This season’s edition of Frieze New York is bursting with color, texture, and life. With more than 190 galleries representing over 30 countries, Frieze presents an eclectic cross-section of artists: international and local, established and emerging, painters and performers.
At a preview of the fair on Thursday, May 3rd, our editors scanned the booths searching for the most eye-catching, vibrant works on display. Whether you’re attending the fair this weekend on Randall’s Island or following coverage from your phone or computer, these pieces are sure to leave an impression.
“I never Asked to Fall in Love – You made me Feel like This” by Tracey Emin
Tracey Emin’s solo show at Xavier Hufkens’ booth showcases new paintings alongside sculptures and a light installation by the artist. Emin’s work is deeply personal and rooted in feminist discourse. I never Asked to Fall in Love – You made me Feel like This reveals her connection to Expressionist painters Edvard Munch and Egon Schiele. The canvas is covered in violent reds, dripped and splashed across the lower section of the work.
“Tondo” by Nick Cave
Nick Cave’s Tondo begs to be touched. The best way to resist the urge is to spend a long time looking closely at this piece, walking around it to capture every facet. This round relief changes color depending on the angle at which you view it. Cave, who is known for dynamic Soundsuits worn in performance, uses some of the same principles here: texture, color, and movement are equally responsible for Tondo’s success.
“Lip Balls” by Gina Beavers
This painting by Gina Beavers will catch your eye regardless of the angle at which you see it in THE BREEDER’s booth. The neon yellow of the tennis balls, coupled with the three-dimensionality of the work, make it difficult to ignore. Beavers is a New York City-based artist who creates paintings based on images from social media, meaning her work will be the perfect addition to your Instagram feed.
“GATEWAY” by KAWS
It’s no wonder that this canvas by street artist KAWS is located on the outside wall of Skarstedt’s booth at Frieze. A closely cropped view of KAWS’ signature figures, this canvas is covered in brightly-colored camouflage. As you wander the fair, you may find yourself coming back to this piece time and again.
“Shady” by Kapwani Kiwanga
Outside the North entrance of the fair stands Kapwani Kiwanga’s scenic installation Shady. Kiwanga is the inaugural winner of the Frieze Artist Award, which presents an emerging artist with the opportunity to launch at Frieze. Her sculpture is created from industrial metal and an agricultural fabric used in Africa. It speaks to the theft of indigenous lands by colonizers and the connection between environmental manipulation and the economy.
“Alexander Cassatt” by Kehinde Wiley
Kehinde Wiley is an African-American artist known for decadent paintings that reference a long lineage of art historical portraiture. The artist gained even wider name recognition when his portrait of Barack Obama was unveiled at the National Gallery earlier this year. This piece is typical of Wiley’s work: brightly-hued, hyper-realistic, and regal.
“Camino Real” by Anni Albers
Anni Albers was a German textile artist and printmaker who taught at Black Mountain College. She and her husband, Josef Albers, joined the faculty of the experimental school at its inception in 1933 and remained there until 1949. Albers began to explore printmaking in 1963, developing an abstract style reminiscent of the tradition of weaving.
“Beardprize” by Gilbert & George
Conceptual artists Gilbert & George have worked together since attending St. Martin’s School of Art in the 1960s. In this work, the commanding gaze of the figures confront the viewer and draw them in. It is part of their 2016 series known as “The Beard Pictures.” The series is about the changing landscape of their neighborhood in London due to gentrification.
“83F” by Atsuko Tanaka
Atsuko Tanaka was a founding member of the Japanese Gutai movement, an avant-garde collective started in the 1950s. She used unorthodox materials, from lightbulbs and neon tubes to dyed cotton fabric, but color was an ever-present dimension of her work. In this piece, a number of shocking hues are juxtaposed on a single canvas.
Tanaka’s work is on view at Sakurado Fine Arts as part of Frieze’s Spotlight section, which is dedicated to pioneering 20th-century artists.
“Concetto spaziale, Attese” by Lucio Fontana
Lucio Fontana began his career as a sculptor in his father’s studio. This interest in three-dimensionality translates to Fontana’s paintings, which discard the traditional rectangular canvases in favor of polygonal forms. Starting in 1949, Fontana began to perforate his canvases and incorporate fluorescent paint, neon lights, and blacklight. This painting sits alongside many modern masterpieces at Acquavella, including a large Keith Haring canvas and a commanding Richard Prince painting, but its vivid color sets it apart.
“Dispeller of Darkness” by Betye Saar
Betye Saar’s artistic legacy spans several decades. Her work examines political, racial and gender-based themes. In Dispeller of Darkness, the surreal quality of Saar’s work is coupled with a folk aesthetic. Saar states, “I am intrigued with combining the remnant of memories, fragments of relics and ordinary objects, with the components of technology. It’s a way of delving into the past and reaching into the future simultaneously.”
“Jungle Plane” by Doug Aitken
American artist Doug Aitken is known for innovative installations that remind us of the fluidity of time and space. Aitken’s works immerse the viewer in the world around them, highlighting the power of nature and it’s changing form. This photographic work is one of several by the artist on view at 303 Gallery’s booth. It takes us on a journey to the jungle – the vibrant blue and green a reminder that summer is just around the corner.