Best in Show: Frieze Fair
My Favorite Paintings
For this year’s Frieze Art Fair at Randall’s Island in New York City, I tried to avoid the usual fair fatigue one can experience at a show of this magnitude and went on a scavenger hunt for the best painting I could find. Location was sometimes important, as Blum & Poe’s booth near the entrance with a large Carrol Dunham of a yellow sun called Solar Eruption (2000-2001) had the first canvas to catch my attention over a visual overload of competing booths in the spacious, brightly-lit environment of the fair.
In contrast, The Breeder’s space in the middle of the fair had Jannis Varelas’ Der Krieger (2013), a large black-and-white, charcoal-and-oil on canvas with a folk art vibe that packed a graphic punch.
For solo presentations, Fredericks & Freiser’s booth with several colorful Gary Panter works was a standout. Hung on black walls covered with countless original white chalk drawings, this punk pioneer’s cartoony paintings, like Seven Dead, 21 Missing (1988) shined.
The slightly off-center composition of Pablo Picasso’s Homme et femme I (1971) at Acquavella shows what the master could do with just a few loose lines and squiggles over a brushy background, turning a man and woman into a tangled, contorted soul.
For sheer razzle-dazzle, Satoshi Ohno’s Dating in Ocean of Trees (2015) at Tomio Koyama Gallery couldn’t be beat, with its rainbow palette landscape of geometric and natural forms. Coming in a close second was Kyungah Ham’s Abstract Weave – Morris Louis Untitled A (2014) at Kukje Gallery, an explosion of colorful forms made all the more intriguing by its medium of machine embroidery.