Frieze Los Angeles is a leading international art fair that honors LA’s place in the global contemporary art landscape. Having launched with a sold-out inaugural edition in 2019 and cemented this success the following year, it skipped 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic. But on February 17-20 the event returns bigger and bolder, featuring more than 100 local and international galleries.
Here are 10 things not to miss at Frieze Los Angeles 2022:
1. “The Tent” by Kulapat Yantrasast
Even Frieze Los Angeles’ location is art. Once again, a bespoke structure was commissioned to house the galleries, this year appropriately located between two Beverly Hills cultural landmarks: the Hammer Museum and the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts. Designed by L.A. architect Kulapat Yantrasast, creative director of WHY Architecture, and the firm’s landscape director Mark Thomann, this “tent” is a statement in itself. Bangkok-born Yantrasast is renowned as a leading architect for the art world, with notable designs including the Metropolitan Museum of Art AAOA Galleries in New York, Grand Rapids Art Museum, and the Perm Tchaikovsky Opera and Ballet Theatre, in Russia.
2. 100 Galleries Within Walking Distance
A one-stop celebration of the city’s creative spirit, Frieze Los Angeles brings more than 100 of the world’s leading art galleries together, all within walking distance. Its focused selection of major galleries from across the globe includes LA-based exhibitors representing the best of the local scene: Blum & Poe, The Box, Château Shatto, Commonwealth and Council, Jeffrey Deitch, Kayne Griffin, David Kordansky Gallery, Regen Projects, and Various Small Fires. Among first-time participants are Bortolami, Carlos/Ishikawa, Pilar Corrias, Emalin, Stephen Friedman Gallery, Alison Jacques, Jenkins Johnson Gallery, Sean Kelly, and Galerie Lelong & Co. Leading international names and returning exhibitors include Sadie Coles HQ, Paula Cooper, Gagosian, Gladstone, Marian Goodman, Hauser & Wirth, Xavier Hufkens, Gallery Hyundai, Pace Gallery, Maureen Paley, Almine Rech, Nara Roesler, Thaddaeus Ropac, Sprüth Magers, and David Zwirner.
3. Betye Saar Mural
In 1983, local artist Betye Saar was commissioned to create a large-scale public art initiative for the city of Los Angeles. The resulting work, LA Energy was a vibrant mural prominently located on 5th Street in DTLA. Four years later, it was destroyed to make way for new construction, but Roberts Projects will be recreating the monumental work for Frieze Los Angeles. “The colors and shapes of the original mural were intended to showcase the vitality and spirit of the city of LA and my hope is that this iteration, 39 years later, will bring that same feeling of joy and energy,” said Saar. Roberts Projects will also be presenting gallery artists engaged with themes of inclusivity and diversity including Amoako Boafo, Dominic Chambers, Daniel Crews-Chubb, Ruth Ige, Kehinde Wiley, Alexander Diop, and Brenna Youngblood.
4. BIPOC Exchange
LA-based artist Tanya Aguiñiga has organized a section of Frieze dedicated to ten local, BIPOC-led non-profits. Occupying an auxiliary tent erected in the Beverly Hilton’s Wilshire Garden, across the street from the main fair, BIPOC Exchange comprises a series of workshops, events, and performances from artist-led social impact projects. The only part of Frieze that’s free and accessible to the public, it includes The People's Pottery Project, which employs formerly incarcerated women, trans and non-binary individuals in its collective non-profit ceramic business; Los Angeles Poverty Department, a performance group made up principally of homeless people; and Tierra del Sol Gallery, which empowers people with developmental disabilities through careers in the arts.
5. Focus LA by Amanda Hunt
Focus LA is Frieze’s selection of emerging local galleries aged 15 years or less. Curated by Amanda Hunt, Director of Public Programs & Creative Practice at LA’s Lucas Museum of Narrative Art, it highlights 11 up-and-coming artistic spaces that support innovative artists and collaborative projects. Works displayed reflect Los Angeles’ historical significance and cultural identity, including creations in unconventional mediums and experimental materials, from ceramics and design to performance and photography. First-time participants include Baert Gallery, Garden, Gattopardo, Luis De Jesus Los Angeles, Marta, In Lieu, Stanleys, and Stars. Don't miss Patrick Martinez at Charlie James Gallery.
6. Frieze Impact Prize
Launched in partnership with the Art for Justice Fund and Endeavor Impact, the Frieze Impact Prize recognizes artists contributing to the movement to end mass incarceration in the U.S. and those directly impacted by the system. It seeks to expose the inequitable aspects of the criminal legal system and challenge its racial bias. Applications are open to U.S.-based visual artists, regardless of citizenship status, felony convictions, or formal training in art, with special consideration given to justice-involved artists. The winners of the inaugural Frieze Impact Prize were Mary Baxter, Maria Gaspar, and Dread Scott. Each received $25,000 and will present iterations of their winning works at Frieze Los Angeles.
7. NFTs: Leo Villareal
Leo Villareal has long used software to drive physical light sculptures. His debut born-digital series, Cosmic Reef, sold out within two hours of its debut on the Art Blocks platform in January. The Cosmic Reef NFTs embrace unique combinations of geometry, light, color, and composition to explore beauty and randomness in the natural world. Their layered geometries are the result from both human control and computational chance. “A particular order can be found … in all living things, including ourselves – a unified code that produces variation,” he said. In collaboration with Art Blocks, Pace Gallery will present work from Cosmic Reef at Frieze Los Angeles.
8. Maison Ruinart and Bisquit & Dubouché Commissions
Frieze Los Angeles’ drinks partners – Maison Ruinart champagne and Bisquit & Dubouché cognac, Maestro Dobel tequila, Perrier, and illy – each have dedicated spaces at the event. Maison Ruinart and Bisquit & Dubouché will both be presenting new artist commissions. Drawing inspiration from Bisquit & Dubouché’s unconventional cognac-making approach, Jillian Mayer will premiere Glass Room, an immersive installation exploring glass as an amorphous and transformative material. Maison Ruinart named eco-activist Suzanne Husky as the artist selected for the third R.U.in.ART commission, with her participatory installation Dam Beaverly Hills! This immersive experience spotlights the how beavers could, once again, play an integral role preserving Californian’s landscape.
9. NeueHouse Creative Collisions
As the official cultural hub for Frieze Los Angeles, collaborative workspace provider NeueHouse is hosting a week of gatherings and events at its Hollywood and Bradbury DTLA venues featuring some of the most culturally relevant conversations happening in the art world today. This year’s theme, “Art&,” reflects the belief that the collision of creative disciplines drives “the new.” From film premieres and live music to panels with fine artists and NFT natives, NeueHouse offers encounters and experiences with the creators, innovators, and thinkers who are shaping culture and pushing it forward. Full details of NeueHouse’s Frieze Week conversations, screenings, installations, workshops, and more here.
10. Frieze Week Programming
As well as the fair itself, Frieze Los Angeles offers a variety of exhibitions and events running concurrently across the city. Frieze Week has been expanded this year to encompass broad programming at galleries, museums, civic organizations, and other artist-driven spaces showcasing and celebrating the diverse communities that comprise L.A.’s famously dynamic art landscape. Please visit ‘Black American Portraits’ at LACMA; ‘Pipilotti Rist: Big Heartedness, Be My Neighbor’ at MOCA; ‘LaToya Ruby Frazier: The Last Cruze’ at California African American Museum; and ‘Lifes’ and ‘Ulysses Jenkins: Without Your Interpretation’ at the Hammer Museum. Felix LA Art Fair, at the Roosevelt Hotel, returns to a full edition for the first time since the start of the pandemic, comprising 60 international exhibitors.