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Frieze Art Fair – New York 2016

Art Scene

Frieze Art Fair – New York 2016

New York’s iteration of the international art fair Frieze is a bit of an adventure. Located on Randall’s Island in New York City since its inception five years ago, its airy light filled structure houses around 200 galleries from 31 countries in early May each year and overlooks the East River.


Getting there is half the battle, but well worth it. Ferries and buses transport fairgoers from the east side of Manhattan for 20-30 minute journeys on what one could think of as a mini-vacation. Upon arrival, Randall’s Island welcomes visitors into a lush green landscape, an invigorating compliment to the potpourri of contemporary art inside the fair’s exhibition space. To really enjoy the fair, setting aside several hours with plans for lunch at one of the fair’s outdoor eateries along the river is a must.


From video, sculpture, assemblage and photography to sound art, installation, weaving and ceramics, the variety of work on view is more often than not, both exciting and satisfying.


Jos de Gruyter and Harald Thys’ work for Gavin Brown’s Enterprise entitled, “I Piccoli Pupazzi Sporchi di Pruppà (The Small Dirty Puppets from Pruppa),” 2015, featured over 50 small handmade figures on wall pedestals in a humorously enticing installation. Each figurines mannerisms, poses and fashion styling coalesced to create unique personalities in what felt like familiar characters from daily life in a myriad of places.


Theaster Gates’ work, Ground Rules (black line) 2015, on view in a vast open area of the fair where various pathways intersect, constitutes a re-organization of wood planks from gym floors into a large-scale minimalist rectangular wall sculpture. The work echoes Gates’ conceptual concerns with race, history and urban renewal, most vividly on display on the south side of Chicago where he has re-habilitated dilapidated buildings into community centers, archives, libraries and more for local residents.


Photographer: Anders Jones