Frieze Art Fair Unveils Artists, Films and Talks for Inaugural L.A. Event

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The inaugural Frieze LA is set for Feb. 15 to 17 at Paramount Pictures Studios.

Works and happenings paying homage to pop culture forces from 'Name That Tune' and The Grateful Dead to 'GLOW,' plus talks with the likes of Susan Nimoy and Werner Herzog, will roll out at the Paramount Studios-based fair — and across the city — in February.

Three weeks before the launch of Los Angeles' first Frieze art fair, the event's team — led by Frieze Fairs director Victoria Siddall and Frieze LA executive director Bettina Korek — gathered at LACMA this morning to unveil plans for on- and off-site events and programs, as well more details about the art that will be presented in by the fair's roughly 70 exhibitors. Work on view throughout the fair will include some of the world's top artists as well as iconic, influential and up-and-coming California-based artists.

The inaugural Frieze LA is set for Feb. 15 to 17 at Paramount Pictures Studios, with an invitation-only preview on Valentine's Day and related events and festivities throughout the city, some as early as the weekend prior. It is a closely watched Westward expansion for the contemporary art fair that launched in London 15 years ago and in New York in 2012 — and in which Endeavor became majority investor in 2016.

"Frieze Los Angeles is poised to be an annual moment that not only draws an influx of visitors to the city but also provides an opportunity for the city itself to engage with the incredible array of artists, educators, galleries, museums, and institutions that define our cultural landscape," Korek said in a statement. "Los Angeles is already on the contemporary art map. It is long overdue to have a spot on the international art world calendar."

Frieze LA is largely seen as the linchpin of the most robust arts week Los Angeles has seen, with three concurrent fairs concluding Feb. 17, including Felix — a brand new homegrown fair of roughly 40 galleries co-founded by former UPN CEO and onetime Walt Disney TV president Dean Valentine — and two established L.A. fairs, Art Los Angeles Contemporary (now in its 10th year) and stARTup (hosting its fourth L.A. edition).

Among the Frieze galleries from more than a dozen countries are some of the most prestigious from the world's major art capitals, including many longtime Frieze exhibitors whose participation offers collectors a chance to engage with the global art world from the comfort of L.A. County. Likewise, the collectors gathered for the fair will be exposed to newer local galleries Frieze has included to represent the vanguard of contemporary art in California.

As THR first reported in September, the host committee for the first Frieze L.A. includes Hollywood backers led by Endeavor CEO Ariel Emanuel; stars including Serena Williams, Salma Hayek and Tobey Maguire; and art world supporters from Eli and Edythe Broad to LACMA director Michael Govan.

Two of Frieze LA's most curious projects come from relatively young L.A. galleries. One is artist Mark A. Rodriguez's installation exploring the mythical history of The Grateful Dead (from Park View/Paul Soto). Another is a tribute to The Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling, chronicled on the Emmy-nominated Netflix series, with a collaborative exhibition entitled "G.L.O.W (Greeting Land Outflowing Wormholes)" by Beatriz Cortez and Rafa Esparza (from Commonwealth and Council).

A few highlights from more established L.A. galleries and artists include:

• A solo show of new works by LA-based artist Doug Aitken that present a vision of the city where he has lived and worked for many years (from 303 Gallery).

• L.A. artist Kathryn Andrews' new series inspired by the 1947 "Black Dahlia" murder in Los Angeles, the inspiration for the new TNT crime drama I Am the Night starring Chris Pine and produced by Wonder Woman director Patty Jenkins (from David Kordansky).

• Mike Kelley's seminal installation, Unisex Love Nest, for the first time in L.A., the city where it was conceived exactly 20 years ago (from Hauser & Wirth).

• A solo booth of largely landscape paintings by L.A. based artist Wayne Thiebaud, best known for his pastel paintings of confections (from Acquavella Gallery).

• A solo show from L.A. graffiti artist Gaijin Fujita (from Venice-based L.A. Louver).

• Kim Dingle's new paintings and sculptures exploring the subversive edges of female childhood and myths of nationhood (from Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects).

• Shio Kusaka's ceramics as well as works by Mark Grotjahn, Jim Shaw and many more alongside a hand-painted mural by Dave Muller contextualizing gallery Blum & Poe's 25-year history in L.A. within the city's cultural and historical landscape (from Blum & Poe).

• Work by Huguette Caland, Mary Corse and Ken Price (from Kayne Griffin Corcoran)

Conceptualist Allen Ruppersberg, whose retrospective at the Hammer Museum opens Feb. 10, will be among the artists presented by L.A.'s Marc Selwyn Fine Art. Jeffrey Deitch will show a dual presentation of work by Carol Rama alongside work by pioneering feminist artist Judy Chicago, who is the subject next September of a solo show at his Hollywood gallery.

Among the international offerings:

• Sfeir-Semler Gallery, a frequent Frieze participant headquartered in Hamburg and Beirut, will show a smattering of artists from across the Arab world — including Egypt-born Wael Shwaky, Lebanese-born Walid Raad and the celebrated 93-year-old Lebanese-American artist and poet Etel Adnan (who will also have work presented elsewhere at Frieze), whose exhibition of colorful paintings and tapestries closed earlier this month at SFMoMA.

• The Berlin-based Koenig Galerie will show the Danish artist Jeppe Hein, known for interactive sculptures and installations that combine the traditions of minimalism and conceptual art with a keen wit.

• London-based White Cube will show work from Mona Hatoum; Tracey Emin; Al Held; and Chicago-based artist, activist and performer Theater Gates, whom The New York Times recently dubbed "the style world's current cultural idol."

• The shared booth of kurimanzutto and Esther Schipper will present three international artists: Albanian Anri Sala, Slovak Roman Ondak and the Mexican-born and L.A.-based Gabriel Kuri. (Kuri is the brother of a co-founder of top Mexican gallery kurimanzutto.)

• Lehmann Maupin, headquartered in New York with branches in Hong Kong and Seoul, will present new work by Iranian-born, London-based artist Shirazeh Houshiary.

Additionally, New York-based artist Lawrence Weiner will present artwork responding to the L.A. artist John Baldessari, in gallerist Marian Goodman's stand. Stuart Shave/Modern Art will offer a solo presentation by the Russian-born, New York-based rising star Sanya Kantarovsky. And New York gallerist Jack Shainman will feature the esteemed photographer Carrie Mae Weems, known in the music biz for her portraits of Mary J. Blige among others; Ghanaian artist El Anatsui, winner of the Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement at the 2015 Venice Biennial; and the Cuban-born, L.A.-based painter Enrique Martinez Celaya.

Frieze Film will take place at the Paramount Theater. L.A. based Iranian-American artist painter and filmmaker Tala Madani — known for her unflattering, violent and hilarious depictions of men — will have animations from 2018, with screenings on Feb. 15 and Feb. 17 at noon and 3 p.m.

Work from filmmaker Cecile B. Evans will screen Feb. 14 and Feb. 16 at 11:30 a.m. and 3 p.m. Director Werner Herzog will join New York artist Tom Sachs in conversation after a screening of Sachs' work (Feb. 15, 6:30-8:30 p.m.).

Finally, Frieze Film will premiere the fourth title in the "Second Summer of Love" series produced in collaboration with Gucci. Following takes from helmers Jeremy Deller, Wu Tsang and Josh Blaaberg, Jenn Nkiru's film — centering on Detroit and Berlin techno culture — premieres Feb. 14 at 8 p.m.

Frieze fairs in London and New York typically include talks and staged events, often featuring local curators, artists and scholars. In L.A., this programming is curated by Hamza Walker, who heads LAXART, the West Hollywood non-profit that hosts events like this Saturday's "I Heart Poetry and Day Drinking." Walker has designed the Frieze programs to give backstage view into the practices and inspirations of several L.A. artists and creatives.

In the spirit of Name That Tune, the music-themed game show that first ran in the 1950s, Walker and Josh Kun (the MacArthur "genius" who heads The Popular Music Project at USC Annenberg's Norman Lear Center) will quiz and query four artists whose work is inextricably connected to sound. The artist-contestants include Frances Stark, whose animated film adaptation of Mozart's Magic Flute premiered at LACMA in 2017 (Feb. 1, 7 p.m.); Lauren Halsey, who was an artist-in-residence at L.A.'s MOCA last year (Feb. 7) and Jim Shaw, long a part of L.A.'s art scene (Feb. 11).

Frieze Talks will continue at Paramount's Sherry Lansing Theatre for fairgoers, with highlights including Michael Govan, head of LACMA, along with the deputy directors of the California African American Museum and the Getty Research Institute, who'll speak on broadening the ethnic diversity of collections and exhibitions (Feb. 15, noon); and Kristy Edmunds, who heads UCLA's Center for the Art of Performance in conversation with collector and philanthropist Susan Nimoy, arts philanthropist Sarah Arison and Marciano Foundation artistic director Olivia Marciano (Feb. 14, 5 p.m.); and architect Frank Gehry in conversation with the Swiss collector Maja Hoffman of LUMA Foundation and the influential curator Hans Ulrich Obrist of Serpentine Galleries (Feb. 15, 5 p.m.).

Frieze is also launching Conversations on Patronage, an extension of the fair's well-established Conversations on Collecting, meant to emphasize supporting the arts through patronage and civic engagement.

"Eavesdropping" will bring together two cultural figures to discuss the creative process. Participants include: Rafa Esparza, best known for his recent work with ICA LA and his participation in the 2016 edition of "Made in L.A." at the Hammer Museum, with Ron Athey, a body artist known for his extreme performances (Feb. 15, 3.30 p.m.); filmmaker Cauleen Smith in conversation with Sondra Perry, known for her work in video and performance (Feb. 16, 5 p.m.); L.A. painter Mary Weatherford with Suzanne Hudson (Feb. 17, 3.30 p.m.); and installation artist Liz Larner with poet Ariana Reines (Feb. 17, 5 p.m.).

In November, THR announced Frieze's selection of a small squad of artists whom Ali Subotnick, a former curator at the Hammer, invited to create site-specific artworks on Paramount's New York backlot during the fair. Almost all the artist projects will touch on some aspect of Hollywood's artifice and history, as well as the complicated rapport between L.A. and New York. They include local and international artists Barbara Kruger, Paul McCarthy, Tino Sehgal, Sarah Cain, Karon Davis, Patrick Jackson, Lisa Anne Auerbach, Catharine Czudej, Cayetano Ferrer, Hannah Greely, Trulee Hall and Kori Newkirk. Announced this morning were several additional project artists: Eugenia Butler, Max Hooper Schneider, Shahryar Nashat and Nicolas Party.

Non-profit and activist organizations presenting special shop projects in the backlot include the Women's Center for Creative Work, a network of women based in L.A. who promote art and feminism; A-Z West, an artwork located on over 70 acres near Joshua Tree National Park; and Acid Free, which will present a mini book fair, book store and salon. Pretend Plants and Flowers and AndSons Chocolatiers, both second-generation creative enterprises, will present modern takes on the legacies they honor in their shared space. 

Frieze has also recruited some of the city's culinary hotspots to feed fairgoers, including Baroo, Cinque, Coni'Seafood and Sqirl; plus Roberta's, the treasured Brooklyn pizzeria that now has an outpost in Culver City.