The first weekend of May and the art faithful make their passage via ferry or bus to Randall’s Island. The fashion people converge at the Metropolitan Museum of Art on the first Monday of May. We have Frieze Art Fair while they walk the carpet for the Met Gala. For any true blue art hound, I’d prefer the ferry ride to escape the concrete jungle of Manhattan and get lost in the art safari. So what did this year’s Frieze Art Fair tell us?
Last May 6th on a still crisp spring day, the art crew ambled about the booths and talked about going back to what we basically liked. There were pieces that were political, emotional, oozing with technique, an iteration to the new wave of painting, clever statements, profound symbolism, formalist ideals, and downright just having that X factor. I’ve always said that it was an interesting time in this day and age with our country’s turmoil but that doesn’t mean we have to be barraged with more pussy and Drumpf. There is nothing wrong with those showing up at the fair but Frieze always does the great balance of being in the zeitgeist but yet training an eye to quality global contemporary art and there were lots of it.
There were too many to ignore and include but we loved the commonality of bringing back subtlety and substance to the fair du jour. It is quite serendipitous when you erase the ennui of too much art and start honing on what captures your fancy. Our maudlin crew of art lovers were excitedly looking for that new face to fall in love with or maybe something vaguely familiar to be enticed. It was the small details like the fine pattern on a pottery, some fuzz on the mixed media painting, a bold graphic text, the melange of the brushed color, a blush of pink to be tickled, austerity of white, purity of form and the crisp line. It’s the little things that resonate and not the grandeur of smokes or mirrors from year’s past. As the cliche goes “God is in the details” but it was more likely “Good Art is in the details”.
Everybody has their favorite and thank God that Frieze had the galleries and the art inventory to sate every desire to freeze one on their tracks when one finds what they’re looking for. The small things matter a whole lot for the enjoyment and one’s survival at the fair. This year’s take away as with the other editions – there’s always something for everyone.
Article by Oscar Laluyan
Photography by Olya Turcihin