This weekend the art circus comes to New York City. On Friday the annual Frieze Art Fair opens on Randall’s Island for four festive days along with a smorgasbord of satellite fairs scattered throughout the city. Trying to see everything almost always means you’ll remember next to nothing, which is certainly a bummer when the circus leaves town. But with a good strategy and the trusty guide we’ve assembled you should be able to navigate the madness, catch some interesting panel discussions, see some cool special projects, and hopefully discover something you didn’t even know was out there.
Almost two hundred top tier galleries gather under a tent on Randall’s Island for a big top experience that matches some of the city’s best eats with some of the art world’s most prized pieces. This year they’ve even installed a hotel. Al’s hotel. It’s a reincarnation of Allen Ruppersberg’s “Grand Hotel,” and there will be people spending the night, each night.
Rookie Mistake: Missing the incredible view of Manhattan from the picnic tables that line the western edge of the fair.
Located down in Basketball City, the third edition of the non-profit NADA New York brings together more than 80 galleries, many of which push the boundary of what to expect year after year. This fair is always fun, always fresh, and often raw. This year they’ve invited Sam Gordon to put together a poetry reading on Saturday, and Printed Matter is launching a poetry zine. Should be interesting.
Rookie Mistake: Getting hung up on art that you swear just can’t be art.
Outsider Art Fair New York: Frank Jones, Jap House 60, 1964-1967, Colored pencil on paper, 22 5/8 × 22 5/8 inches; Courtesy of Fleisher/Ollman Gallery, Philadelphia
Setting up shop in the classic DIA building, the Outsider Art Fair only shows artists without MFAs. The craft aesthetic reigns along with a good dose of homegrown folk styles that always intrigue. If you are a Basquiat fan—he qualifies as an Outsider—there is a great panel scheduled for the roof of the building on Saturday afternoon.
Filling up the big tunnel in Chelsea, the Contemporary Art fair distinguishes itself by inviting independent artists without gallery representation. Wander this long hall and you’ll find young creators of all variety: sculptors, jewelers, ceramicists, weavers, painters, and glassmakers. This is a great fair for discoveries, and it is chalked full of art under $1,000.
Rookie Mistake: Not chatting up the artists.
Cutlog is making the neo-gothic Clemente Building its home for the fair, showcasing fifty artists who are all presenting original works. That may not matter to many, because we don’t know who most of these artists are, yet. But it is a blast for the artists to put out something brand new. The energy at this fair tends towards high voltage. Be sure to check out the Georgia Fee Resident, Rah, presenting work completed during the Winter 2014 session at screenings on Thursday and Friday. Following her Friday screening, be there for a Q&A with Rah moderated by ArtSlant editors.
Rookie mistake: Not taking names.
PULSE: Hassan Hajjaj, Rilene, 2013, Metallic Lambda print on Dibond with wood and found objects, 52 1/2 × 38 inches, Edition of 5; Courtesy of the artist and GUSFORD, Los Angeles
Now under the directorship of Helen Toomer, formerly of Toomer Labzda Gallery, expect a few changes for PULSE. We're looking forward to seeing what comes of it.
A hotel fair for unrepresented artists, PooL is a place for chance encounters. Opening night, when all the artists are present and everyone is serving drinks in their hotel rooms, tends to be quite the party.
Rookie mistake: Getting trapped in a conversation with someone whose work you're actually not that interested in.
191 North 14th Street
May 2nd - May 11th
We were thoroughly impressed with SEVEN in Miami two years ago. It featured a remarkable array of work in a sophisticated layout. Count on seeing some great new media and video work here, highlights include Rafael Rozendaal (Postmasters) and Daniel Conogar (bitforms). With Williamsburg's McCarren Park nearby, you could make a really nice day of your visit to this show.
Rookie Mistake: Not actually putting on the headphones hanging on the hook next to the monitor.
The Art Miami enterprise has put its hat into the ring of New York art fairs with their inaugural Downtown Art Fair, located at the 69th Regiment Armory near Gramercy Park.
5-25 46th Avenue in LIC
527 West 29th Street, 2nd floor
Rookie Mistake: Not gamifying something like this. Bring your Contemporary/Outsider bingo cards and see who has the best art snobbery skills amongst your friends.