Exterior view of Frieze Los Angeles, 2023. Photo by James Jackman. Courtesy of Frieze.
Returning to the City of Angels for its fourth edition, Frieze Los Angeles features 120 galleries from 22 countries around the world. Situated at its new location at the Santa Monica Airport, the sprawling art fair occupies two large structures, which were relatedly built for international travel.
Led by Christine Messineo, Frieze’s director of Americas, and designed by Kulapat Yantrasast’s WHY studio, the celebrated art fair opened to an immense crowd of collectors, curators, critics, and artists, who journeyed to see work by an international mix of emerging and established talents.
Los Angeles is bursting with art world activities this year. “There’s so much excitement about the fair,” Christine Messineo told Artsy. “Institutions, galleries, and collectors are throwing parties and dinners and holding events surrounding Frieze Week, which has grown exponentially compared to last year. We have 30% more exhibitors; we’ve doubled the emerging Focus section, for galleries under 12 years of age; and with the new site, we have space for public projects. Everyone in L.A. seems ready to activate and energize.”
With a gallery scene that’s among the fastest growing in the world, Los Angeles is the place to be, and Frieze L.A. arrives here at exactly the right time. Here are 10 standout booths from Frieze Los Angeles 2023.
With works by Ed and Nancy Kienholz
Ed and Nancy Kienholz, The Potlatch, 1988. Courtesy of the artists and L.A. Louver.
In one of the first booths visitors encounter when entering Frieze L.A.’s West Site (Barker Hangar) location, L.A. Louver is presenting “American Exceptionalism,” an outstanding overview of works by Ed and Nancy Kienholz. Focused on the couple’s collaborations, the survey also features an early 1961 assemblage, It Takes Two to Integrate (Cha Cha Cha)—commenting on civil rights in America—by Ed Kienholz, who began his career in L.A. in 1952. It also features socially engaging, lenticular-screen images by Nancy Reddin Kienholz, who got her start as a photographer.
Two major highlights are the powerful 1988 assemblage Potlatch, which comments on the mistreatment of Native Americans at the hands of the U.S. government with a life-size ceremonial set, complete with items they got from an actual potlatch they attended; and 1991’s My Country ’Tis of Thee, an assemblage that points out the self-serving interests of politicians.
With works by Jane Margarette
Jane Margarette, installation view in Anat Ebgi’s booth at Frieze Los Angeles, 2023. Courtesy of Anat Ebgi.
Spotlighting the sensational sculptures of Filipino American artist Jane Margarette in the Focus section at Barker Hangar, Anat Ebgi’s show-stopping presentation of ceramic works explores issues of strength, protection, sensuality, and captivity. Receiving her BFA in ceramics at California State University Long Beach in 2016 and an MFA from UCLA in 2020, the talented artist combines hand-crafted ceramic elements to create large-scale assemblages that poetically reference the fragility of nature, as well as the materials she expertly employs.
The centerpiece of the booth is Everyone Became Ahngst (2023), a giant butterfly with grafted wings that are secured and imprisoned with locks and chains. Two additional butterfly pieces, which are skillfully slab-constructed and strikingly glazed, dangle the delicate creatures over open bear traps, while a fourth and final piece in the booth depicts an oversize combination lock and clasp, which ironically belies the breakable materials that so marvelously complete its illusion.
With works by Greg Breda
Greg Breda, installation view in Patron’s booth at Frieze Los Angeles, 2023. Courtesy of Patron.
Self-taught artist Greg Breda was an actor until the age of 40, when he taught himself to paint—fulfilling a lifelong dream to become a visual artist. Born and raised in Los Angeles, Breda paints on vellum and a silklike mesh, which have the ability to absorb the paint and reflect light. Creating composite portraits drawn from mediated images found online and in print sources, the painter, now 64, constructs the figures in a sculptural way, mixing lifelike body parts with expressive brushwork.
His six powerful paintings at the fair, which were quickly purchased at the gallery’s Focus booth by the earliest VIP visitors, portray subjects posing introspectively—longingly lost in their own thoughts. Stylishly clad and colorfully surrounded by nature or caught in interior settings, Breda’s African American subjects radiate from within while representing reality with sensitive strength.
With works by Guimi You and Shana Hoehn
Installation view of Make Room’s booth at Frieze Los Angeles, 2023. Photo by Casey Kelbaugh. Courtesy of Casey Kelbaugh and Frieze.
Presenting a two-person show in its Focus booth, Make Room has poetically paired landscape paintings by Korean artist Guimi You with symbolic sculptures by Los Angeles–based artist Shana Hoehn.
Born and based in Seoul, You studied at the Royal College of Art in London, and lived and worked in New York and Los Angeles before recently returning to Korea. Her saturated paintings have the look of pastels, but are instead softly rendered in oil on linen to achieve a sophisticated effect. Dear Magritte (2023) was inspired by a visit to Surrealist master Rene Magritte’s studio in Brussels, while Christmas in California (2022) offers a sensual view of local L.A. living.
Contrasting You’s exterior point of view, Hoehn presents a more personal interaction with nature and manmade objects through sculptures that surrealistically combine braided hair, babies, banisters, and breasts to a darker, more sci-fi-inspired end. Her Breast Bracket #6 with Ruffled Leaf (2023) mixes the cast body part with a carved wooden swamp leaf, while Braided Bannister (2021–23) adds a sensual touch to the Duchampian act of declining a staircase.
With works by Jennifer Bartlett
Jennifer Bartlett, installation view in Marianne Boesky Gallery’s booth at Frieze Los Angeles, 2023. Photo by Casey Kelbaugh. Courtesy of Marianne Boesky Gallery.
Another exhibitor displaying historical works in the West Site space of the fair, Marianne Boesky Gallery is presenting a selection of paintings and sculptures from Jennifer Bartlett’s seminal “Fire” series, meticulously created by the recently deceased artist between 1988 and 1990.
A museum-quality presentation, the booth is anchored by Bartlett’s massive The Comedian as the Letter C for Max Gordon (1990), an homage to the titular architect that was painted the year of his death. Portraying layered objects over a field of fire, the painting references motives of Jasper Johns and Robert Rauschenberg Bartlett’s male counterparts and games of chance such as cards and mahjong.
Corresponding to the gallery’s current “Jennifer Bartlett: Works on Paper, 1970–1973,” an exhibition of her gridded, conceptual drawings in New York, the booth displays the breadth of Bartlett’s skill as a painter and sculptor—smartly shifting stylistically between expressionism and minimalism, and between the genres of still life and landscape while presenting a way of working that was (and still seems) completely new.
With works by Chase Hall
Chase Hall, installation view in David Kordansky Gallery’s booth at Frieze Los Angeles, 2023. Photo by Mark Blower. Courtesy of David Kordansky Gallery.
Situated directly inside the entrance of Frieze L.A.’s much larger East Site structure, David Kordansky Gallery’s booth is home to a solo show of new figurative paintings by New York–based artist Chase Hall. Varying in scale from intimate to jumbo, the 13 canvases in the show capture the artist’s memories of time spent on L.A.’s beaches as a teenage skateboarder and surfer.
Born to a Black father and a white mother who solely raised him, Hall was drawn to the Californian shore by his youthful interests but was confronted with the racism that accompanied territorial disputes once he arrived. Dealing with those issues by staining the white cotton canvas he uses for his paintings with brown coffee and mixing that coffee with paint to portray his lively subjects, Hall has turned discrimination into a personal language for championing the oppressed.
Large-scale paintings like County Lifeguards (2022) and the even bigger Junior Lifeguards (2022) capture the camaraderie between those whose job it was to protect swimmers at L.A.’s beaches. Meanwhile, his massive diptych Bruce’s Beach Surf Club (2022) portrays surfers at a Black beach seized by the city in 1927 that was recently repatriated to the original family that had developed it—setting right a wrong for the Bruce family and supplying strong subject matter for the socially concerned artist.
With works by Doug Aitken
Doug Aitken, installation view in 303 Gallery’s booth at Frieze Los Angeles, 2023. © Doug Aitken. Photo by Ed Mumford. Courtesy of 303 Gallery.
Also situated near the entrance, 303 Gallery turns its booth over to new work by California legend Doug Aitken. Initially interested in becoming an illustrator while studying at ArtCenter College of Design in Pasadena where he earned a BFA in 1991, Aitken got his first big break making music videos for Fatboy Slim before becoming an art world darling with a string of solo shows on the East and West Coasts in the mid-1990s.
Exploring the San Andreas fault line in the California desert during the pandemic lockdown while making a film, Aitken came up with the related ideas for the pieces presented in the booth.
Hand-milled in wood and surfaced with perfectly cut sections of mirror in his studio, the three circular pieces in the show present fractured views of everything abstractly reflected in them. At the two ends of the booth, concave rectangular works capture the word “Wilderness” (also the title) in one work and the phrase “Edge of Chaos” in the other—fragmenting language and shifting the picture plane to propose a world teetering on the edge of destruction, at the hands of man as well as nature.
With works by Arlene Shechet and Nicola Tyson
Installation view of Vielmetter’s booth at Frieze Los Angeles, 2023. Photo by Dawn Blackman. Courtesy of Vielmetter.
In another dynamic paired presentation, Vielmetter’s booth mixes large-scale pencil drawings of surreal people, animals, and plants by British-born painter Nicola Tyson with abstract, mixed-media sculptures by American artist Arlene Shechet. Growing out of a viewing room presentation at the gallery, the dealer decided to put the show together for the fair, with both artists making new work for Frieze L.A.
Elegantly crafted in a combination of ceramic, wood, and steel, Shechet’s abstractions reference elements of nature without being specific. Together Again: Fall (2022) is a luscious yellow piece that looks like a decaying chunk of foam or a weathered vegetable, while Moonlit (2022) offers a totemic stack of materials resembling an abstracted figure strolling at night.
Tyson, meanwhile, presents her own take on nature (both artists have houses in upstate New York) with graphite drawings of ghostly characters that haunt our dreams, as well as the mystical realm of moonlit environments.
With works by Andreas Eriksson
Andreas Eriksson, installation view in Stephen Friedman Gallery’s booth at Frieze Los Angeles, 2023. Photo by Mark Blower. Courtesy of Stephen Friedman Gallery.
Finding success in past presentations of solo show booths at Frieze art fairs, Stephen Friedman Gallery is offering paintings and tapestries by Swedish artist Andreas Eriksson to audiences in Los Angeles for the first time. Working primarily with acrylic, egg oil tempera, and oil on canvas that’s mounted on panel, the 47-year-old artist, who lives and works in Stockholm and in the rural Swedish countryside, makes meditative landscape paintings that explore a variety of marvelous markmaking.
Inspired as much by art history as he is by nature, Eriksson paints in a way that moves between washy brushwork and denser areas of matte coloration. His combination of color and form brings his dreamy landscapes to life, even as they shift between what could be either real or imagined scenes. Eriksson’s tapestries contrast with the canvas: They are minimal, monochromatic works that beautifully reduce the landscape’s muted shapes that sultrily create a sense of place.
With works by Peter Shire
Peter Shire, installation view in Jeffrey Deitch’s booth at Frieze Los Angeles, 2023. Courtesy of Jeffrey Deitch.
Peter Shire, installation view in Jeffrey Deitch’s booth at Frieze Los Angeles, 2023. Courtesy of Jeffrey Deitch.
Presenting a solo show of another L.A. legend, Jeffery Deitch is dedicating its generously sized booth to a lively mix of sculpture, furniture, drawings, and ceramics by artist, designer, and ceramist Peter Shire. The 76-year-old creator, who was born and raised in the same Echo Park house where he currently lives, was most famously a member of the Memphis Design Group and part of the design team for the 1984 Summer Olympics, which took place in Los Angeles.
Creating an immersive presentation for the booth, Shire has covered the walls with bright bands of colored paper used for photo shoots, displayed with framed drawings, and playful sculptures on hand-crafted pedestals in front of it, as well as colorful constructed furniture for the staff working the booth. The sculptures have planetary forms that hold small-scale ceramics, with a cabinet displaying even more ceramic vessels on shelves. Whimsically made, all of the pieces in the wonderful show, appropriately titled “Peter Shire’s Living Room Theater,” bear his signature style and palette.
Thumbnail: Peter Shire, installation view in Jeffrey Deitch’s booth at Frieze Los Angeles, 2023. Courtesy of Jeffrey Deitch.
Correction: A previous version of this article incorrectly described Chase Hall as “Los Angeles–based” and incorrectly described beaches depicted in his paintings as “segregated” and “all-Black.” The text has been updated.