Cynthia Zabel’s New York Art Fair Week Diary

Frieze New York, a fair in recent years plagued by bad weather as it’s headline, kicked off with a good forecast for its VIP opening on May 2nd.  Locals and out of towners making their annual journey to Randall’s Island were greeted by 180 dealers from around the world.  At one entrance to the fair, guests were welcomed with two ivory pillars created by Frieze Artist Award winner Lauren Halsey. The piece, dedicated to the late rapper Nipsey Hussle, was a big attraction.

Lauren Halsey, Frieze Artist Award 2019 supported by Luma Foundation

Image © Courtesy of Mark Blower/Frieze | Flickr 

The buzz amongst the art collecting community was that the dealers brought “safe” work to this year’s edition however I thought there were some great works on view and “discoveries” to be had.  Below are some of my highlights:

Thenjiwe Niki Nkosi at Mariane Ibrahim (Chicago)

(image: author’s own)

Tammi Campbell at Anat Ebgi (Los Angeles)

(image: author’s own)

Andrew Cranston at Ingleby Gallery (Edinburgh)

(image: author’s own)

Ariana Papademetropoulos at The Breeder (Athens)

(image: author’s own)

The following day saw the opening of TEFAF New York, the Manhattan outpost of the 30-year-old fair in Maastricht, the Netherlands.  A complete juxtaposition to Frieze NY, this fair is elegantly staged and overflowing with flowers, champagne and million dollar plus works of art.  While there were countless treasures to catch the eye, some of my favorites are included below.

Roy Lichtenstein at Gagosian, complete with a black and white polka-dot carpet

(image: author’s own)

Dana Schutz at Petzel

Talk Talk 2010

(image: author’s own)

Victor Brauner at Di Donna

Sans titre (Chimera), 1940

(image: author’s own)

Wayne Theiebaud at Berggruen Gallery

Lipstick 1964

(image: author’s own)

Simultaneously the city was host to the 4th edition of 1-54 Contemporary Art Fair as well as a well-received new fair in Brooklyn, called Object & Thing. With roots in London, 1-54 debuted this year in a new location very close to the city’s main gallery hub, Chelsea.  The new location proved to be a successful move for the fair.  Highlights included works by Yinka Shonibare MBE and Elias Sime from James Cohan Gallery.


Installation view, James Cohan at 1-54 Contemporary African Art Fair, New York. Yinka Shonibare MBE and Elias Sime

© Image courtesy of the artists and James Cohan, New York

With a completely different perspective on the art fair model, Object & Thing premiered with no gallery booths and no dealers on hand.  Featuring interesting arrangements of objects organized thematically or based on material, sales were facilitated by the fair’s staff, rather than participating dealers.  One wonders, could this be the next wave?

All in all it was an art filled week even by New York standards.

Cover image © Courtesy of Mark Blower/Frieze | Flickr

Author: Cynthia Zabel, Head of Business Development, North America

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