Jennifer Lopez, Alex Rodriguez and Leonardo DiCaprio Among Attendees at L.A.'s Frieze Art Fair

Billy Farrell/BFA.com/Courtesy of Frieze
Alex Rodriguez and Jennifer Lopez

Among sales at day 1 of the fair on the Paramount lot was a James Turrell light piece purchased by Kendall Jenner.

If there was any concern that the second edition of Frieze L.A. would not live up to last year’s star-studded inauguration, the art fair’s VIP preview Thursday, Feb. 13, put those ideas to rest. Inside the 62,000-square-foot tent, located on the Paramount Pictures lot, Jennifer Lopez, Alex Rodriguez, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Jason Statham, Amy Poehler and Chelsea Handler, among others, perused the exhibits from more than 70 galleries in the first hour alone. James Corden, one of last year’s earliest visitors, walked the floor Thursday morning, giving off a seeming air of acquisitiveness as he checked out the Jack Shainman Gallery and Galleria Franco Noero.

"I'm familiar with the fair because when I lived in London," Corden said. "I would always go and it's thrilling to see it here. I think it will just grow and grow and grow until it will be too big for this lot, because you can tell there's more people here right now than there were last year." What separates Frieze Los Angeles from its New York and London counterparts is the networking element, remarked Corden, right after Handler walked by and gave the late-night host a squeeze. 

Frieze executive director Bettina Korek told The Hollywood Reporter that, as she sees it, year two of the fair has seen a deepening of "the relationship between Hollywood and artists continues to deepen." "We’ve had a lot of interest from celebrities. There's a very symbiotic relationship and I think that on every level there is a reflection of the collaboration between art and entertainment," she said. At the pre-fair VIP breakfast, Endeavor’s Ari Emanuel and Paramount chairman-CEO Jim Gianopulos gave each other a hug before the latter took the stage. "When Ari encourages you to do something, you do it. We all know how that works," said Gianopulos. "The next four days, we'll see over 30,000 guests coming to the lot, suspending the reality of their everyday lives to become fully immersed in the unique world of Frieze. We couldn't be more proud." (In 2016, Endeavor bought a 70 percent stake in Frieze.)  

UTA co-founder and art collector Peter Benedek was enjoying the people watching and the art watching in equal measure. "I think this is a really exceptional fair for Los Angeles," he told THR. "I was out to dinner last night with the people in the movie and television business, but the restaurants were all jammed with people who were here for the art fair. I think it’s great for the city that there is all of this fantastic activity going on. It’s good for business."

Though he did not want his visit documented by photographers, Leonardo DiCaprio put in a second annual appearance, spending well over an hour perusing the main floor of the fair dressed in a baseball cap with a gray hoodie pulled over it. The actor snapped a photo of the James Turrell light work installations, shown jointly by Pace Gallery and Kayne Griffin Corcoran, one of which would be acquired by Kendall Jenner by end of day. (Jenner’s brother-in-law Kanye West donated $10 million to the artist last year so he could finish his massive Roden Crater art installation.) DiCaprio also showed prolonged interest in Japanese woodblock prints by Sanya Kantarovsky at the Taka Ishii Gallery. Maria Bell is looking forward to seeing Shio Kusaka presenting at Blum & Poe and Jonas Woods at  David Kordansky Gallery. 

While DiCaprio appeared to be making his choices with the help of two friends, "everyone’s walking around with an art adviser," remarked one attendee. "It’s like this year’s accessory." Meanwhile, a sunglass-clad Lopez, hand in hand with fiance Rodriguez, was making the rounds efficiently with the help of Salon 94 gallerist Jeanne Greenberg Rohatyn, while Huntington-Whiteley and Statham were walking the floor with art curator Neville Wakefield.  

Art lovers also found ways to combine their love for creativity with making a social impact. Jill Soloway, co-founder of 50/50 by 2020, was trying to expand her mission to include the art world. "The first time I came [to Frieze LA] I started collecting works by women and people of color, queer people, and trying to do the same work in the art world that I do in Hollywood,” said Soloway (who admits she was distracted while at the fair because of the "electric green Jimmy Choos everywhere"), who was browsing the fair with artist/activists Favianna Rodriguez and Iva Gueorguieva. "You shift the gaze and you change the conversation and add value to the works of women, people of color, disabled people, and otherized people." 

As part of the Endeavor Foundation, Emanuel was responsible for bringing the Out of Bounds exhibition to the backlot, created by artists in custody at the California State Prison in Los Angeles. "It’s the result of a visit that he made to a group of incarcerated artists," Korek told THR. "He was so moved by what they're doing that we brought this show to the fair."

Encouraged by last year’s success, Korek was eager to expand the local presence at this year’s fair. "We tried to build on the potential for bringing Los Angeles to the backlot. Our focus section, which is curated by Rita Gonzalez, is really bringing emerging L.A. galleries that you'd have to drive all over to see, under one roof. [Last year] we had a couple of artist-driven nonprofits like Women's Center for Creative Work, Artists for Democracy, Andrea Zittel's A-Z West, and we tried to build on that, creating an artist street fair," she says, noting that the reach of Frieze goes far beyond the fair itself. "We're hearing from galleries how many visitors they're getting, and artists are having studio visits. We want that energy to be bringing L.A. to the fair and the energy of the fair to the city. The city's really come together." 

The global art fair, which launched in London in 2003 and expanded to New York in 2012, is open to ticketed visitors through Sunday.