Frieze Art Fair, Intersection of Culture and Art

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Frieze Art Fair, Intersection of Culture and Art

Author : Negin Kashfi

Reading Time : 15 Minutes

Frieze art fair is a well-known event and medium for introducing and selling contemporary artworks through executing national and international exhibitions that allow emerging artists to show their works. This event consists of international exhibitions, such as Frieze Los Angeles, Frieze London, Frieze Masters, Frieze New York, and Frieze Seoul, and three magazines called "Frieze Masters Magazine", "Frieze Magazine" and "Frieze Week". This article aims at brief introductions of every section to provide comprehensive information on Frieze. 


History of the Establishment of Frieze   

In 1991, Amanda Sharp, Matthew Slotover, and Tom Gidley published a unique magazine called "Frieze" which pioneered contemporary art and culture. As the magazine gained more fame, it helped to establish the Frieze art fair. In 2003, these members founded Frieze London to exhibit contemporary art. Frieze London opens at Regent's Park in October every year. The event was widely welcomed, so Frieze New York started in 2012, then in October, along with Frieze London, Frieze Masters started which concentrated on art from ancient to modern times. Frieze Los Angeles opened for the first time in February 2019 at Paramount Pictures Studios. In 2020, the event was held at the same place and had 3500 viewers.


Interior View of Frieze Los Angeles 2020. Photo by Casey Kelbaugh. Courtesy of Frieze

Frieze Los Angeles 

Frieze Los Angeles is a pioneering international art fair that opened for the first time in 2019. Christine Messineo is currently managing this event and is also supervising the execution of Frieze New York. With a fifteen-year background in the art world, Messineo, who had been the manager of Hannah Hoffman Gallery, is planning an idealistic program for Frieze Los Angeles in order to focus on artistic communities in every city. In Frieze Los Angeles and Frieze New York, he attempts to gather galleries, institutions, and artists to support, thus creating an opportunity for art to grow. Frieze focuses on contemporary art to support and preserve the artistic heritage, specifically the visual arts of Los Angeles. This event has been held two times; the next will open on February 17, 2022, at Beverly Hills Center, adjacent to the Beverly Hilton Hotel, located between the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts and the Hammer Museum and continues until February 20 with Kulapat Yantrasast as the architecture creative director and Mark Toman as the art director. This Frieze Los Angeles will host over one hundred important galleries from Los Angeles and all over the world.  

Dastan's Basement has physically presented the works of Yousha Bashir and Hoda Kashiha in Frieze Los Angeles and has also presented the works of Kiarash Alimi, Bita Fayyazi, Farrokh Mahdavi, and Mamali Shafahi online. In addition, Manoucher Yektai, Nasim Hantehzadeh, and Rosha Yaghmai have been presented at Frieze Los Angeles by Karma Gallery, The Pit Gallery, and Kayne Griffin respectively. 


Manoucher Yektai | Untitled | 1974 | oil on canvas | 112 × 102 cm | Source: Frieze


Focus LA 

Focus LA section in Frieze Los Angeles 2022 is assigned to galleries with up to fifteen years of activity background. Amanda Hunt, Director of Public Programs & Creative Practice at Lucas Museum, is the art director of this section. She plans to put artworks from eleven young galleries on display at the upcoming Frieze Los Angeles event. The following galleries will be present in this section for the first time: Baert, Garden, Gattopardo, Marta, and Stars. Bel Ami, Charlie James, and Parker are the galleries that will attend this section again.   

Rodrigo Valenzuela | Afterwork #17 | 2021 | archival pigment print mounted on Dibond | Image copyright:


Overall, Frieze Los Angeles 2022 has consisted of a series of important galleries from all over the world, such as Blum & Poe, The Box, Château Shatto, David Kordansky, and Regen Projects. The event also hosts first-time attendants including Bortolami, Carlos Ishikawa, Pilar Corrias, Emalin, Stephen Friedman, Alison Jacques, Jenkins Johnson Gallery, Sean Kelly, and Galerie Lelong & Co.  

Hunt has been in contact with artists in Los Angeles since 2010; because she believed Los Angeles is full of emerging artists and rich cultures. She has followed her interest in exploring the world by curatorial activities and finding silent voices in the margins of the art world. Hunt invites writers and experimental artists to create the opportunity to discuss and represent the matter of relationship with nature, handicrafts, and the correlation between the labor force and society. All artworks are about the labor force, cultural identity, and the living environment. Artists in this section use different materials, such as ceramics and photos, in combination with different uses. Some artists' attention is directed towards labor and industry; like the recent photo series of Rodrigo Valenzuela. He deals with the working class, their problems, migration, and protests. The series included strange photos that indicated the production of steel for the first time; that is when workers had turned into objects.


Sarah Rosalena Brady | Garden Gallery | Image copyright:


Sarah Rosalena Brady is another conceptual artist in this section who uses indigenous handcraft traditions, such as beadwork, textiles, and ceramics, to create artworks similar to NASA photos of the universe to remind the viewer of the Big Bang and the initial phase of the universe.  

Melvino Garretti, another conceptual artist, creates figures with ceramics and textiles, some of which are going to be exhibited for the first time. Garretti, one of the first members of Watts Studio in the middle of 1960s, was a pioneering artist who emerged from an artistic period of creativity and experimentation among the black people. Amia Yokoyama is another artist who is inspired by Chinese myths and represents them in a post-internet era.  

Another part of Focus LA is assigned to women artists, including Camille Henrot, Tania Candiani who creates embroidery paintings, Joan Semmel, Suzanne Jackson, Minjung Kim, who illustrates with black ink on paper the traditions of eastern Asia connected to the Western culture, and prominent Brazilian artist, Amelia Toledo


Amelia Toledo, Courtesy of Nara Roesler


Frieze Los Angeles has established a system for ticket sales, visiting, tours, and membership forms. Visitors will not be allowed to carry personal belongings and pets within the exhibition area. The event's space will be divided into separate parts to host over one hundred galleries. Attending galleries have submitted the request forms to the executive team between May and August. Regarding the presence of numerous galleries at the event, Frieze has planned solutions to prevent any confusion for the viewers during their visit:  

1. Waiting Room: an application that shows a list of present galleries to the visitors before the event's opening. It helps visitors plan their visiting direction.   

2. Exclusive Room for galleries: each gallery is supposed to present detailed information about the artworks on display for the visitors to experience the facilitated process of decision-making. Prices of the exhibited artworks are also mentioned in this room. Visitors can save each room to their application and submit their information for contacting the galleries. After visiting, it is possible to either mark or delete the gallery. All transactions are conducted directly between the gallery and the visitor; Frieze does not intervene.  

3. Guiding Tours: Frieze has various tour programs for which visitors can sign up based on their plan. This way they can experience an organized visit and acquire comprehensive information about the artworks. One of the most notable tour programs is the collectors tour which allows people interested in collecting artworks to get accompanied by experts in this field. Each tour takes about two hours and is planned according to the visitor's interest and budget. 


Art: Live 

Art: Live is another section of Frieze Los Angeles in which the recent advances in art and culture are presented through live video content. In addition, discussion meetings are programmed for experts to criticize the artworks. Kehinde Wiley, a famous visual artist, is the supervisor of this section. He aims at challenging political-historical narratives and redirecting social issues.  

Frieze London | Source: The Telegraph


Frieze London 

Frieze London is among the few events that concentrate on contemporary art and artworks by living artists who are currently working and most of them are just emerging. Discussions with artists are usually organized to talk about the formation of their ideas and the way they performed the process of creation. Frieze London is held in the center of the city and is considered an international stage for arts. During the past years, the event has had over sixty thousand visitors including artists, curators, collectors, critics, and ordinary people. The architecture of the venue was designed between 2011 and 2013 by Carmody Groarke, the winner of the "Young Architect of the Year" award. Since 2014, Universal Creative Design Studio of London has been holding the event. Galleries planning to attend each year's event must submit their request form in January. According to the event rules, Frieze's chiefs do not have the right to vote in the process of choosing galleries.  

Frieze London 2022, which coincides with Frieze Masters, will open on October 14 and will continue until 16 with Eva Langret as the manager. It is located in the south of The Regent's Park, with the entrance off Park Square West. The event will include, in addition to the main section, a thematic section which is managed by Sandhini Poddar, art historian and director of Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum.  

Focus is the name of another section of this event which is assigned to galleries with a little experimental background in exhibitions. These galleries modify their goals and adapt to new conditions of the event each year. Another section is assigned to pioneering publishers to introduce publications related to contemporary art. A space called "Reading Room" is designed for visitors to view and purchase up-to-date artistic publications. "Frieze Talks" is one of the most impressive sections of the event in which online daily meetings and discussions are organized between famous members of the art world, philosophers, theoreticians, and critics. Jeppe Ugelvig was the manager of this section in 2021. These online talks deal with new and stable relations between artists and interdisciplinary arts.   

There are three options for those who cannot visit this event:  

  1. Viewing Room: visiting artworks online between October 13 and 17   

  2. Recorded files, articles, and videos on Frieze website  

  3. Essential guide section in Frieze Week magazine 


Frieze Masters | Photographer: Benjamin Westoby | Image copyright:

Frieze Masters 

Frieze Masters uniquely presents historical art, antique objects, and the most important masterpieces in the history of art. This exhibition is organized by Annabelle Selldorf who designed a modern space within which ancient and modern arts could be displayed next to each other. The relation between historical and contemporary art is discussed during the research sessions. In 2021, Nicholas Cullinan was the manager of these sessions. Nathan Clements Gillespie will be the manager of Frieze Masters 2022 which will open on October 12 at Regent's Park and will continue until October 16. Although Frieze Masters and Frieze London have similarities in their structure and organization, there is an important difference between them: Frieze London focuses on contemporary art after 2000; Frieze Masters covers the relation between history and contemporary art before 2000. Notably, the distance between Frieze Masters and Frieze London is about 15 minutes and a sculpture called "Frieze Sculpture" located at Regent's Park is what connects the two events.   

Frieze Masters consists of three sections: Main Section, Spotlight, and Stand Out. 

The main section includes commercial galleries and main pavilions that display works in the field of ancient art and ethnography.   

Spotlight is assigned to introduce unknown artists who work individually. This section was suggested by pioneering artists and prominent curators to find young talents, such as Laura Hoptman (Administration manager, Design Center), Toby Kamps (Manager of Foreign Projects at White Cube), and Clara M. Kim (Senior curator of international, African, Asian and Middle Eastern art at Tate London).  

Luke Syson (Manager of the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge) is the manager of Stand Out section. Artworks, drawings, and sculptures belonging to different ages are collected in this section. Stand Out is aimed at reviewing the concept of decorative and applied arts.


Installation view of Annette Messager at Marian Goodman Gallery at Frieze New York. Photo: Courtesy of Frieze


Frieze New York 

Frieze New York is an international event that introduces and performs solo, group, and thematic exhibitions through exact and innovative scheduling with Rebecca Ann Siegel as the administration manager and Loring Randolph in charge of the organizational management. Regarding its function and structure, Frieze New York is similar to Frieze London and Frieze Los Angeles. Galleries planning to attend this event will be checked and selected by the executive board after their submission of the request forms. Frieze New York consists of "Main" and "Frame" sections. The Frame section, with Olivia Barrett and Sophie Mörner as managers, concentrates on introducing galleries with less than ten years of activity background. In addition, Frieze New York has planned a prize called "Frieze Artist Award" to discover new artists through international calls. The prize is sponsored by Luma Foundation.   


Frieze Seoul  

The first international event of Frieze Seoul will be held between September 2 to 5, 2022, in partnership with Korea's Union of Galleries with Dal-Seung Hwang as the union manager. Patrik Lee will be the manager of Frieze Seoul 2022. The event will be held at COEX in Gangnam district and aims at presenting the improvements in urban culture and art and also expanding Frieze's domain of activity. Frieze Seoul is founded along with Kiaf SEOUL, which is a prominent art fair in South Korea and has displayed artworks from the most important galleries of this country during its twenty years of activity. Now, these two events together will present artworks from galleries around Asia for domestic and foreign visitors. Artworks of one hundred galleries will be exhibited.  

Frieze Seoul consists of three sections:  

Main: organized display of artworks by attending galleries.

Focus Asia: this section focuses on solo exhibitions of artists from Asian galleries that opened in 2010 or later.   

Frieze Masters: displays artworks created before 2000 and ancient art. This section is supported and supervised by Frieze Masters Committee and artworks are selected by this team to be exhibited at the event.   


Frieze Publications  

As Frieze art fairs start their activity each year, three magazines are published to provide viewers with comprehensive information:  

• "Frieze Week": it is the name of one of Frieze magazines and is also a name for the week during which Frieze art fairs are held in London, New York, and Los Angeles. Frieze week includes the opening of galleries, museums, exhibitions, and other events directly related to these art fairs. Frieze Week magazine was first published in 2016 as Frieze New York was being held. The magazine is published every year and introduces all cultural events being executed during the Frieze week. Galleries and commercial institutions can use this media for their promotional purposes.   

• "Frieze Magazine": it was founded in London in 1991. It includes articles, profiles, interviews, information about writers, and introducing prominent artists. Viewers should request membership via Frieze website to access the magazine.   

• "Frieze Masters Magazine": it is an annual magazine, with Jennifer Higgie as the editor, which investigates historical art through contemporary viewpoints. The magazine includes subjects such as exhibited artworks, galleries, and preservation of the artworks.   


Cover image:

Slider image: Graham Carlow, Image copyright: Frieze, Source: