Visitors to Frieze New York are certainly fashionable and always on trend, sporting the latest arty garb. Indeed, the Los Angeles-based artist and animator Lyndon Barrois was turning heads with his Basquiat-adorned coat emblazoned with a striking figure of a man running along the back of the garment. “My wife bought it as a present,” he said, while fielding numerous enquiries from other admiring fairgoers about the eye-catching coat. In a recent interview in Frieze magazine, Barrois discussed his stellar collection of works by artists such as Amoako Boafo and Diedrick Brackens, encompassing also an intriguing portrait of boxer and activist Muhammad Ali from 1975.
Hernan Bas, magnetic
Among the various private views across Chelsea this week, we were taken with Hernan Bas’s show at Lehmann Maupin presenting his new series The Conceptualists: Vol. II. These paintings depict mysterious young men who, says Bas, are all fictive conceptual artists. One of the works shows a sallow youth brandishing a Polaroid pic of himself in front of a fridge brimming with milk cartons. “The work brings to mind those adverts that appeared on milk cartons when I was a kid, carrying appeals for missing children. This guy is emotionally lost,” Bas told us. The artist also revealed his love for pink flamingo magnets—he has 900 in total—which might make an appearance one day in one of his works, he quipped.
Water for democracy
Thirsty fairgoers parched from running through the aisles can grab a free bottle of water on the top floor of Frieze New York this week. These nifty bottles, covered with the word “Banned”, are raising eyebrows. But look closer and you’ll see that the water containers carry a QR code that, when scanned, links to planyourvote.org, an initiative co-created by the Frieze New York director Christine Messineo, in partnership with the non-profit vote.org which is dedicated to removing barriers to voting. Crucially, the association website points out that “it is absurd that we can give away water bottles at an art fair but not to people waiting in long lines to vote”, referring to the fact that Georgia lawmakers passed a bill banning the group from giving out food or water to people waiting to vote. Note also—the Banned bottles really are very good sustainable containers if you need a jogging accessory.
Charles Gaines praises
There’s a buzz around dealer David Kordansky’s stand at Frieze New York which is hosting a solo booth of works by current art superstar Lauren Halsey. Spotted among the many browsers was the artist Charles Gaines. “I taught Lauren at California Institute of the Arts,” he told us. “You could tell something was going on. I’m so happy for her.” During Gaines’s 31-year career at CalArts, he mentored many Black artists, among them Mark Bradford, Rodney McMillian and Halsey whose gypsum-based engravings and digital collages sold out on day one of the fair.
Frieze is for the birds
Visitors to Frieze in search of truly heart-warming art need look no further than Argentine gallery Barro’s stand in the fair’s Focus section, which is devoted to Buenos Aires-based artist Mónica Giron’s 1993 series Ajuar para un conquistador (Trousseau for a Conqueror). The project consists of merino wool sweaters, gloves and leggings that Giron designed and knitted to snuggly fit bird species that travel through the chilly Patagonia region of South America, such as the Andean flamingo. The delightful outfits are no mere flights of fancy though—each set of knitwear is priced at $40,000.
Fran Lebowitz was in typically feisty form earlier this week, presenting the Loewe Foundation Craft Prize at the Noguchi Museum. The famed raconteur author, who is known for her wry take on Manhattan’s quirks, explained why she struggled a little with the prize concept, telling Artnet News: “I did ask Jonathan Anderson [Loewe’s creative director] why this is called craft instead of art. Because in my opinion, let’s face it, the difference really is between usefulness and uselessness, and most of these things are useless—which makes them art.” Congrats to the winner, Eriko Inazaki, who bags €50,000. Each of the shortlisted works by 30 finalists will be exhibited in Isamu Noguchi’s Studio at The Noguchi Museum (until 18 June).
JR in AR
The French street artist JR is extending his empire to New York, launching an “AR community network” called JR Reality in the Big Apple that promises to be the world’s largest digital participatory art project. JR is inviting everyone with a “smartphone to create and contribute to AR murals that highlight the meaning that places in their communities hold for them”, says a PR blurb. This super selfie project comprises portraits and personal “audio bites”, building up AR murals that are “floating” around Manhattan. This initiative is “powered” by the immersive art venture Superblue. Perhaps art world buffs can build up some arty pics around the Shed, home to Frieze New York.