FOOD and Drink

Left: Dealers Lawrence Luhring and Roland Augustine. Right: FOOD chefs-for-a-day, artist Matthew Day Jackson and SunTek Chung. (All photos: Linda Yablonsky)

FRIEZE NEW YORK began this year in a downpour. During its early hours on May 9, it rained art, it rained people, and it just plain rained on Randall’s Island Park, soaking Paul McCarthy’s ginormous balloon dog on the northern side of the slinky white tent. It put a bit of a damper on Matthew Day Jackson’s premier outing as a guest chef for FOOD, Frieze Projects curator Cecilia Alemani’s re-creation of the legendary artist-owned restaurant that galvanized SoHo in 1971. Inside, however, it was clear from the jump that the second American edition of Frieze was in no kind of sophomore slump.

“It’s a Thursday,” said Gagosian’s Stefan Ratibor, standing before the full pipe of cracked windshields that Dan Colen wrought. “Don’t people have jobs?” The 180 dealers in the tent certainly did. At the 303 Gallery stand, Cristian Alexa and Katy Erdman barely had time to look up from their iPads. (Even at an art fair, it seems, some sales are conducted via the Internet.) With Ali Subotnick and Maurizio Cattelan, two-thirds of the old Wrong Gallery team, homing in on an intriguing new painting by Jakub Ziolkowski with Greek collector Dakis Joannou, Warsaw’s Foksal Foundation stood to replenish its coffers. Before the first hour was up, Hauser & Wirth had placed thirty-six of the forty take-home-size, $25,000 versions of McCarthy’s testicular inflatable, each a unique color; by 3 PM all of them were gone, as were works by Rashid Johnson and Jackson, the other two artists the gallery featured.

Left: Dealer Gavin Brown with John McEnroe. Right: New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg.

If appearances are to be believed—always a gamble—the ballooning market for contemporary art is still expanding, and not just because more people are in it. In the aisles, the consensus was that the variety and quality of the art on hand was several notches above what overly cautious dealers had brought to the fair’s first edition. This one attracted serious people: François Pinault Foundation curator Caroline Bourgeois, collector Pauline Karpidas, Tate Modern director Chris Dercon, the Rubell family, Warhol Foundation chief Joel Wachs, and the Whitney Museum’s chief curator Donna De Salvo among them. Even the art-friendly New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg took a stroll around the tent. “It’s good,” he said. “I’m enjoying it.”

Collector Beth Swofford, a Hollywood actor and directors’ agent, was guiding two young stars who, sorry, wished to remain anonymous. (Well, one of them was Andrew Garfield.) “They know I’m into this and they were curious,” she said. Sotheby’s vice president Lisa Dennison was walking with New Line Cinema founder Bob Shaye. “Wow,” said art attorney John Silberman. “He looks a lot like Bob Rauschenberg.” Shaye nodded. “I’ve heard that before,” he said. “I guess I do.”

Left: Frieze Projects curator Cecilia Alemani. Right: Dealer David Zwirner with collectors Susan and Michael Hort.

By midafternoon, the fair was bustling and the food concessionnaires, including those from Fat Radish, Mission Chinese, Frankie’s, and Sant Ambroeus, had to work as hard as the dealers to keep up with the demand for attention. As the skies cleared, Jackson was at one of the picnic tables under the FOOD canopy, chowing down on the prix fixe Korean cuisine that one of his fellow chefs, SunTek Chung, had cooked up. If you didn’t want actual food, your eyes could partake of Tom Friedman’s Pop-ish giant pizza and oversize Hostess Twinkies at the Luhring Augustine booth.

Fair visitors selected, more or less at random, to receive a key to artist Liz Glynn’s secret Vault found themselves in a darkened room containing numbered wooden lockers, a bar, and a bartender. Handed a key, Glynn opened a locker collecting various handmade items—I drew a papier-mâché lamb chop and a couple of duct-tape knives—and set it on the bar, while one of the mixologists who rotated throughout the day improvised a story in which those items played a part while serving up a unique Saler’s Liqueur concoction for the visitor to drink. Elsewhere, seemingly everywhere, an unidentified woman appeared around the fair to perform as a sculpture by Matteo Tanatt, another Frieze Projects artist. At moments, it required her to sit rock-still on a blue bench or lean against a wall, her head hidden beneath a blue cloth.

Frankly, there was so much movement and so much to see that it took some doing to register any one work out of the thousands available, not just in the fair central but in the Frame and Focus sections, which quickly became a head-turning blur. Marian Goodman offered a bit of respite with Ann Lee, a 2011 work that Tino Sehgal based on Philippe Parreno and Pierre Huyghe’s manga character, only in living, tween-human form. But even here the noise and chatter of the fair distracted from the performance I saw. Pretty bold, bringing a work like this to a fair, I thought. “We’re a pretty bold gallery,” said gallery director Rose Lord. Of course, the piece readily found a bold buyer.

Left: Collector Pauline Karpidas and dealer Chantal Crousel. Right: Dealer Jose Freire.

I also dimly recall the scatter of painted metal leaves by Pae White and the nature photographs by Roe Etheridge in the combined Andrew Kreps and greengrassi booth. Jim Lambie’s brightly painted and mirrored ladders at the Modern Institute made a favorable impression, as did the recent works that Matthew Higgs had gathered from artists who got their start with solo shows at White Columns. At the Johann König stand, it was nice to take a load off by reclining on the leather-belt chaise by Monica Bonvicini. Stepping away from the Andrea Rosen booth, the functional sculpture won high praise from artist Josephine Meckseper: “She’s really a badass!”

Not that anyone would want to, but there was no getting away from art, badass or otherwise, that day, even on exit from the fair. The overtaxed VIP BMW shuttles to Manhattan were each equipped with Frieze Sounds, three audio works also commissioned by Alemani for the luxe cars (and available for armchair listening on the fair’s website). It wasn’t exactly top-forty material.

Charles Atlas and New Humans contributed a pleasant electronic sound track that included a litany of aromatic spices. Trisha Baga’s remix of sportscasts, movie scores, and weather forecasts was nearly indistinguishable from spins through the dial on satellite radio. But Haroon Mirza’s thirty-six-second revving engine roar came closest to capturing the spirit of the day. “I think it’s very creative,” said the driver, after repeated plays. “It’s a very good car, don’t you think?”

Left: Dealer Stefan Ratibor. Right: Dealer Monika Sprüth and collector Richard Chang.

Left: Dealer Marc Payot. Right: Serpentine Gallery director Julia Peyton-Jones with Hans Ulrich Obrist, codirector of the Serpentine's exhibitions and programs.

Left: Victoria Yee Howe with artist Maurizio Cattelan, collector Dakis Jouannou, and Hammer Museum curator Ali Subotnick. Right: Artist Liz Glynn with mixologist Tyler Gardella.

Left: Dealer Johann König. Right: Dealers Janine Foeller and Jane Hait.

Left: Dealers Daniel Buchholz and Nicole Klagsbrun. Right: New Line Cinema founder Bob Shaye.

Left: Collectors Phil Aarons and Shelley Fox Aarons. Right: Dealer Allison Jacques with Warhol Foundation president Joel Wachs.

Left: Dealer Irit Sommer. Right: Dealer Mehdi Chouaki and curator Nicholas Tremblay.

Left: Dealer Bridget Donahue. Right: Dealer Cornelia Grassi with art consultant Allan Schwartzman and dealer Andrew Kreps.

Left: Dealers Kathryn Erdman and Cristian Alexa. Right: Dealer Toby Webster.

Left: Dealer Nicholas Logsdail. Right: New Museum director Lisa Phillips and photo editor Nessia Pope.

Left: Dealer Stuart Shave. Right: Giancarlo Giametti and fashion designer Valentino Garavani.

Left: Dealer Andrew Hamilton with Carnegie International cocurator Daniel Baumann, dealer Alexander Hertling, and artist Alexander May. Right: Art attorney Eric Johnson with Daniel Firman's Linda.

Left: Stedelijk Museum director Ann Goldstein with art writer Jan Tumlir. Right: Art advisor Linda Silverman and artist Josephine Meckseper.