depicting Amazonian and African American women, her 7-foot figures addressed the controversies and multi-functional uses of the kitchen as a space for women.
Certain artworks you’ll no doubt see more of just because they’re a little more, shall we say, Insta-friendly. One being a pink neon sign reading ‘sometimes lies are prettier’ by Tavares Strachan, which was practically begging to be on everyone’s Stories just because it was, well, pink and, er, neon. We’re not sure if the audience knew what the work was that they were photographing, or who it was by, but who cares? It’s pretty and looks cool, even without a VSCO filter overlayed.
Like at Art Basel Miami last year, a string of designers presented exhibitions and hosted events that really maximised the PR potential of social-media friendly displays. For Frieze LA, the most notable designer’s presentation was Louis Vuitton’s Objets Nomades at Milk Studios, which proved to be a display of furniture porn for wealthy hypebeasts that were looking to fill their homes with bold but potentially futile furnishings. Also, Swedish fragrance brand Byredo coincided the opening of its newest boutique on Melrose Avenue with the fair, celebrating with a store launch party attended by Kate Bosworth, Rosie Huntington-Whitely and Jason Statham. But the most star-studded event of all? It has to go to Matchesfashion and Birkenstock, who launched their partnership and 1774 collection with Charlize Theron, Usher, Chloe Moretz , Diplo and Jeremy Scott, to name a few.
IMAGES | flickr