Art fairs

Maurizio’s donkey melts the hardest hearts at Frieze

A project by Maurizio Cattelan that recreated his 1994 Daniel Newburg Gallery-shutting show, complete with a live donkey, will prove the lasting memory of Frieze New York’s fifth edition (5-8 May, 43,000 visitors). Cattelan faced some competition, and not just from the other projects dotted around the temporary tent in Randall’s Island Park.

Many of the 200 exhibitors used the wide booths to show works as well as can be expected in an art fair environment. Attractively hung, mixed-artist booths included Sprüth Magers’s striking combination of a Thea Djordjadze installation (sold, $65,000), photographs by Peter Fischli and David Weiss (several sold, €65,000 each) and Bernd & Hilla Becker (several sold, €20,000 each), and Galeria Fortes Vilaça’s muted display of artists including Los Carpinteros, Agniezska Kurant and Luíz Zerbini.

The visually pleasing effect was reinforced by the Frieze organisers’ decision to put the Spotlight, Focus and Frame sections into discrete zones, rather than have them dotted throughout the fair as in previous editions.

There were relatively few big-hitters (with the exception of Gagosian’s booth of trademark Damien Hirsts, marking the gallery’s re-representation of the artist). Sales were similarly subdued: they happened, but largely at the five-figure level, with little fanfare.