Frieze LA: A Major Hit in Tinseltown

The inaugural Frieze LA in Tinseltown
The inaugural Frieze LA in Tinseltown

The inaugural Frieze LA brought a lot of buzz to the city’s artistic community. In fact, it charmed Tinseltown. During Frieze week, it attracted celebrities like Gwyneth Paltrow, Maria Sharapova, Billy Idol, Kanye West, and Leonardo DiCaprio among many others. Tickets sold out like hot cakes. I attended the first day, February 15th, at the magical setting of Paramount Studios in Los Angeles. Even with torrential rain, Angelenos, out of towners, civic leaders, celebs, artists, curators and critics were not deterred from seeing the long-awaited Los Angeles debut.

Upon entering Paramount Studios, you could not miss the gallery, as neon pink signs were everywhere to guide you towards the tent. The covered walkways, faux foliage, and a pink bench brought excitement as they ushered you in the direction of the main door. For a more delightful experience, you had the option of checking in your rain coats, umbrellas and extra baggage.

Artist: Mark A. Rodriguez, 3000 Grateful Dead bootleg tapes


The 62,000-square-foot tent consisted of 70 LA-based and international galleries. One that really caught my attention – because I’m a music aficionado – was the two wall-spanning wooden shelving units of 3,000 Grateful Dead bootleg tapes by Mark A. Rodriguez. Another one that garnered my aesthetic appreciation was Lawrence Weiner’s FLOTSAM + JETSAM & TAR & MOONSTONE, TAR & MOONSTONE & FLOTSAM + JETSAM, MOONSTONE & FLOTSAM + JETSAM & TAR (1992), which wrapped around the whole wall. Because I love text as art and pop art, I also loved Barbara Kruger’s Untitled (Stripe 1, 2019).

Artist: Paul McCarthy, “Daddies Tomato Ketchup”
Artist: Hannah Greely, “High and Dry, 2019″

Artist: Trulee Hall, “Infestation, 2019”

Another highlight of Frieze LA was the transformation of the New York City backlot. Storefronts and streetscapes were converted into pop-up shops, coffee houses and restaurants. Paul McCarthy’s “Daddies Tomato Ketchup” inflatable was an instant Instagram hit. McCarthy is considered to be one of the most groundbreaking contemporary American artists. Hannah Greely’s “High and Dry, 2019” was an absolute crowd-pleaser. The notable work of Trulee Hall, “Infestation, 2019” was truly imaginative: a green papier-mâché serpent that circled in and out of an unlit tenement building.

Beyond the gallery tent and the impressive outdoor installation in the New York backlot, the fair also included Frieze Talks, Frieze Music and screenings.

Bettina Korek was the Frieze LA Executive Director. Korek, a native of LA, brings more than 15 years of art world experience. In addition, Korek has coordinated the Participating Gallery program for the Getty’s Pacific Standard Time initiatives.

Kulapat Yantrasast, founder and creative director at wHY devised the successful indoor/outdoor large-scale plan at Paramount Studios.

With immersive artwork and sales, the inaugural Frieze Los Angeles created euphoria among the creative and Hollywood communities, uniting art and entertainment.

Deutsche Bank was the global lead partner of the first Frieze Los Angeles.

No doubt, the 3-day fair was a major hit.

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