Arts

Sun and sales on the best coast: LAs second edition of Frieze firms up the citys art market potential

Fair visitors chat outside of Thaddaeus Ropac's booth at the second edition of Frieze LA. © David Owens

“Do you think you could live here?” It is a question repeatedly heard asked in Los Angeles for the second West Coast edition of Frieze Art Fair, always by a New York- or London-based dealer, adviser, curator, etc. It is no secret that the siren call of California sun in mid-February has anyone working in cooler climes reconsidering their life choices. But underlying the seemingly innocuous question at this years Frieze is a much larger one: does LA have what it takes to become the art trades next big hub?

The star-studded first edition of the fair last year was deemed a success, but whether the Endeavor entertainment agency-backed fair could pull it off again has been preying on the minds of many. Speedy sales during Friezes VIP day on Thursday, however, certainly seem to suggest there was little cause for worry: there is plenty of spending power and collector grace in the City of Angels.

In the opening hours of the fair, Pace Gallery and Kayne Griffin Corcoran sold four works from James Turrells recent Glass series from their joint booth devoted to the Pasadena-born artist, who has been embraced by the public and celebrities alike since his 2014 retrospective at LACMA. Most of the works reportedly went to local collectors, including Kardashian royalty—Kendall Jenner was among those picking up work by the Light and Space artist.

Hauser & Wirth sold all five of Avery Singer's new works, priced from $85,000 to $495,000, after recently announcing its representation of the artist. David Zwirners sales topped $8m during the first day with Neo Rauch's $2m Aprilnacht (2011); five paintings by Lisa Yuskavage, each priced between $120,000 and $1m; and two works by Carol Bove for $500,000. Early on at Thaddaeus Ropacs booth, Robert Rauschenbergs Bowery Parade (Borealis) (1989) sold for $1.3m.

At Lissons stand, a gold mirrored Anish Kapoor work sold for $700,000 and Allora & Calzadillas Electromagnetic Field (2019) went for $145,000. Lehmann Maupin reported that a number of works by Lee Bul, Liu Wei and Liza Lou sold, including a major work by LA-based Lou named Shelter from the Storm to a US collector for $275,000.

Local galleries cleaned up as well. Various Small Fires solo booth dedicated to Calinda Rawles, whose dreamy yet photorealistic pool paintings are also on view at the gallerys space in Hollywood, sold out within a couple of hours. Priced between $14,000 and $30,000 each, the gallerys co-founder Esther Kim Varet says she was surprised by the rapid-fire pace of sales. “It kind of feels like the next Miami—which has felt kind of stale to me over the past couple of years,” she says.

Next door at Chateau Shattos booth, co-founder Olivia Barret says its works by Aria Dean and Helen Johnson had sold by the afternoon. All priced at $9,000, Deans work will be included in in the upcoming Made in LA biennial opening at the Hammer Museum in May. Johnsons smaller paintings sold for $15,000 while Basic Needs (2020), the largest and the centrepiece of the booth, sold for $75,000. “Frieze LA is kind of condensed, its manageable,” Barret says, noting the fairs cap at roughly 70 exhibitors makes it easier to close sales.

At Felix, the homegrown hotel fair launched last year in response to Frieze by the LA dealer Al Moran and collector Dean Valentine, exhibitor numbers swelled by 50% for the second edition bringing its participant count close to Friezes. More was evidently better: the London gallery Alison Jacques sold $1.3m worth of work during the VIP day, also on Thursday—a sizeable sum for any satellite fair presentation, suggesting that Felix has plenty of its own gravity. Among the works sold at Jacquess stand was a number of works by Sheila Hicks, including a new installation, Amathyst Forest (2020), priced at $550,000, a woven panel for $135,000 and a series of new Comet sculptures for$90,000 each. The gallery also sold works on paper by Hannah Wilke ranging fromRead More – Source