Frieze New York 2021: 15 featured works to check out at the fair

With almost 40% from the state of NY vaccinated, the fair takes place in person but does not give a truce for security measures against the pandemic

Estimated reading time: 9 minutes

Frieze New York 2021 is the first major art fair of international significance that happens physically since the start of the pandemic. From May 5th to 9th, it takes place at The Shed, a large cultural center located in Manhattan. About 40% of the population of the state of New York is already fully immunized with the vaccine against Covid-19 and cases have decreased by 41% in the last week. With greater confidence in the fight against the virus, the city of New York is gradually returning to “normal” and this is one of the reasons why tickets to visit the fair have sold out so quickly.

The organization of the fair, however, did not loosen the security measures! There is little care, as mutations of the virus can occur. Last week, even, the first infection in the city by the Brazilian variant was identified… Therefore, it was necessary to fulfill several requirements to be able to act as an exhibitor in the space and it is also necessary to follow the protocols to visit the stands. The choice to carry out the Frieze at The Shed is also due to the fact that it has a sophisticated modern ventilation system, which includes Merv-16 filtering and a technology that causes the room air to be changed at least once every hour. To enter the fair, you must present your ticket together with a complete vaccination certificate or proof of a negative PCR test (counting 72 hours before) and a rapid antigen test (24 hours before).

There are more than 60 highly relevant galleries participating in the face-to-face fair, most of them from around New York. Two of them are Brazilian, but which also have their headquarters in the largest metropolis in the USA, Mendes Wood DM and Galeria Nara Roesler. But those who didn't have their stand in person or who didn't get a ticket won't be left empty-handed, because the virtual viewing platform “Frieze Viewing Room” It's available and in full swing! It is the third edition of this online version of the fair, in which 100 galleries from six continents are participating, including the Brazilian ones Kogan Amaro, Fortes D'Aloia & Gabriel, Almeida and Dale + Marília Razuk and Luisa Strina. In addition to a greater number of participating galleries, the fair in digital format will also have more time, remaining on the air until May 14th. The online platform also welcomes galleries that are participating in the in-person fair.

Below, check out a selection of works that are on the booths of the galleries at the fair set up at The Shed and also works that can be accessed in the viewing room!

Lisa Corinne Davis, CONCLUSIVE CONCOCTION, 2021
At the Jenkins Johnson Gallery booth

CONCLUSIVE CONCOCTION 56 x 46 inches, oil on panel, 202
Lisa Corinne Davis, CONCLUSIVE CONCOCTION, 2021

With a very substantial group of artists, the gallery sought to bring to the fair works by artists who work with social and political issues of the diaspora through an encounter between the past and the present. One of them is Lisa Corinne Davis, who uses abstraction as a means to investigate the interiority of concepts such as race, culture and history. His production involves the idea that nothing is concrete, but rather a “subjective construction of culture, prejudices, assumptions and personal predispositions”.

LYNDA BENGLIS, Sb#1, 2017
At the Mendes Wood DM stand.

The Brazilian gallery based in New York and Brussels showcases the work of Louisiana-born American artist Lynda Benglis. The artist's collection of works “reflects the freedom of materials that assume their form almost independently of the artist's agency, the possibilities inherent in the transformation of matter and the human need to question the unknown. With his celebrated “spills”, Benglis creates a method of sculpture that follows the process of painting while challenging accepted notions of perspective. Benglis incited political, aesthetic, and philosophical experiences throughout his practices, including in his experimental films that explore gender and sexuality.

Krystle Lemonias, My man can eat eeh; go put dis in the gahbage, 2021
At the Andrew Rafacz online booth

The Jamaican-born young artist creates portraits of people in black immigrant communities who have contributed greatly to America's cultural diversity and workforce despite the systemic inequalities they face. Her tapestry-like works, combining collage, sewing and printmaking, explore these women's work as domestic workers who play an integral role in the function of our society. Through her practice, Lemonias addresses social complexities with regard to class, citizenship, economic inequality, commodification and labor rights. By incorporating into the work baby clothes used by the children Lemonias' mother takes care of, the artist communicates the untold stories of her mother's experiences as a nanny.

Vanderlei Lopes, There is no wall for capital, 2019
At the Almeida and Dale/Marilia Razuk online stand

The Brazilians Galeria Almeida e Dale and Galeria Marilia Razuk participate together in the online viewing room of Frieze New York 2021. With a project entitled Poéticas Para Adiar o Fim do Mundo, with productions by artists who stood out in the second half of the 20th century: Anna Maria Maiolino, José Leonilson, Eleonore Koch, Johanna Calle, Maria Laet, Vanderlei Lopes and Mariana Serri. Highlight for this iconic work by Vanderlei Lopes, in which “the heavy newspapers made in bronze, painted in gouache, have the light and trivial appearance of a pile of newspapers. The different languages, images and texts used emphasize, rub and shuffle the ephemeral flow that builds everyday life and history”.

GENERAL IDEA, W/H, 1976
At Esther Schipper's online booth

It is essential to get to know the universe of General Idea at this special stand that the German gallery Esther Schipper prepared in partnership with Mitchell-Innes & Nash. The project S/HE, which the Canadian collective created in 1976, is one of the highlights of the space. Playing with gender, the two groups of five black and white photographs show two models, one male and one female, both professional models from General Idea's circle of friends. Each model illustrates five roles that are generally attributed to either male or female.

Alexis Peskine, high love, 2019
At October Gallery's online booth

Alexis Peskine's works in October Gallery's viewing room are undeniably impressive. Alto Amor is just one of them, but they all deserve to be highlighted here. The artist is the son of a Brazilian and a Russian, he was born in Paris and studied in the USA. The works for which the artist is known are large-scale mixed media portraits of the African diaspora, which are reproduced by hammering nails, quite precisely, into wood stained with natural materials such as annatto, coffee, mud and hibiscus.

Gabriel Borba, We, 1977.
At the PM8 stand / Francisco Salas

The Spanish gallery PM8 / Francisco Salas pays homage to the Brazilian artist Gabriel Borba, with historical works by the artist in its virtual booth. the installation We it was presented for the first time at Espaço B, at the invitation of Walter Zanini, as part of a new project for what was a new area within the Museum of Contemporary Art of the University of São Paulo (MAC-USP). Espaço B was a space dedicated to experimental proposals and less conventional projects.

Dana Schutiz, The Expressionist, 2021
At the David Zwirner booth

This sculpture by Dana Schutz may be almost imperceptible among the artist's large-scale canvases that David Zwirner displays in its booth, but it deserves your attention. In a solo show by the artist, the gallery features sculptures and a set of paintings designed especially for Frieze, which portray various figures navigating post-calamitous situations and expand on Schutz's unique and radically creative approach to subject matter and painting.

Rafaella Braga, Description, 2020
At the virtual stand of Galeria Kogan Amaro

Galeria Kogan Amaro presents a solo stand by Rafaella Braga, a Brazilian artist currently based in Berlin. She uses the screen as a kind of diary and develops her practice using the body as raw material and promoting investigations about the self outlined by its vulnerabilities and secrets. In addition, his work also encompasses research that considers the interaction between reality and fantasy, identity and time, offering a dreamlike alternative to reality.

Antony Gormley, September V, 2019
At the Sean Kelly Gallery booth

Sean Kelly Gallery shows at Frieze a rather dynamic selection that includes paintings, sculptures, photographs and works on paper. A highlight is this sculpture by the British artist Antony Gormley, who since the 1960s has supported his research and creation by considering his own body and that of others in a way that confronts fundamental questions of where human beings are in relation to nature and the cosmos. . This work from the GRIDWORK series exemplifies how he seeks to explore the power of changing scale and investigates the human body's relationship with space.

Cristina Canale, Landscape, 2020
At Galeria Nara Roesler's stand


The Brazilian house takes to its stand a conversation between works by Cristina Canale, Carlito Carvalhosa and Amelia Toledo, considering how their productions are related to “frontality and the self”, a notion brought by a statement by Leon Battista Alberti that points to the myth of Narcissus. In his theory, Narcissus would have conceived the painting when he tried to reach his image reflected in the water. In this way, recent works by Canale are on display, in which the artist uses figurative elements that are heading towards a dissolution in abstraction, which are a selection of works of faceless figures.

Mungo Thomson, October 3 – October 12, 2020 (Ruth Bader Ginsburg 1933–2020), 2020
At the KARMA booth.

The most “instagrammable” work of this edition could not be missing, could it? It's basically an invite to a mirror selfie that will land you on the cover of TIME magazine. And Instagram is already full of them just counting the first day of the fair! The work is part of one of the best-known series by the artist Mungo Thomson. It is certainly an invitation to the selfie, calling the public to experience what it would be like to be portrayed on the cover of one of the most important magazines in the world. The work on display dates back to the cover that was published in honor of Judge Ruth Bader Ginsburg (RBG) in October last year.

Johanna Unzueta, Two Of Us II, 2019
At Proyectos Ultravioleta's online stand

For the Frieze Online Viewing Room, the Guatemalan gallery is betting on works by artists Hellen Ascoli, Johanna Unzueta and Elisabeth Wild. These works focus on their ability to transcend their materials to evoke profound and honest works, which in turn become one-of-a-kind gateways to the spiritual. Among them are two works by Unzueta, a Chilean artist, which are part of the series The Two Of Us. The artist uses felt, fabric, and wood to create installations and sculptures that question work and its technological, historical, and social impacts on the human condition.

diambe, Back, 2020.
At the online stand of Fortes D'Aloia & Gabriel.

With Unnameable, Fortes D'Aloia & Gabriel takes a selection of works in different formats and platforms to Frieze. They all portray, in a way, the zeitgeist, considering issues of colonialism, violence, religion, censorship, and the portrayal, through art, of the ways of Brazilian society. Highlight for the series video Back, by the artist Diambe, in which he uses an expanded concept of choreography to provide a legal basis for interventions around the city. The video and photography record the choreography around a wheel of fire made around the statue of D. Pedro I, at Praça Tiradentes, in Rio de Janeiro. The action awakens several layers and challenges colonial histories.

Alexandre da Cunha, Not a pipe, not a pipe, not a pipe… I, 2019

The “Objet Trouvé” is central to Alexandre da Cunha's strategy of altering found objects, such as cans, bottles, brushes and pipes, and animating them with a sexual energy, staging them as pleasant deviants. Da Cunha's works have been described as “Prontas Tropicais”, overflowing with trapped desire in exotic and aesthetic forms, often imitating modernist sculptures. In case of Not a pipe, not a pipe, not a pipe… I, the artist makes reference not only to La Trahison des Images de Magritte, but also to the Dadaist practice of semantic wordplay.

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