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Gagosian

We Went to Frieze, Part One: Seagull Poop, People Poop, and Demon Poop

by Paddy Johnson and Michael Anthony Farley on May 4, 2017
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Every year Frieze installs a massive tent on Randall’s Island and lures jetsetters from across the globe to its contemporary art fair. This year, the fair expanded its usual roster of contemporary art galleries to include a few secondary market stalwarts as well. Newcomers to the fair included Bernard Jacobson Gallery, Castelli Gallery, and Axel Vervoordt and Eykyn Maclean.

That’s not a huge change in the landscape of the fair, but notably the fair’s director, Victoria Siddall, told the Art Newspaper recently that there was a significant uptick in applications from galleries in this market. Is Frieze grooming the New York market for an edition of their London-based Frieze Masters (a fair focused on secondary market art works)? Only time will tell.

Meanwhile, Frieze New York is much better than usual. Art fair standards that drag these events down—geometric abstraction, process based abstraction, and assembly line art works by A-list artists—were few and far between. Overall, the work on view seemed unusually fresh and thoughtful. Neither are words we normally use to describe art fair art, let alone that at Frieze.

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On Zona MACO: How to Excel at Being an Average Art Fair

by Michael Anthony Farley on February 11, 2016
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Last week, I visited Mexico City’s Zona MACO (México Arte Contemporaneo), Latin America’s largest art fair. This was on the heels of our visit to Material, a satellite fair that impressed Paddy and me beyond our expectations. Walking into MACO felt just like visiting the most art fair-y of art fairs by comparison—which is to say, the immediate experience was predictable. There were long convention center lines, groups of “fresas” queuing up to take selfies in reflective sculptures, and familiar overexposed blue-chip names such as Alex Katz and Richard Prince. (“Fresas” is Mexican slang for “yuppies”, literally translating to “strawberries”.) MACO devoted a good chunk of floor space to design wares—from furniture to high-end sunglasses. I wasn’t immediately inspired to lend the event much thought beyond snapping some photos. With a few days of reflection, I realize Zona MACO is noteworthy for its extremes. And that’s not just the quality or quantity of blatantly commercial crap. For all the lackluster blue chip staples on the floor, I also saw an impressive amount of well-curated project booths that smartly positioned emerging artists and galleries in dialogue with the establishment. These two poles served a useful purpose: they lay bare how contemporary art fairs function. Zona MACO is the best model I can think of to demonstrate how for-profit fairs must work to remain both commercially viable and discursively relevant. For better or for worse, MACO excels at both.

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This Week’s Must-See Art Events: The Creative Time Summit, Juliana Huxtable, and Cyborg Squirrels

by Paddy Johnson and Michael Anthony Farley on November 9, 2015
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This weekend, everyone will be (or should be) attending The Creative Time Summit in Bed-Stuy. Leading up to the all-day events this weekend, however, are a handful of promising openings. Monday, check out massive, rarely-seen works from abstract painter Friedal Dzubas in Midtown. Thursday, a Jeff Koons show at Gagosian attempts some metaphysical alchemy, and Friday morning, Juliana Huxtable’s new MoMA commission opens. Friday night we couldn’t be more excited for solo shows by Alex Ebstein and Meriem Bennani at Cuevas Tilleard Projects and SIGNAL, respectively.

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Can Democratic Art Fairs Succeed?

by Paddy Johnson on November 11, 2014
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It’s been a good week for art. Between the EAB Fair launch and The Independent Fair, there was more conversation to be had about the quality of art itself than the money people were paying for it. That had to do not just with the quality of work on view, but the community that created it.

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