Frieze Los Angeles debuted as a new international art fair on February 14, 2019 and closed on Sunday, February 17, 2019, celebrating the city’s pivotal role in the international art community. The fair attracted 30,000 attendance across the gallery tent and backlot program, including civic leaders, international art collectors, curators, critics, and members of the Hollywood entertainment community. 70 local and international galleries participated, and robust sales were reported from the opening hours of the fair and throughout the weekend. Frieze Los Angeles also built on Frieze’s long-standing commitment to curated content, with a non-stop program of immersive artworks, talks and screenings beyond the gallery tent in Paramount Pictures Studios. Frieze Projects, curated by Ali Subotnick, took over the New York City backlot with site-specific artist commissions; alongside Frieze Talks and Frieze Music with international artists programmed byHamza Walker, as well as the new Conversations on Patronage series, which explored generative ways of supporting artists and arts organizations. Throughout Los Angeles, galleries, institutions and arts organizations celebrated the debut of Frieze Los Angeles with special programming and events, in addition to the first city-wide Walk of Art on Saturday, February 16. As part of the launch of the new fair, Frieze collaborated with Endeavor and Mark Bradford to offer a limited edition print, made available through Hauser & Wirth, to benefit the Art for Justice Fund that supports greater career opportunities for people transitioning back home from prison. Frieze Los Angeles is supported by global lead partner Deutsche Bank in its inaugural year.
“We could not have hoped for a better inaugural edition of Frieze Los Angeles in terms of attendance, atmosphere and sales,” said Victoria Siddall, Director of Frieze Fairs. “The excellent results reported by the participating galleries is testament to the strength and support of the Los Angeles art community as well as the international audience who came here for Frieze Week. The magical setting of Paramount Pictures Studios was the perfect location for the fair and for the curated programming that surrounded it. We and our partner Endeavor have made a long-term commitment to Los Angeles and we are already looking forward to 2020 and beyond.”
“I’m immensely grateful to everyone who came together this week to put Los Angeles on stage and show what it means to be an international arts capital” said Bettina Korek, Executive Director, Frieze Los Angeles. “I’m thankful to everyone who has contributed to the larger conversation about civic engagement through arts patronage, and to the significant support of our fantastic host committee as well as L.A. Tourism. The exceptional energy and cooperation we have seen throughout Frieze Week will be a catalyst that propels our city’s art scene even further.”
Prominent guests at the fair included Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas; museum representatives including Klaus Biesenbach, Alex Gartenfeld, Thelma Golden, Michael Govan, Joanne Heyler, Hans Ulrich Obrist, Jessica Morgan,and Ann Philbin; international art collectors Ricard Akagawa, Willow Bay, Maria Bell, Allison and Larry Berg, Jim Berkus, Debbie and Leon Black, Jackie and Irving Blum, Eli and Edythe Broad, Michael Chow, Beth Rudin DeWoody, Cliff and Mandy Einstein, Bob and Susan Gersh, Maja Hoffmann, Jill and Peter Kraus, Edward Lee, John McEnroe, Maurice Marciano, Jane and Marc Nathanson, Howard and Cindy Rachofsky, Don and Mera Rubell, Gaurav Garg and Komal Shah, Raf Simons, Laurie Tisch, Maria Hummer-Tuttle and Robert Holmes Tuttle, Hope Warschaw, Jason Wu, Poju and Anita Zabludowicz, and Wang Wei; and entertainment industry figures including Adrien Brody, James Corden, Leonardo DiCaprio, Eve, Jim Gianopulos, Jane Fonda, Jodie Foster, Billy Idol, Michael Keaton, Norman Lear, Baz Luhrmann, Al Pacino, Gwyneth Paltrow, Brad Pitt, Amy Poehler, Maria Sharapova, Jill Soloway, Sylvester Stallone, and Kanye West; among many others.
“I love the collision of Paramount and visual art,” said Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, “We know the creativity that’s been here for decades, the visual artists that have been here, but now we’re realizing what a cultural draw this can be as well. Something like Frieze solidifies this in many ways.”
Speaking about the launch of the fair, Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas said, “It’s going to make a mark on this environment, not only now, but for years to come. This is the highest moment of arts celebration in the history of this town.”
Strong Sales at All Levels
In the opening hours of Frieze Los Angeles and throughout the fair weekend, exhibitors reported strong collector enthusiasm with numerous sold out presentations and significant placements. Local and international galleries reported sales in the seven-figure range, and likewise younger galleries experienced placed many works of younger, emerging artists.
Highlights include strong sales by Hauser & Wirth, with the sale of Mike Kelley’s Unisex Love Nest to a European art foundation for $1,800,000; Acquavella Galleries’ sale of three works by Wayne Thiebaud priced between $700,000 and $4,000,000; Lévy Gorvy’s sales of Günther Uecker’s Spirale III for $1,200,000 and Yayoi Kusama’s Infinity Nets (B-A-Y) for $1,600,000; Jack Shainman Gallery’s sale of Topos by El Anatsui for $1,250,000; Lisson Gallery sold Landline Magenta (2018) by Sean Scully for $1,250,000, Tatsuo Miyajima’s Innumerable Life/ Buddha MMD-01 (2018) for $250,000, multiple works on paper by Carmen Herrera at $120,000 each, Totem (Kisosen) (2017) by Pedro Reyes for $100,000, two new paintings by Stanley Whitney at $85,000 each, new work by Cory Arcangel for $75,000, Hugh Hayden’s Crown of Thorns (red/oak)(2019) at $16,000; and Thomas Dane Gallery’s sale of Hurvin Anderson works in the range of 160,000 to 1,500,000 GBP. Lehmann Maupin sold Shirazeh Houshiary’s entire presentation of paintings and sculptures, 303 Gallery sold out their solo presentation of Doug Aitken’s work, and Mendes Wood DM sold out of their presentation of works by Brazilian artist Paulo Nimer Pjota. David Kordansky Gallery’s strong sales included twelve works by Kathryn Andrews, entitled Hollywood Dahlia, for $40,000 each. Kayne Griffin Corcoran sold six James Turrell works priced at $425,000, Mary Corse works from $150,000 to $300,000 and a Mika Tajima at $23,000. Pace Gallery secured seven-figure sales with the placement of a 1967 painting by Alex Katz, a drawing by Tara Donovan for $225,000, a work on paper by Alexander Calderfor $200,000, and a painting by Adam Pendleton for $120,000. Blum & Poe sold well having placed a major painting by Mark Grotjahn priced at $600,000. L.A. Louver sold multiple paintings by Gajin Fujita, including works priced at $40,000, $45,000 and $250,000. Park View / Paul Soto sold out of his booth of works by Los Angeles-based artist Mark A. Rodriguez.
Additional highlights reflect significant sales across a wide range of price points including: strong sales of pieces by Allen Ruppersberg, coinciding with the American artist’s Hammer Museum retrospective, with Marc Selwyn Fine Art’s sales of two works, one of which was priced at $50,000, as well as with Greene Naftali’s selling out of the artist’s works; Almine Rech’s sale of three Vivan Springfield color field paintings priced between $50,000 and $75,000; and Gallery Hyundai’s numerous sales in a price range of $75,000–$93,000. Freedman Fitzpatrick sold various works priced between $5,000 to $25,000 and Château Shatto sold works by young artists including a $7,500 work by Aria Dean, a series of paintings priced at $4,000 by Van Hanos and multiple paintings by Parker Ito at $35,000.
“Frieze has been a great sold-out success, with people from all over the world traveling to Los Angeles,” said philanthropist Eli Broad, “We look forward to it coming again.”
“Frieze Los Angeles celebrates a city composed of artists, with the greatest visual artists working and being educated at some of the best art schools in the nation, alongside the creative talent found in the city’s entertainment business,” said collector and MOCA Board Member Maria Bell. “The debut of this fair has a been long awaited moment that finally offers a key platform to showcase the strength and scope of our arts scene and this city’s global cultural role.”
Writing via press release
Chinese collector and founder of Tank Shanghai, Qiao Zhibing, commented, “I am so glad I came. The Frieze L.A. team really did a first class job! The venue is amazing and the tent was very well-designed. L.A. has a long history of great American artists such as Ed Ruscha and Mike Kelley who are so influential. I was very pleased to see many L.A. artists who are my good friends and visit their studios–I can easily spend over a week here! It is also great to visit the major L.A. galleries in their hometown, as well as see all the incredible collections based here.”
San Francisco-based collector Pamela Joyner commented, “The intimate scale of the show and the high quality of the offerings made it possible to look closely at the works and engage gallerists in constructive conversations.”
East West Bank CEO and collector Dominic Ng said, “Kudos to Bettina and her team for an extraordinarily well organized debut of Frieze Los Angeles! L.A. is the fertile ground of imagination and creativity. It inspires artists to do their best works here. With the great success of Frieze Los Angeles, we are now also recognized as one of the top markets in the art world. As a member of the Host Committee, I am just thrilled that my guests, whether they are local or traveling from abroad, are all having a great time!”
“The energy at Frieze L.A. was palpable,” said Los Angeles collector V. Joy Simmons. “People ‘showed up and showed out’. The breadth of offerings was impressive and so many traveled from all over to join us in this moment in L.A. arts. I know this will further cement LA as the creative, global arts center that we all know it is. I have to recover from all this running around, but I cannot wait for next year!”
Los Angeles collector Alan Hergott commented, “I loved the fair. Full of positive energy. An impressive array of international dealers and art world people participated, and everyone seemed to be having a great time in L.A.”
Frieze Los Angeles welcomed local and international museum and institutional groups, including North America, as well as Asia, Europe and South America. Highlights include trustees and patron groups from Carnegie Museums, Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, Dallas Museum of Art, DIA Art Foundation, ICA Boston, ICA London American Friends, Louvre American Friends, Ouset Global, Para Site Hong Kong, National Portrait Gallery Washington, Palm Spring Museum, Serpentine Galleries, Tel Aviv American Friends, and SFMOMA, among many others.
MOCA Director Klaus Biesenbach said, “What great and vital few days we had in Los Angeles with Frieze! The groundswell of support and welcoming generosity is so meaningful. MOCA has greeted so many artists, colleagues and collectors from all over the world this week. What an amazing and enthusiastic energy all over the city. Can’t wait until next year. it’s only just begun!”
Joanne Heyler, Founding Director of The Broad, said, “We’ve always believed that Los Angeles would become one of the world’s top arts capitals. We’ve long had a thriving arts landscape with practicing artists, world-class art schools, great galleries and an array of cultural institutions that continues to expand. It was exciting to see art enthusiasts coming together from all over the world to the first edition of Frieze Los Angeles – a pivotal moment for our city.”
At the inaugural edition of Frieze Los Angeles, the Hammer Museum (Los Angeles) acquired Stairway to Heaven, a grouping of sculptures by artist Karon Davis, for the museum’s permanent collection through funds raised by Frieze and its partners. The acquisition was selected by a panel including the Hammer Museum’s Director, Ann Philbin; Chief Curator, Connie Butler; curators Anne Ellegood, Allegra Pesenti, Aram Moshayedi, and Erin Christovale; Board of Directors member Jay Brown and Board of Overseers members Mihail Lari, Bill Block, and Beth DeWoody.
“We’re thrilled to acquire Stairway to Heaven and Cat’s Cradle by Karon Davis for the Hammer Contemporary Collection,” said Ann Philbin. “The Hammer is strongly committed to supporting emerging artists; Karon Davis is a wonderful addition to our collection.”