CULTURE
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Frieze New York Art Fair 2021: What Not to Miss

A photo by Tyler Mitchell
© Tyler Mitchell, courtesy of the artist and Jack Shainman Gallery, New York

Against all odds, the 2021 edition of Frieze New York is officially underway. This year, the fair left its home on Randall Island in favor of Hudson Yards’s The Shed, just north of all the Chelsea galleries (and no ferry ride required). There are other differences, too; proof of a negative Covid-19 test or vaccination are required for entry, and there are just 60 dealers alongside 160 galleries online (down around 30 from its last New York edition). But it’s about quality, not quantity, and no one seems to mind: Frieze managed to sell out all its tickets. Take a look at some of the highlights you can enjoy both IRL and at home, here.

A view of Precious Okoyomon’s This God Is a Slow Recovery (2021) at the Shed.

Photo by Da Ping Luo, courtesy of Da Ping Luo/Frieze

Precious Okoyomon, the Nigerian-American winner of this year’s Frieze Artist Award, took over the Shed’s 17,000-square-foot performance hall with their take on the Tower of Babel, which is now available in video form.

Katherine Bernhardt, Mas de ti, 2021.

Photo courtesy of Canada gallery

TriBeCa’s Canada gallery once again delivers with one of Katherine Bernhardt’s giant E.T.’s, this time joined by Bart Simpson in a Supreme shirt.

An installation view of works by Hank Willis Thomas at Frieze New York.

Photo by Casey Kelbaugh, courtesy of Casey Kelbaugh/Frieze

The Vision & Justice Project, which focuses on justice for Black Americans, posed a question to participants like Carrie Mae Weems, Mel Chin, and Hank Willis Thomas: “How are the arts responsible for disrupting, complicating, or shifting narratives of visual representation in the public realm?”

Mungo Thomson, Snowman, 2020.

Courtesy of Karma

Art fairs never disappoint when it comes to absurdity, and Mungo Thomson’s stack of Amazon boxes at Karma gallery definitely take the cake. (The piece, titled Snowman, costs $55,000.)

Nina Chanel Abney, Imaginary Friend, 2020.

Courtesy of Acute Art

The fair extends outside The Shed, too; download the Acute Art app and you’ll find a whole exhibition of augmented reality works by artists like Bjarne Melgaard and Nina Chanel Abney.

Ivy Haldeman, Colossus, Forearms Up, One Eye, Hands Hold Do (Coiffure), 2021.

Courtesy of Downs & Ross

Downs & Ross is highlighting an array of up-and-comers: Ragna Bley, Rute Merk, Willa Chasmsweet Wasserman, and the burgeoning star Ivy Haldeman.

Antwaun Sargent for Matches Fashion.

Photo by Clement Pascal

Matches Fashion has compiled Voices From Frieze New York, a helpful audio guide courtesy of the curators and writers Antwaun Sargent and Kimberly Drew, as well as Performance Space New York’s Jenny Schlenzka and the artist Dana Lok.

A still of Amy Sherald painting Michelle Obama from the documentary Black Art: In the Absence of Light (2021).

Courtesy of HBO

HBO’s in-depth documentary Black Art: In the Absence of Light screens on Friday. Director Sam Pollard took inspiration from David Driskell’s landmark 1976 exhibition “Two Centuries of Black American Art.”

Marco Brambilla’s Nude descending a Staircase No. 3, on view at Maison Margiela’s Crosby Street location.

Photo by Nick D’Emilio

Elsewhere (and more accessibly) in the city, Marco Brambilla riffed on Marcel Duchamp’s Nude Descending a Staircase for an AI algorithm-generated installation at Maison Margiela’s Crosby Street outpost. (You may recognize the artist from his recent transfixing collaboration with Cate Blanchett.)