IF YOU AREN’T THERE TO SHOP, art fairs are like plugging into a video game where someone’s already taken care of the bosses. Down this aisle, a friend to talk to, down that one a costumed bear spinning out on the floor at your feet; maybe go watch a digital film, ogle some colors, take the ferry—it doesn’t matter what you do, so long as you ride the ride. It all blurs and holds together if you don’t slow down to remember you’ve been chewing on dried mango all day.
Relentless attention to art and society keeps the body’s needs at bay—at least until a rainy day, with storm clouds looming over the weekend. But the key thing, on this Thursday vernissage of Frieze New York, was NOT YET. It was bright on the outside, and bright on the inside for preview hours. Let me name a few lights:
Henry Taylor painted Deana Lawson—the two are also chummily installed next to each other in the current Whitney Biennial—and the results were hung up by Blum & Poe. 303 Gallery brought elegant black-and-white Collier Schorr photographs along with small gorgeousness in two strains—loopy from Karen Kilimnik and spooky care of Maureen Gallace.
Meanwhile, art historian Maika Pollack’s Southfirst featured a solo presentation by Jared Bark—a performance artist whose keen 1970s-era exploration of photo-booth photography’s affinity with abstraction was the subject of a 2015 show at the gallery—memorable for both the breadth displayed and his gallerist’s smart enthusiasm. NYC- and London-based Hales showed paintings by Virginia Jaramillo, who, in addition to being featured in the recently opened and absolutely fantastic exhibition “We Wanted a Revolution: Black Radical Women, 1965–85” at the Brooklyn Museum, had a 1971 work bought by the museum through the inaugural Frieze Brooklyn Museum Fund—Yahtzee!
Perambulating along: Michael Krebber’s adamant anemia cycled through making itself known and slumping back under the radar throughout the course of its day, hung as it was in the form of two drawings at Maureen Paley’s booth. A friend noted that she’d seen more plastic surgery within the first ten minutes of strolling in than she could recall encountering before.
You know what else was taut? Daiga Grantina’s comely, freaky strung-up fabric works at Galerie Joseph Tang. Betty Woodman clocked them, and I was pleased to see them IRL, for once. Nancy Spero’s clothesline at Galerie Lelong was another highlight, making the so-obvious-why-didn’t-I-notice-it-before connection between artworks and old, washed intimates—all get hung out to dry at some point. Speaking of dry, would Société’s Daniel Wichelhaus have some of my mango? Affirmative.
An e-mail from a German writer begins: “I hope you are well and the current political climate doesn’t affect your daily live negatively!” ¯\(ツ)/¯
As our Chief Orange One (too bad we couldn’t reject preexisting conditions last November) headed to the USS Intrepid at Pier 86 for a thirty-minute dinner reception with the Australian prime minister, we headed downtown for quieter affairs: Juliana Huxtable’s opening at Reena Spaulings, Tabor Robak at Team, a dinner at Bottino for Leidy Churchman’s Mary Boone debut, and a Bunny Rogers reading at the Swiss Institute. A small group of Rogers’s friends and admirers noshed on an array of cheeses until it was time for earnest and sincere speeches from Simon Castets and Hans Ulrich Obrist on when they first met Rogers and came to work with her for their “89 plus” project. After a few rounds of applause, the artist—looking the happiest I’ve ever seen her—read her slivers of poetry. They glide right by, veering from phrases clipped from some heightened drama to blunt exposition with a sharp nick of allusion: “I’m going to leave you / Should you want blood you’ve got it / In a world where she counts / What do you want from me besides the four legs I rip off the seat / He said class will be over soon and can I take you home?” I would never not say yes.