Ante Frieze

New York

Left: Collector Christophe de Menil, artist Marc Quinn, and dealer Mary Boone. Right: Dealer Larry Gagosian. (All photos: Linda Yablonsky)

THE NEW YORK ART WORLD IS ON FIRE. It’s got spring, it’s got Frieze, it’s got the contemporary auctions. It’s got galleries and artists, and exhibitions opening for seemingly all of them. The only thing it doesn’t have is a night off.

The match was lit on Thursday, May 2. That evening, Tracey Emin, Philip Taaffe, Jannis Kounellis, Sara VanDerBeek, Tim Hawkinson, Spencer Finch, Anthony Pearson, Carl Palazzolo, Zak Smith, and Alexi Worth all withstood a thousand air-kisses in Chelsea alone.

At Lehmann Maupin, Emin showed white bronze boxes topped by appealing white bronze animals with sweet nothings (A CLOUD OF BLOOD / AN INVISIBLE MIST) etched into their sides. Kounellis brought enough vintage glassware to Cheim & Read to be the envy of any downtown boîte. Hawkinson installed grotesques that included a kind of street lamp with a glass top made by shaping the panes with his buttocks. For her rather stunning debut at Metro Pictures, VanDerBeek created a museum-like tableau with a colonnade of tall white plinths and glistening, reflective blue photographs that hide and reveal images of female statuary that might sit on them, depending on the viewpoint. Finch, after floating his boat on Walden Pond, delivered to James Cohan a rope strung with little cards painted the color of the water at each depth he measured to 250 feet. And for his first New York show of paintings in six years, at Luhring Augustine, Taaffe’s complex, linocut, silk-screened, stenciled abstract paintings convened an envious clutch of admirers.

Left: Artists Wolfgang Tillmans, T. J. Wilcox, and Elizabeth Peyton. Right: Artist Tracey Emin.

There, in one room, were Brice Marden, Terry Winters, Francesco Clemente, Larry Clark, Matthew Ritchie, Laurie Simmons, Sarah Charlesworth, Donald Baechler, Duncan Hannah, Elvis Costello, and Graham Nash. “Graham Nash—really?” said writer Glenn O’Brien, eyes wide. “Of Crosby, Stills and Nash? I hope I’m at his table.”

But there were other places to be, like Chrystie Street on the Lower East Side. That’s where Emin went, for part two of her show, before heading to dinner at Freeman’s. Lehmann Maupin had taken the entire restaurant, upstairs and down, to celebrate the gallery’s seventeen years with the artist. “I won’t say this is the best show I’ve ever done,” Emin told the diners, while performing a fashion walk between rooms, “but these are the two best shows I’ve ever done at once.” One forgets that the gallery gave Emin her first solo show—the unforgettable My Bed—in 1998. And now she’s been awarded a CBE by Buckingham Palace. “Yes,” said collector Jean-Pierre Lehmann, “but the British Empire isn’t what it used to be.” Neither is Emin. She has taken to bicycle riding in Miami, where her first museum retrospective will open at the Museum of Contemporary Art, North Miami, in December.

How to follow all these “firsts”? With Anselm Kiefer, Wolfgang Tillmans, and Rodney Graham, of course. Lisa Spellman chose Graham’s comic light-box self-portraits for Friday’s inauguration of her latest 303 Gallery, which is tucked under the High Line on West Twenty-Fourth Street. Architect Markus Dochantschi had completed construction only the day before. Spanking new or not, it’s just a chic placeholder for 303’s actual new space, on West Twenty-Second Street, opening two years from now.

Left: Artist Ryan McGinley and Michael Stipe. Right: Tate Modern curator Stuart Comer.

Another forward-thinking person is curator Cecilia Alemani. On Friday afternoon, she led private tours of the still-wild, unmanicured section of the High Line, where she has installed a group of perfect Carol Bove sculptures that will soon be engulfed by summer blooms. Speaking of flowers, some of Kiefer’s new paintings at Gagosian on West Twenty-First Street take a surprisingly colorful turn toward Monet. Except for a colossal seascape that dwarfed everyone at that evening’s opening, the rest are more typically war-torn and somber—at least as far as I could make out. Kiefer had ordered all the lights, except for a thin white line of fluorescents near the ceiling, removed. “Too much light can kill the whole thing,” he explained.

As twilight fell, I headed for Tillmans’s seventh knock-’em, sock-’em show with Andrea Rosen, who was hosting another artist jamboree that easily rivaled Taaffe’s. Ryan McGinley was outside with Michael Stipe. Elizabeth Peyton and T. J. Wilcox were just inside the door. In the gallery were Liam Gillick, Wade Guyton, Ritchie (again!), Josephine Meckseper, and Richard Phillips. The gallery was also chock-a-block with curators: Kathy Halbreich and Laura Hoptman from MoMA; Stuart Comer from the Tate; the Whitney’s Carter Foster; Nicholas Cullinan and Ian Alteveer from the Metropolitan Museum; Guggenheim deputy director Ari Wiseman, and more. The brainy crowd also included dealers Jürgen Becker, Peter Currie, Jeanne Greenberg Rohatyn, and Alex Zachary, who’s about to take over Whitney curator Jay Sanders’s old job at Greene Naftali.

Tillmans was all smiles at Acme, which Rosen had privatized, upstairs and down, and where the kitchen performed at peak levels throughout the evening. “This is my seventh show with Andrea,” Tillmans said after an affectionate toast from Rosen. “But 2013 marks our twentieth anniversary. New York,” he added, “is home for my work, and my heart.” Rosen was quick to jump in with, “New York loves you, Wolfie!”

Left: MoMA chief curator Ann Temkin with artist Brice Marden. Right: Dealer Richard Edwards and Philip Taaffe.

The love fest continued on Saturday, when Garth Weiser rode up to Casey Kaplan on his motorcycle and Marc Quinn brought Mary Boone gleaming, giant bronzes of seashells as golden as a Biblical calf. “If we hold them to our ears, will we hear the ocean?” Billy Sullivan joked. Fat chance. The largest, according to Boone, weighs four tons. Guests were invited to climb into it, but only if they got naked first. “We wouldn’t want scratches,” said Quinn, noting that the sculptures were the result of “the largest 3-D scans of an object at this resolution in the world.”

Dinner was at the Hotel Americano, where Alba Clemente did the flower arrangements, Adam McEwen cozied up with collector Christophe de Menil, Richard Phillips met Peter Saul for the first time, and save-the-elephants conservationist Mark Shand—“Prince Charles’s brother-in-law,” Boone whispered—gave the toast.

Sunday was Lower East Side day, the day Harris Lieberman Gallery opened a second space on Orchard Street with a Matt Saunders video and Constance DeJong performed an exquisite, hourlong illustrated monologue at Bureau. Brendan Fowler held his ground at Joel Mesler’s Untitled Gallery, Mexican artist Edgardo Aragón made his North American debut at Laurel Gitlen, dealer Augusto Arbizo sold out the show of Spaniard Jeronimo Elespe’s intimately scaled paintings, and Erin Shirreff opened at Lisa Cooley. “The prices are over the top!” observed artist-collector Jeremy Kost.

Hopefully, a day will come when we look at art without thinking about money first, but with Frieze upon us, that day might yet be far off.

Linda Yablonsky

Left: Shelly Fremont, director and artist John Waters, and Vincent Fremont. Right: Costume designer Alba Clemente with artist Francesco Clemente.

Left: Artist Anselm Kiefer with his children, Elektra and Virgil Kiefer. Right: Dealer Rachel Lehmann and collector Marcio Fainziliber.

Left: Dealer Jeanne Greenberg Rohatyn and writer Glenn O'Brien. Right: Artist Jannis Kounellis.

Left: Visionaire's Cecilia Dean and writer and artist David Colman. Right: Dealer Jessie Washburne-Harris.

Left: Dealer Andrea Rosen. Right: Frieze cofounder Amanda Sharp with MoMA associate director Kathy Halbriech, Frieze cofounder Matthew Slotover, and artist Liam Gillick.

Left: Artist Tim Hawkinson. Right: Dealers Peter Currie and Alex Zachary.

Left: Dealer Stefania Bortolami and artist Anna Ostoya. Right: Dealer Miguel Abreu.

Left: Artist Edgardo Aragón and dealer Laurel Gitlen. Right: Dealer Gabrielle Giattino.

Left: Artists Richard Phillips and Luis Gispert. Right: Dealer Sam Orlofsky.

Left: High Line Art curator Cecilia Alemani. Right: Dealer Casey Kaplan and artist Garth Weiser.

Left: MoCA North Miami curator Alex Gartenfeld and artist Sara VanDerBeek. Right: Guggenheim deputy director Ari Wiseman, Metropolitan Museum curator Ian Alteveer, and Whitney Museum curator Carter Foster.

Left: Writer Gary Indiana with MoCA North Miami director Bonnie Clearwater. Right: Artist Laurie Simmons.

Left: Artist Spencer Finch. Right: Artist Will Cotton, Gagosian's Rose Dergan, and artist Jacob Hashimoto.

Left: Architect Markus Dochantschi. Right: Dealer Joel Mesler.

Left: Artists Jacqueline Humphries and Constance DeJong. Right: Sally Saul and artist Peter Saul.

Left: Architecture critic Nicolai Ouroussoff and artist Cecily Brown. Right: Collector Neda Young.

Left: Artist Sarah Charlesworth, writer Glenn O'Brien, and artists Helen Marden and Larry Clark. Right: Graphic designer Brendan Dugan.