New curated sections, pioneering performance art, Black activism: key themes from next week’s fair selected by the Financial Times
The Financial Times Collecting supplement features an editorial take on some of the key themes of Frieze New York 2018. Check back through the week for a digest of coverage of the fair from the Financial Times.
Celebrating Art Pioneers
A two page article by Julie Belcove - ‘Frieze New York pays tribute to art dealer Hudson’ - looks at the unique story behind For Your Infotainment/Hudson and Feature Inc., the first ever theme section at Frieze New York, which is curated by Matthew Higgs and includes seven solo booths, a dual-artist presentation and a ‘a non selling exhibition featuring 15 artists, among them B Wurtz, Lily van der Stokker, Kay Rosen, Lisa Beck and Nancy Shaver’:
“An art fair seemed an unusually interesting context to celebrate an art dealer, since an art fair is really 200 art dealers and their respective ideas,” says Matthew Higgs, who curated the section. “Just as you have the figure of the artists’ artist, Hudson was like an art dealers’ art dealer. I was concerned that people would forget his contributions. This was an opportunity to remind people that art doesn’t appear out of nowhere […] he created this context for all kinds of maverick, iconoclastic, idiosyncratic artists who might otherwise have remained [professionally] homeless.”
A Legacy of Innovation
In ‘A new Live programme for Frieze New York’, Julie Belcove previews ASSEMBLY, the Adrienne Edwards-curated section for galleries to ‘present performance-, sound- and time-based installation work that addresses “significant issues” of the contemporary world’. Highlighting artists in the program including Lara Schnitger, Alfredo Jaar, Adam Pendleton, Renée Green and Raúl de Nieves and Erik Zajaceskowski and notes the part Frieze Art Fairs have played in the wider embrace and visibility of live art:
In 2004, Tate acquired its first performance work, from Frieze London, and the following year saw the creation of New York’s first performance biennial, Performa, by the curator RoseLee Goldberg. […] But it was only a few years ago that performance art started to turn up in gallery booths at fairs with any regularity. Until then, it was seen as the preserve of curated programmes, and how — and indeed, why — anyone might buy a performance still seemed obscure. The Frieze fairs have played a keen role in changing this perception and, for the past few years, the London fair has seen time-based work both in booths and in its special Live section. This year, Frieze New York offers a Live programme for the first time.
A Crucible for Current Issues
Tate Modern’s Zoe Whiteley, co-curator of ‘Soul of a Nation’, argues for Black artists’ ‘self help’ efforts in ‘Black art: ‘Do-it-yourself, do-it-right-now’. The curator descibes the two aspects of this current approach as ‘asserting one’s presence, and the presence of others’ and ‘ensuring that the “black experience” isn’t presented as an un-nuanced monolith, unattuned to the specificities of place, gender or even nationality.’ Whiteley cites Hank Willis Thomas’s new work made of starlit banners premiering in Frieze New York’s Live section, the strong presence of work by Betye Saar at the fair, and author Kaitlin Greenidge’s appearance on May 5th in Frieze Talks, as evidence for ‘the consistency with which artists are using their hard-won renown to initiate inroads for others.’
Frieze New York 2018 runs May 3-6.