Frieze and 1:54 African Art Fair New York 2017 – round-up

Art Radar rounds up May’s edition of New York art fairs.

Two art fairs closed on Sunday 7 May 2017 in New York: Frieze and the third edition of 1:54 Contemporary African Art Fair. Art Radar picks a few highlights across both events.

1:54 New York 2016 © Katrina Sorrentino. Image courtesy 1:54 Contemporary Art Fair.

1:54 New York 2017. © Katrina Sorrentino. Image courtesy 1:54 Contemporary Art Fair.

Frieze New York

The sixth edition of Frieze New York closed on Sunday 7May, having brought together more than 200 leading galleries from 31 countries and driven exceptional sales and record collector attendance throughout the week. Galleries across the fair’s Main and specially curated sections – Spotlight and Frame – enjoyed strong sales throughout the event, placing artworks across all levels of the market with major private collections and international institutions.

A few galleries sold out entirely. United States artists shown at United States galleries did well throughout: Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects sold out of Andrea Bowers and Sadie Benning, with prices ranging between USD30,000 – USD50,000. New York’s David Zwirner also sold out of their works by American sculptor Carol Bove. Galeria Marilia Razuk, a first time exhibitor at Frieze New York, sold out their booth with works by Spanish artist Julia Plaza, a pioneer of the Mail Art circuit in Latin America.

Tala Madani, ‘Love Doctor’, 2015, (detail) oil on linen, 16 x 14 1/4 x 3/4 inches (40.6 x 36.2 x 1.9 cm). Image courtesy the artist.

Tala Madani, ‘Love Doctor’ (detail), 2015, oil on linen, 16 x 14 1/4 x 3/4 inches (40.6 x 36.2 x 1.9 cm). Image courtesy the artist.

A notable exception to the US sell out rule was Los Angeles-based dealer David Kordansky, who was showing works by artist Tala Madani priced between USD22,000 – USD110,000. The Iranian-American has been gaining increasing media and art world attention in the last five years for her provocative and humorous interventions into discourses on cultural and sexual identity. In her works prayer gatherings are twisted into homosexual orgies, birthday parties are targeted for terrorist attack, and tattoos and body hair plucking construed as the latest beauty makeovers. The booth was emptied of Kordansky’s collection of Madani’s works within the fair’s opening hours.

Anish Kapoo, ' Void' (1990). Image courtesy Lisson Gallery.

Anish Kapoor, ‘Void’, 1990. Image courtesy Lisson Gallery.

London’s Lisson Gallery sold the 1990 Anish Kapoor work Void, listed at GBP1.2 million. Talking in a press statement about the success of their fair participation this year, Alex Logsdail, International Director of Lisson Gallery (London, main), remarked:

We had a strong week at Frieze New York, with sustained sales and interest throughout the fair following a successful opening day with the sale of major works by Lee Ufan and Anish Kapoor. We’ve been pleased by the collector and curator response to the dialogue between these two artists’ works.

Lisson also sold more recent works by the British-Indian artist for USD450,000 and GBP600,000 (USD775,000), respectively, and three works by Korean Lee Ufan including Dialogue (2014), priced at USD275,000 and a new 2017 work listed at USD45,000. Antenna Space sold two works by Chinese artist Zhou Siwei at USD4,000. Jack Shainman Gallery had swift and steady sales in the opening hours of the VIP Preview Day at Frieze New York 2017. Sales highlights include a large-scale work by El Anatsui that sold for USD1.1 Million and a work on paper by Toyin Ojih Odutola for USD40,000.

Elisa Uematsu of Taka Ishii Gallery in Tokyo said:

We received a strong response from institutions and collectors, especially for the works of Takeo Yamaguchi, Yoshio Sekine, Kimiyo Mishima and Tomoo Gokita.

1:54 New York 2016 © Katrina Sorrentino

Aerial view of 1:54 New York 2017. © Katrina Sorrentino.

1:54 Contemporary African Art Fair

The third edition of 1:54 Contemporary African Art Fair (1:54) also closed on Sunday 7May 2017, with attendance of over 8,000 visitors. The 2017 New York edition of 1:54 welcomed 20 galleries from Angola, Côte d’Ivoire, France, Ghana, Italy, Kenya, Morocco, South Africa, the United Kingdom and the United States, collectively exhibiting the work of more than 60 artists.

Artists including Ibrahim El-Salahi, William Kentridge, Malick Sidibé and Billie Zangewa were exhibited alongside a roster of promising young artists such as Derrick Adams Cheikh Ndiaye, Serge Attukwei Clottey, Boris Nzebo, Lebohang Kganye and Mohau Modisakeng. Ten of the galleries were new to the fair this year, further broadening and diversifying the mix of unique artworks on view to the public.

Malick Sidibé, Danseur Méringué, 1964, © Malick Sidibé, Courtesy Galerie MAGNIN-A, Paris

Malick Sidibé, ‘Danseur Méringué’, 1964. © Malick Sidibé. Image courtesy Galerie MAGNIN-A, Paris.

1:54 also hosted the largest lineup of special projects since its inaugural edition, including a collaboration with Red Hook Labs and MAGNIN-A, Paris, who presented a solo exhibition of the late Malian photographer Malick Sidibé in celebration of his iconic career beginning in 1950s Bamako, Mali. Sidibé is acclaimed for his black-and-white images chronicling the lives and culture of the Malian capital, in the wake of the country’s independence.

A public programme of talks and interventions entitled “1:54 FORUM” focused on radical imperatives underlining African and African-American artistry today. Dakar-based curator Koyo Kouoh has curated 1:54 FORUM since the fair’s inception in both London (2013) and New York (2015). Of the programme, Koyo Kouoh said:

This edition of FORUM examined how strategies of resistance take shape and how a language capable of fighting back against a matrix of oppression can develop out of them; a language which rekindles the dignity and compassion of those who advocated and resisted before us; one capable of articulating a diverse set of voices and celebrating the differences between them.

1:54 FORUM 2016 (pictured left to right): ruby onyinyechi amanze (artist) and Dexter Wimberly (independent curator) © Katrina Sorrentino. Image courtesy I:54.

1:54 FORUM 2016. From left to right: Artist ruby onyinyechi amanze and Independent Curator Dexter Wimberly. © Katrina Sorrentino. Image courtesy 1:54.

The artists involved were Derrick Adams, Sadie Barnette, Charles Gaines, Malik Gaines and Alexandro Segade (two-thirds of the collective My Barbarian), Marcia Kure, Odili Donald Odita, Adam Pendleton, Sondra Perry and Tschabalala Self. 1:54 were unable to disclose sale information for the fair, although various galleries asserted positive results. For example, Vigo Gallery’s Toby Clarke stated:

We had strong sales from the start, and we were really impressed by the caliber of museum representatives who visited the fair.

Johannesburg-based Afronova’s directors Henri Vergon and Emilie Demon stated:

This fair is incredible—it is our favorite one, and we do all of the major fairs. The mix of professionalism and reciprocity between the clients and the fair is extremely high at 1:54, and the intellectual and financial rewards are amazing. The level of contacts that we can make here with institutions, collectors and new clients is top quality. The size of the fair is also perfect, as it allows us to really talk to the public and collectors. The fair is impressively organized, and it consistently demonstrates high levels of expertise.

Rebecca Close

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Related topics: Art fairs, African artists, market watch, round-up, events in New York

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