The seventh edition of New York’s annual Frieze art fair promises another year of extraordinary talent and inspired exhibitions. While seasoned collectors can expect plenty of exceptional pieces to choose from, the fair is also designed with novices and visitors in mind—with wide aisles to stroll through, affordable items to purchase, and easy-to-follow, carefully curated sections. After all, it was cofounders Amanda Sharp and Matthew Slotover’s wish to make art more accessible that provided the impetus for the publication of Frieze magazine and, 12 years later, the very first Frieze art fair in London’s Regent Park.
“It goes back to the founding of the magazine in 1991,” says Andrea Glimcher, founder and director of Hyphen art advisory and a longtime gallerist and art expert. “It’s about showcasing art and looking at history in an accessible way—[Frieze] has really carried that through.”
But with more than 190 galleries and 1,000 of the world’s finest contemporary artists coming together for one jam-packed long weekend, how do you know where to start? Glimcher, our trusted Frieze guide, breaks the festival down one gallery, performance, and artist at a time.
Glimcher’s Pick for Must-See Exhibition: “For Your Infotainment / Hudson and Feature Inc.”
Legendary artist and curator Matthew Higgs is introducing Frieze’s very first themed exhibition, “For Your Infotainment / Hudson and Feature Inc.,” with a tribute to the late, eponymous art dealer and his gallery space. Everything Hudson (he only went by his last name) did showed an all-encompassing understanding of his craft, a quality Glimcher commends: “The commitment between dealer and artist is so powerful, but Hudson really understood how to take care of his artists—he embodied that commitment. He was the real deal.” Higgs will feature the fierce talents that Hudson’s gallery supported, including multimedia artist Takashi Murakami, sculptor Tom Friedman, and photo-realist painter Dike Blair.
Must-See Installation: The Complete Aesop
This year’s Frame section will be helmed by two new curators, Andrew Bonacina and Laura McLean-Ferris, who will present an exciting array of fresh voices, including one that will have you scratching your head in simultaneous confusion and adoration. VI VII Gallery is handing over its entire booth to Swiss artist Tobias Kaspar, who will give viewers a completely original take on the term “contemporary art” by turning the space into a deconstructed skincare store. The large-scale installation, The Complete Aesop, features more than 100 bottles from the product line of the same name, stripping them of their branding and casting them in vintage porcelain. The strange minimalist piece is not out of the ordinary for Kaspar, who is known for identifying links between lifestyle, art, and fashion in far-from-traditional ways.
Glimcher’s Pick for Overlooked Artist Who is Due the Spotlight: Merrill Wagner
Blaffer Art Museum’s Toby Kamps returns to curate the Spotlight section, which will feature 35 presentations by unexplored 20th-century voices. Glimcher has her eye on the Zürcher Gallery’s exhibition of oil paintings, drawings, and sculptural pieces by Merrill Wagner. The multimedia artist’s works have been unjustly underrepresented over the years, especially her time-based projects from the ’70s, which allude to the passing of time through material transformation and manipulation. Other works by prominent female artists will have their moment, as well, including never-before-exhibited paintings by Mira Schor (Lyles & King), Betye Saar’s feminist collages (Roberts Projects), and works by painter and printmaker Emma Amos (Ryan Lee Gallery).
Glimcher’s Picks for Must-Visit Galleries: Simone Subal Gallery and Galerie Thaddeaus Ropac
Here you’ll find a huge range of work by artist and writer Brian O’Doherty, who went by the pseudonym Patrick Ireland. Doherty is a favorite of Glimcher’s, having studied under him at Barnard College. Afterward, she suggests making a beeline for Thaddeaus Ropac’s booth for a closer look at a few distinguished international artists. The Austrian gallerist never disappoints—and he certainly won’t start now, since he’s bringing along recent works by renowned contemporary artists Alex Katz, Yan Pei-Ming, and Georg Baselitz.
Must-See Photography: Sikkema Jenkins & Co.
Pop into the Sikkema Jenkins & Co. booth for a look at images by Erin Shirreff and Vik Muniz’s newest photographs inspired by Swedish artist Hilma af Klint.
Glimcher’s Pick for Best Performance Art: Assembly
Frieze’s new live program, Assembly, is a time-based collection of installations that will feature “processions, ritualistic and conceptual performance, alongside sound installations, banners, and flags.” If you enjoyed boundary-pushing artist Adam Pendleton’s experimental work last year, you’ll have to check out his latest, Black Dada Flag, a large-scale flag that speaks directly to the Black Lives Matter movement.
Glimcher’s Pick for Affordable Art: Allied Editions
A new addition to Frieze this year might help break your window-shop-only rule. As part of the Allied Editions program, nonprofit organizations will sell limited-edition and affordable artworks made by esteemed artists from around the world. The specially commissioned pieces start as little as $120 and are made all the sweeter after learning your buy will help support each organization’s exhibitions and education programs.
Glimcher’s Pick for Artist to Watch: Kapwani Kiwanga
Frieze New York is following its London counterpart’s lead by presenting its own version of the Frieze Artist Award. 2018’s inaugural winner is emerging artist Kapwani Kiwanga, who beat hundreds of applicants for the enviable prize of presenting her own work at this year’s fair. Expect metal structures, a ton of textile work using African shade cloth, and a subtle yet eye-opening reference to race and appropriation.