Returning next month with timely programmes, new exhibitors and a refreshed layout, Frieze New York is an imaginative arena for the arts. Loring Randolph, Artistic Director for the Americas, discusses the fair’s unique position, highlighting a focus on female practitioners whilst delving into the work of this year’s Frieze Artist Award winner, Kapwani Kiwanga (b. 1978).
A: New York has a rich artistic history. What unique qualities does the fair bring to the city?
LR: Yes, New York is a city rife with rich cultural experiences, it is the ultimate melting pot. The fair is in a way a similar thing for the art world. Frieze showcases artistic practices from many different countries where various views, methods and histories all coexist and butt up against one another, in one home, for five days. You cannot retract and be isolated in our beautiful tents. Everyone, everything, is exposed and together. The fair also attracts a range of international audiences from astute collectors to art students, who share in the experience.
A: How important are events such as Frieze to diversifying and enriching the art world?
LR: I believe Frieze can play an extremely important role in diversifying and enriching the art world. We have a long innovative history of programming which is at the heart of our fairs. This year we have a new section, LIVE, which is a platform for performance and installation, curated by Adrienne Edwards (the incoming curator of Performance at the Whitney Museum of American Art), and we also have – for the first time – an open call artist award that anyone can apply to (supported by the Luma Foundation). Additionally, we have a section dedicated to the gallerist, Hudson, whose program at his gallery Feature Inc. definitely enriched the art world up until his passing in 2014.
A: Frieze Los Angeles, a new iteration, will soon join New York, London and Masters. What is it about Frieze that appeals to audiences and exhibitors?
LR: Frieze has a different vibe than other fairs. It seems cooler, younger and the environment is better in terms of having natural light and some green around. Frieze was also born as a magazine and this has instilled our fairs with a distinct critical and editorial approach. In fact, the first person that Matthew and Amanda ever hired was a curator, and we continue to draw together leading curators and scholars to shape the fairs’ program of gallery presentations, artist commissions and talks.
A: In the digital age, it becomes increasingly important to champion new artists. How do these events impact the careers of emerging practitioners?
LR: Frieze can have a positive impact on emerging artists because it provides broad exposure. Frieze has long supported younger galleries and emerging talent in our Focus and Frame sections, and the Frieze Artist Award has been the launch pad for many young artists’ careers.
A: The arts landscape is evolving to welcome new technologies such as VR and Digital Art. How has Frieze New York adapted to showcase these works?
LR: I think the question really is – how have the galleries adapted to showcase these works? New technology can be quite complicated to install, and we work together with those galleries who are ambitious enough to bring work like this to help realise it at the fair in whatever ways we are able. In line with this theme, this year we have the The Breeder showing works by Gina Beavers, Slater Bradley, Angelo Plessas and Theo Triantafyllidis that explore “post-Internet” reality and its limits, and Taro Nasu’s (Tokyo) The Age of New Phantasmagoria, exploring perception in the age of virtual and augmented realities, with Koichi Enomoto, Djordje Ozbolt and Simon Fujiwara. Speaking of ambitious installations, Kayne Griffin Corcoran is showing for the first time a James Turrell medium circle glass work. Not a new technology now, but it was an advancement to paint and sculpt with light when Turrell, Flavin and others conceived of it.
A: Let’s talk about Kapwani Kiwanga, the recipient of this year’s Frieze Artist Award. What can you tell us about her installation?
LR: Kapwani Kiwanga is an important artist, who is clearly having a moment right now. A few days after reading her proposal for the artist award, which is open to anyone who wants to apply, I walked into the Hammer Museum and Aram Moshayedi’s exhibition, Stories of Almost Everyone, and her work Flowers for Africa: Nigeria (2014) was the first thing that I encountered. Her practice stems from her anthropological roots and is research-based. Shady (working title), will be a large-scale architectural screen installed outside near the north entrance of Frieze New York. The work is essentially a transparent wall, and it addresses timely questions about social barriers, the obstruction of free movements and architectural and social constructs of exclusion. The fabric that makes up the body of the wall is shade cloth. Kiwanga first used this material in an exhibition in South Africa at the Goodman Gallery where she was interested in land and its use in the colonial project.
A: What are your highlights from this year’s show?
LR: I’m excited to highlight some of the great women artists being shown at the fair this year. Along with Kapwani, we have Betye Saar and Emma Amos solo presentations in Spotlight; Anne Truitt and Nan Goldin with Matthew Marks Gallery; Zoe Leonard with Galleria Raffaella Cortese alongside her solo show at the Whitney Museum; Lara Schnitger’s Suffragette City processional as part of our LIVE program and Ana Mazzei with Galeria Jaqueline Martins in Frame, where you can interact with the work in the booth – amongst many others. We also have group exhibitions with Instituto de Visión showing three young Mexican artists, and Michael Rosenfeld Gallery with a show of all female artists experimenting in collage and assemblage including Nancy Grossman, Claire Falkenstein, Hannelore Baron, among others.
Frieze New York runs from 3-6 May at Randall’s Island Park. Find out more here.
1. Kapwani Kiwanga, pink-blue, 2017. Installation view at The Power Plant, Toronto, 2017. Courtesy Galerie Tanja Wagner.