It's Getting Hot in Here
The Canvas feels bad. When we promised sunshine throughout the week, we meant it as a hopeful counter to last year's torrential downpour. We certainly didn't mean it as a paean for ninety degree heat that would leave collectors sweating through their Burberry cottons.
But while it's clear that the organizers at Frieze need to find a new vendor for their tent (remember the buckets placed to catch the leaking rain last year?), yesterday's VIP preview proved to be a resounding success. Indeed, the decision to add a second VIP day turned out to be a savvy one as strolling through the fair was considerably more enjoyable than pushing through the mass of humanity at this year's Armory Show (even with the sweltering heat).
Despite there not being a surfeit of high priced sales announced on the first day, it seems that most dealers have found a sweet spot in what they choose to bring to Frieze NY; somewhere in the range of mid-five figures (let's call it $30,000-$50,000) through mid-six figures (let's call it $300,000-$400,000). Annie Armstrong at ArtNews and Nate Freeman at Artsy have the full recaps and sales listings on their respective sites and they're worth a read.
However, perhaps even more important than any one sale was the overall feel and mood within the tent on Randall's Island. People were talking about Adam Pendleton's Black Dada Flag, watching Lara Schnitger feminist protest parade called Suffragette City, and catching glimpses of the uber VIPs (Michael Bloomberg, Raf Simmons, John Krasinski, and Scarlett Johansson were among those spotted).
So all in all, even with the air-conditioning hiccup (which The Canvas heard would be resolved by today), Frieze New York is a welcome presence on this year's art fair circuit. Not as stuffy as Art Basel, more meaningful than Art Basel Miami, and certainly more of a pleasure to walk through than the Armory Show.
The Three Things People are Talking About
TEFAF New York opens its Spring iteration of the fair today. It's the second year that the Maastricht based organization is hosting the fair during the same week as Frieze New York, and all signs point to there being enough love from collectors to go around. While we'll have a more full report in tomorrow's edition of The Canvas, early signs at the Park Avenue Armory are good. Blue-chip dealers have brought some impressive pieces (we're looking at you Levy Gorvy), and Gagosian (who's communications department we still shake our head at) is showing at the fair for the first time. The next few days should be interesting in terms of any seven figure sales announced- especially with the Christie's Rockefeller Collectionsale taking place so close to both Frieze and TEFAF.
Is government regulation coming for us all? That's the question on the minds of the art world's business denizens and legal eagles. Like the Army of the Dead in HBO's Game of Thrones, experts have been warning that this encroachment into the art world realm has been slowly approaching for years. However, amidst reports that "The House Financial Services Committee is drafting legislation that would add ‘dealers of art and antiquities’ to the list of regulated financial institutions" and the European Union's new money laundering regulations, art world insiders (both dealers and collectors alike) are increasingly worried that anonymity might be a thing of the past for buyers of highly valued works. The European Union set the benchmark at €10,000 (hardly 'high priced' in The Canvas's eyes), and who's to say what the dolts in the U.S House of Representatives will set the limit at during their hearing in May. It looks like the saying is true- Winter is finally here...
In what appears to be her first public comments since she stepped down as the executive director of the Walker Art Center, Olga Viso makes a rousing call for what she calls "decolonizing the art museum" in an op-ed for the New York Times. As ArtNews reported back in November , "Though no reason was cited for her departure, the announcement came in the wake of controversy surrounding the installment and ultimate dismantling of Scaffold, a public artwork by the Los Angeles–based artist Sam Durantthat incited waves of protest over the past six months." Indeed, in the op-ed published yesterday, Viso talks at length about "Scaffold" and how her vision for it to be an educational and "truth to power" tool was ultimately not possible "because of the continuing historical trauma about an unreckoned-with colonial past." Read the full piece here.
Five Booths to See at Frieze
The Party Circuit
Swiss Institute Hosts Private Preview of New Home (Spotted: Loic Gouzer, Sarah Arison, Francesco Bonami, Dominique Levy, Iwan Wirth, Daniel Humm, Hans Ulrich Obrist)
Ballroom Marfa Spring Fundraiser
Cultured Magazine x Misha Kahn Dinner
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