FRIEZE FAIR FINEST: HIGHLIGHTS FROM FRIEZE LONDON

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With an organized queue that seemed properly British, the international art world descended upon the 13th edition of Frieze London yesterday for its first access preview. Just minutes before the doors were set to open, a vivacious energy could be felt in Regent’s Park.

Actor Benedict Cumberbatch and Dior creative director Raf Simons were among the well-heeled VIPs browsing artworks from over 160 galleries and 30 countries.

Below, we pluck the top 10 booths at this year’s edition of the art circus. 

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1. Hauser & Wirth
The blue chip gallery was able to take full advantage of its large booth with no dividing walls by devoting its space to the glory of sculpture. Appropriately, all works were displayed on white pedestals for a quasi-museum feel, featuring artists such as Paul McCarthyRichard Jackson, and Isa Genzken. An earnest quote from the late artist Ruth Asawa ran across the wall: “Sculpture is like farming, if you just keep at it, you can get quite a bit done.” 

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2. Galerie Buchholz
The prize for the largest art work goes to Galerie Buchholz. Mark Leckey‘s massive Felix the Cat balloon drew in gaggles of fairgoers. The iconic character was the first image to be broadcast on television and the artist likens it to a “magical figure” to which he has hoped “people will leave offerings.” With the Frieze crowd, these material offerings are unlikely, but #artselfies will definitely be taken in abundance. Other artists at the booth include a sculpture by Simon Denny and a painting by Lucy Mckenzie.

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3. Stuart Shave/Modern Art
Yngve Holen’s techno sculptures made from washing machines, plexiglass, and model airplanes play off Mark Flood‘s Rothko pixelated paintings, in which the artist literally took Googled Mark Rothko painting images and enlarged them. Both artists serve as a reminder that art doesn’t always have to take itself too seriously. Color and concept mixed with a punk attitude towards art here plays an important factor in making Modern Art’s stand a Frieze favorite–and the winner of this year’s Frieze Stand Prize. 

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4. Marian Goodman Gallery
Candy-colored bowl-shaped clay works by Adrian Villar Rojas, placed atop a large white platform so to be at eye-level, delight viewers at Marian Goodman. Following the color trend, Villar Rojas’ works were flanked by large pastel impasto on board works by Italian minimalist Ettore Spalletti. Grab them while they’re hot.

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5. Galerie Kamel Mennour
The Parisian-based gallery devoted their entire booth to French artist Camille Henrot, who is currently on a hot-streak of critical and institutional acclaim. The Matisse-like paintings depict waif figures in pastel green, blue, and pink that brings a serene atmosphere to the otherwise chaotic VIP opening. A large bronze sculpture took center stage at the booth. 

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6. The Approach
If London is cold and dreary then The Approach gallery’s strategy was to give fairgoers a punch of color. Gary Webb‘s mirrored palm tree and dynamic chair made from resin, steel, and plastic created a tropical atmosphere, Magali Reus’s floor “curb” sculpture anchored the locale, while Evren Tekinoktay‘s bright wall pieces complete with rotating mechanics and neon lights made us feel like we were prancing through Miami’s South Beach instead of braving the bitter cold. 

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7. Supportico Lopez
British artist Charlie Billingham‘s painting-cum-sculpture greets you at Berlin’s Supportico Lopez. The 19th century style painting combined with vibrant colors renders the traditional style in a purely decorative state, which is not an entirely bad thing. Across from it is a Christina Mackiework that is particularly eye catching. Three small cosmos are made from found materials; a coral-shaped sponge melts into a moss globe; a green glass bottle lives inside a plastic water cooler; and blue, green, and red cones are stacked together. Here, Mackie perfectly plays with both form and color.

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8. Murias Centeno
For the Lisbon gallery’s first year at Frieze London, the Brazilian artist Adriano Amaral created an incredibly harmonious installation made from industrial materials to allude to parts of the body. Silicone-filled water pouches represented flesh and blood, thin concrete sticks looked like ribs, and wires lain across the mirrored floor alluded to veins. In a curious twist, each work is being sold separately.

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9. Galerie Gregor Staiger
Zurich-based Galerie Gregor Staiger has a conceptually tight booth showing three female artists Shana Moulton, Lucy Stein, and Aloise Corbaz. A psycho-sexual theme ties all three artists together with two drawings by Corbaz, a deceased Swiss outsider artist committed to a mental institution for 50 years, Moulton’s massage bed and hospital folding screen with psychedelic prints, and Stein’s energetic paintings that she has called having “erotic potential.” If you’re looking for radical femininity, you’ll find it here.

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10. Carlos/ Ishikawa
A top 10 list wouldn’t be complete without a hat tip to the post-internet crew. Ed Fornieles‘s Instagram-famous fox character, his Amalia Ulman cat alterego, and a platypus avatar make an appearance at London’s Carlos/Ishikawa in the form of chopped up and bloodied stuffed dolls strewn across the floor of the booth. Simultaneously humorous and sad, Fornieles loves blending social media and pop culture references with different realities so we may see the nuances of living in world that consumes—and is consumed by—technology.