Folks have taken to calling it Frieze Week, which is forgivably both cute and convenient, as well as reinforced by local and bi-coastal outlets’ daily, nay, hourly, branding amplifications. In any case, the phenomenon has gotten the city’s attention, and the swirl of L.A., national and international contemporary art fairs orbiting the Frieze L.A. sun right now truly does have a lot to offer the caffeinated and curious.
From downtown to Hollywood to Venice and back to Hollywood, with five fairs in four days (seven if you’re ambitious enough to throw Modernism Week and Art Palm Springs into the weekend mix) plus an avalanche of co-presented and self-identified, kind of random but frequently interesting off-site “Frieze Week” programs, projects and activations (Barbara Kruger murals everywhere!), if you have any hope of seeing it all, you’re going to need a plan. And maybe next year, a new name. L.A. Art Week seems easy. Art Week L.A.? Ideas welcome.
Frieze Los Angeles: Though only the second L.A. edition for this U.K.-based big-ticket fair, last year’s hearty sales were enough to bring it back, a little bigger and arguably a little bolder too. Its tented core of fancy and important galleries is augmented by a curated section of newer galleries, but anyway the tent has been sold out for ages.
Fortunately, they’ve amped up their Paramount Studio backlot experience as well this year, and those “program-only” tickets start at $25/day, with all kinds of cool stuff going on — from performance art and artist-run pop-up shops to eclectic pop-up restaurants and cocktail clubs — in those old New York City brownstones and Chicago streets, and with the theater hosting loads of panels and screenings as well. You won’t get in the tent, but it’s still a great day on its own. Paramount Studios, 5515 Melrose Ave., Hollywood; preview: Fri., Feb. 14; fair dates: Sat.-Sun., Feb. 15-16. frieze.com.
Felix: Also an instant classic despite this being just its sophomore year as well, Felix recalls the old days of the classic hotel fair, with 60 local, national, and international contemporary galleries presenting their artists in the rooms and suites, plus performances and activations in the shared spaces, and highlights from Judy Chicago to Dynasty Handbag. The $25 ticket includes opening night and full weekend pass. Hollywood Roosevelt, 7000 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood; opening night: Thu., Feb. 13; fair dates: Fri.-Sun., Feb. 14-16. felixfair.com.
Art Los Angeles Contemporary: This being the 11th ALAC, founder and director Tim Fleming’s brand of accessible high-minded visual culture is well-established. But even they aren’t immune to the tidal force that is Frieze, and so 2020 is also ALAC’s first year in Hollywood, as they relocate to the new epicenter. With about 40 galleries, publishers, and nonprofits across painting, photography, video, sculpture, and the fascinating in-betweens, their opening night is also Thursday ($65), while fair passes are $25/day and $30/all weekend. Hollywood Athletic Club, 6525 Sunset Blvd., Hollywood; opening night, Thu., Feb. 13; fair dates, Fri.-Sun., Feb. 14-16. artlosangelesfair.com.
SPRING/BREAK: Last year’s first Spring/Break Los Angeles took place in the steel-clad truck bays of a downtown produce mart, and it was amazing. With an off the charts cool factor, several dozen artist-run spaces and a few of the more adventurous commercial galleries managed to transform each and every one of the garages into a unique micro-wonderland of surreally classic exhibitions and more experiential even visceral interdisciplinary installations and activations. This year, they move down the block to slightly more respectable posts-industrial digs at ROW DTLA, and welcome some 65 projects by mostly L.A. galleries, as well as independent artists and curators to interpret the theme IN EXCESS as they see fit. Tiffany Trenda performs at 7pm during Friday night’s opening party. Skylight ROW DTLA, 757 S. Alameda, downtown; opening day preview: Fri., Feb. 14, 11 a.m.-4 p.m.; opening night: Fri., Feb. 14, 4-9 p.m.; fair dates: Sat.-Sun., Feb. 15-16; tickets $25-50. springbreakartshow.com.
stARTup Fair: In its fifth year here and with franchises in Houston and original San Francisco, this event is devoted to emerging contemporary artists who aren’t represented by galleries. It too takes place in a hotel, with each of the 80 artists, who were curated into the fair by a panel of arts professionals, transforming their own room into whatever manifestation of their vision they can pull off, from chill domesticity to lived-in dreamscape. The fair is also known for its nonprofit partner exhibitors and its robust slate of discussions all centered around the pursuit of creative entrepreneurship and models for approaching art as a career. The Kinney, 737 W. Washington Blvd., Venice; opening night: Fri., Feb. 14; fair dates: Sat.-Sun., Feb. 15-16, $15-40. startupartfair.com.
Not a Fair, but… Hollywood Babylon: A Re-Inauguration of the Pleasure Dome is the grooviest of the satellite projects in town this week. A joint production of Jeffrey Deitch Gallery, Nicodim Gallery, and Autre Magazine, the project is a group exhibition dedicated to the legacy of avant-garde occultism in Los Angeles in all its sexy, stylish glory. Its cornerstone is the centennial birthday of the brilliant artist, powerful mystic, and volatile Jack Parsons muse, Cameron, who stars in the Kenneth Anger cult classic film that screens on site and lends the show its title. Works by about 20 artists including Vaginal Davis, David LaChapelle, Mattia Biagi, Genesis Breyer P-Orridge, Mike Kelley, Simphiwe Ndzube, Katherine Olschbaur, Gus Van Sant, and Christine Wang are installed throughout the refurbished raw space that once housed the legendary WeHo hot spot, Spago. Deitch told the Weekly on opening night that the first time he ever went to Spago, it was for an art show of Jean-Michel Basquiat paintings organized by Larry Gagosian. It’s hallowed ground in more ways than one. 1114 Horn Ave. on the Sunset Strip; on view daily, noon-6 p.m., through Feb. 16; free. nicodimgallery.com.
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