Two years ago, Frieze LA mounted what turned out to be the last traditional art fair the art world has known since the pandemic. And almost exactly two years later, Frieze LA is here to welcome fairgoers back. Its third edition, at a new venue adjacent to the Beverly Hilton Hotel, is bigger than ever. Whereas its typically larger New York counterpart enlisted just a little over 60 galleries for its comeback last year, Frieze LA has upped its number to more than 100. According to Christine Messineo, the newly-appointed director of Frieze Los Angeles and New York, that number is actually pretty manageable. “You’ll be able to spend half a day at the fair and feel like you were pretty thorough,” she says.
The main Frieze tent is just one of the many attractions that will make up what’s unofficially known as Frieze LA Week. Between adjacent fairs like Felix and Spring Break and the many strategically timed gallery openings, we wouldn’t be surprised if you forgot to keep an eye out for celeb attendees like Brad Pitt. Here, a guide to all the goings-on you’d do best not to miss.
Betye Saar at Frieze LA
For the second time in just over two months, 95-year-old Betye Saar is set to be the star of a major fair. Fresh from opening her acclaimed ICA Miami retrospective during Art Basel Miami Beach, Saar has been onsite at Frieze LA recreating her 1983 mural L.A. Energy. The Culver City-based gallery Roberts Projects considers it the highlight of their diversity- and inclusivity-themed booth, which will also feature paintings by Amoako Boafo and Kehinde Wiley.
Calida Rawles at Hollywood Park
The artist Calida Rawles has managed to bring together Frieze LA, New York Fashion Week, and the Super Bowl in a mural of her own. For the artist’s first public art piece, one of her signature Black figures immersed in turquoise water will loom large at Hollywood Park in Rawles’ native Inglewood, a stone’s throw away from SoFi Stadium. The New York designer Christopher John Rogers designed a flowing yellow dress specifically for Rawles’ painting, which also features jewelry by Almasika.
“Luncheon on the Grass” at Jeffrey Deitch
Jeffrey Deitch has invited more than 30 of today’s most acclaimed painters to follow in the footsteps of forebears like Monet and Picasso by responding to Manet’s 1863 masterpiece Le Déjeuner sur l’herbe. Most of the works were created specifically for the exhibition, which runs from February 19 to April 23. Participants include Kehinde Wiley, Paul McCarthy, Sam McKinniss, Nina Chanel Abney, Mickalene Thomas, Tschabalala Self, and Naudline Pierre.
BIPOC Exchange at Frieze LA
Frieze’s Messineo believes that some of the most exciting participants in this year’s fair are outside the blue chip sphere. The artist Tanya Aguiñiga has brought together 10 BIPOC artist-led social impact organizations from across the city to form what Frieze LA is officially billing as a “radical” communal space. Aguiñiga has a deep background in highlighting sociopolitics in art—offerings include ceramics made by formerly incarcerated women who have trained with the People’s Pottery Project, and works by artists who regularly cross the border. (Aguiñiga, who crossed the border on a daily basis herself, while getting her education in the U.S. over 14 years while living in Tijuana, formed a nonprofit catering to such artists.)
Martine Syms at Prada Mode
On February 16 and 17, VIPs can seek refuge at what’s so far only the second edition of Prada Mode in the U.S. The house’s ultra-exclusive members-only pop-up will take over the West Hollywood restaurant and music venue Genghis Cohen with an immersive, interactive environment titled “HelLA World,” by Martine Syms. (The video artist memorably documented Miuccia Prada’s final solo Prada outing before Raf Simons came on board in 2020.) Syms will also participate in Prada Mode’s ongoing artist conversation series, joining Garrett Bradley and Diamond Stingily for a chat before the fun continues late into the night with DJ sets from Kyle Hall, Acyde, and Femi.
Laurie Kang at Horizon Art Foundation
It only took four months after ending his acclaimed tenure at the Whitney Museum of American Art for Christopher Y. Lew to get back on the scene. The curator is back as the chief artistic director of Horizon Art Foundation, the newly opened residency program in Downtown Los Angeles that will offer four international emerging and mid-career artists a place to experiment each year. Toronto-based Laurie Kang is up first, and followed by Phillip John Velasco Gabriel, Sara Cwynar, and Ilana Savdie.
Josh Kline at LAXART
Of all the shows and events taking place alongside Frieze LA, Lew considers Josh Kline’s first institutional solo exhibition in Los Angeles among the most exciting. “Adaptation,” which will be on view at LAXART from February 12 to April 9, marks the U.S. premiere of Kline’s 16mm film Adaptation, which tackles climate change via a near-future waterlogged New York City.
47 Canal and Commonwealth & Council at Frieze LA
Kline’s longtime gallery, 47 Canal, which is based in Tribeca, is again bridging the coastal gap by teaming up with L.A.’s Commonwealth & Council. The galleries’ first joint Frieze booth has something for everyone: photographs, by way of Elle Pérez; installations, by way of Stewart Uoo; and sculptures, by way of Anicka Yi. And that’s just to name a few: Works by Ajay Kurian, Cayetano Ferrer, Guadalupe Rosales, Katie Grinnan, Leslie Martinez, Suki Seokyeong Kang, and Amy Lien & Enzo Camacho are also featured.
Raqib Shaw at Dries Van Noten
On the heels of its partnership with Half Gallery on a showing of Rene Ricardo, the Dries Van Noten venue known as “The Little House” will play host to Raqib Shaw’s “Tales From an Urban Garden” from February 16 to March 26. While inspired by the grounds that Shaw’s mother maintained during his childhood in Kashmir, the verdant scenes inShaw’s paintings are in fact reimaginings of the empty lot next to his South London studio. Jeffrey Deitch, who was the first to show Shaw’s work in the U.S., in 2005, has partnered with Van Noten on the exhibition, along with London’s White Cube.
“New Construction” at the Hole
New York’s The Hole is officially expanding to the West Coast, and you can see so for yourself in real time, on February 15. The gallery will open its third permanent space with a two-hour live “group show,” which is really the installation of its inaugural exhibition, “New Construction,” opening that same day. The roughly two dozen artists featured include FriendsWithYou, Misaki Kawai, and Aurel Schmidt.
Tiwa Select at Farago
Photographer (and W contributor) Max Farago is reopening his eponymous gallery, Farago, with a little help from Alex Tieghi-Walker, the tastemaker behind the L.A.-based gallery and online platform Tiwa Select. The pair has joined forces on a group exhibition titled “Everyday Rituals,” a showcase of makers with less conventional paths to art and lesser-known artists they consider visionaries. Participants include Michael Lindsay-Hogg, director of the long-lost Beatles documentary Let It Be, and Jim McDowell, aka the Black Potter.
Felix LA at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel
As if all that weren’t enough, Frieze LA’s cool little sister, Felix Art Fair, has enlisted 60 galleries for its third international edition, which also runs February 17-20. Fortunately for those prone to fair fatigue, founders Dean Valentine, Al Morán, and Mills Morán have eschewed a tent in favor of something of a scavenger hunt across two floors of hotel rooms at the Hollywood Roosevelt, as well as the cabanas surrounding its David Hockney-painted pool. Per usual, exhibitors pay for the hotel rooms rather than pricy exhibition booths, allowing for upstarts to join the likes of Clearing, Kasmin, Canada, White Columns, and P·P·O·W.
Spring/Break Art Show at Skylight Culver City
Just 15 minutes away from the main fair, at Spring/Break Art Show’s third L.A. edition, things will get even more untraditional. Its freewheeling founders, Ambre Kelly and Andrew Gori, continue to partner with Skylight Studios on sourcing “exhibition-atypical locales,” the latest of which is a 30,000 square foot former factory in Culver City that will play host to 50 immersive installations over the same three-day time period. This year, Search Party star Alia Shawkat will join the fray. Her first official solo L.A. showing will take the form of a “working studio,” where the actor and longtime painter will create new works on site alongside her childhood friend, the artist Maria Gajardo.