As New Yorkers were basking in the sudden onslaught of Spring sunshine in the first week of May 2018, Randall’s Island in Manhattan was abuzz with the arrival of the annual Frieze Art Fair. Featuring 197 galleries from 30 countries the iconic white tent as usual housed a myriad of artists, gallerists, collectors and curators in what is often hailed as one of the world’s most ambitious exploits in Modern Art. At this, the seventh instalment of the fair in New York we saw a diverse tableau of creativity unfold with a pageantry that is so quintessentially Frieze.
This year’s exhibit saw huge representation from the South Asian contingent with comebacks from Project 88 and Jhaveri Contemporary from Mumbai as well as Nature Morte from Delhi. Jhaveri Contemporary took over the Spotlight section this year which displays lesser-known artists of the 20th Century, and their choice of honouree was Mohan Samant. Though prevalent in the 1980’s his daring collage and assemblage work has gone relatively unnoticed to the mainstream audience but he’s been pushing the boundaries of Indian modern and contemporary art for years. By recognising his work at Frieze it was finally given its long overdue exposure to an international audience. Their amazing set-up even garnered the recognition of a jury of leading international curators and on the first day of the fair, they were awarded the Frieze Stand Prize for exceptional presentation in any section.
Another standout from the weekend was a section curated by Matthew Higgs as a testament to the late Chicago and New York based gallerist, Hudson and his work at Feature Inc. For Your Infotainment: Hudson and Feature Inc. was a showcase of the many seminal artists of the 1980’s – 2000’s whose diverse and sometimes eclectic work was curated into a seamless exhibit through Hudson’s discerning eye. As Higgs put it “artists have often quite radically different intentions, that somehow all made (perfect) sense when viewed through Hudson’s eyes.” Some of the names that made it to the roster included Tom Friedman, Takeshi Murakami, Dike Blair and Tom of Finland.
One of the largest crowd-pleasers this year was the collaboration between Frieze and Gucci to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the crest of the acid house wave aptly called the Second Summer of Love. This major new program was launched by Frieze’s new production house, Frieze Studios and features films by numerous artists that pay homage to the pioneering summers of 1988 and 1989 in the United Kingdom. They not only aim to explore the roots of House music but its enduring effects on popular culture. Wu Tsang’s ‘In The Space Of Love’, delved into the legacies of New York underground house, other features were created by Jeremy Deller, Arthur Jafa and emerging artist Josh Blaaberg.
Overall, the 2018 edition of Frieze New York was an amalgamation of old and the new, they celebrated the names and movements that led the world to this point while also honouring the modern art world and the many possibilities that lie in store. As always Frieze brought together the wide array of the art world in a way that defines the transition of time and ensures that despite constant innovation, no masterpiece is forgotten.
Photographs courtesy Frieze Art Fair