Ever since Frieze, the contemporary art fair that started in London in 2003, debuted in New York in 2012 and blew into Los Angeles like a cultural hurricane in February, the question has been: Will Frieze return to L.A.?
The answer, Frieze said Thursday, is yes. Same time, same place next year.
Frieze Los Angeles will return to Paramount Studios in Hollywood the weekend of Feb. 13-16, organizers said.
“L.A. came out in full force,” Frieze Fairs director Victoria Siddall said. “There was such a public appetite.”
About 30,000 people total came during the fair’s four days, Siddall said, drawn by 70 galleries set up inside a 62,000-square-foot tent. About half the galleries showing work were local; others were from New York, Mexico, Europe, Asia and South America.
Siddall said the collaboration with Endeavor, parent company of talent agency William Morris Endeavor, which is the majority owner of Frieze, “helped build the profile in L.A.” She also cited Frieze’s Los Angeles executive director, Bettina Korek, who will return next year.
“We laid the foundation,” Korek said. “I think we helped people see the potential for this.”
L.A. has long been known as a place for art creators, but the perception has been that it’s not a place for art collectors. But at Frieze Los Angeles, organizers said, Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama’s painting “Infinity Nets (B-A-Y)” was sold for $1.6 million by gallery Lévy Gorvy; the late Mike Kelley’s installation “Unisex Love Nest” was sold for $1.8 million by Hauser & Wirth to an undisclosed European art foundation; and El Anatsui’s recycled aluminum and copper wire wall hanging, “Topos,” was sold for $1.25 million by Jack Shainman Gallery.
“We celebrate the big sales, but it’s equally important the medium-sized galleries and young galleries showing emerging artists do well,” Siddall said. “It has to work across the whole ecosystem. And it did.”
The Hammer Museum acquired work for its permanent collection; Frieze gifted the museum with funds to acquire art, as it’s done in years past with other institutions. The Hammer purchased the sculptures “Stairway to Heaven” and “Cat’s Cradle,” part of L.A. artist Karon Davis’ Frieze Projects installation “Game” on the studio back lot. The installation addresses gun violence and features plaster-cast sculptures of schoolchildren with antlers on their heads in front of a brick school-building façade.
The eighth edition of Frieze New York kicks off Wednesday at Randall’s Island Park with about 190 galleries, more than double compared with L.A.
Will Frieze Los Angeles include significantly more galleries next year? Siddall said no. The second iteration of the L.A. fair will be roughly the same size.
“It was a decision dictated by the venue,” Siddall said. “And the venue was crucial to its success. Paramount Studio just felt right. It was this magical place, connected to Hollywood, and very easy to get to. We were keen to come back.”
Siddall and Korek wouldn’t say whether Frieze Los Angeles would be resurrecting its program of site-specific art commissions on the studio’s back lot, Frieze Projects, which was organized by L.A. curator Ali Subotnick. They also wouldn’t say if LAXART director Hamza Walker would return to curate the Frieze Talks and Frieze Music series.
But they did identify one change they hope for in Year 2.
“The weather!” joked Korek, referring to the rains that doused early fairgoers this year.