Manjari Sihare on the inaugural Frieze Art Fair in New York
New York: May saw New York host its first edition of the Frieze Art Fair, where an eclectic selection of 180 galleries from around 30 countries represented what is considered the best of the global contemporary art scene. With the London edition of this fair always held in the city’s famous Regent’s Park, one expected New York to host its version in the bustling Chelsea district or Central Park; instead the Fair was held in the obscure expanse of Randall’s Island Park, an off-shoot island separating the East and Harlem rivers, accessible to visitors by ferry. We found the layout of the Fair to be refreshing compared to the city’s annual Armory Show, which is held in the Piers and has everyone cramming for space. The fair’s signature tent was designed like a stretch limo overlooking the Manhattan skyline.
Like its London counterpart, this fair was touted as highly international, but turned out to be mostly European and American with only a handful of Asian galleries and an almost negligible African and Middle Eastern component. The “Frames” section showcased solo shows of artists represented by galleries in inception from 2001 onwards, providing a kind of edginess.
Here is a peak into the South Asian component of the Fair!
For this inaugural fair, Frieze commissioned select artists to create large-scale outdoor installations themed around the unusual location of the Randall’s Island. Each of these works responded to the island in one way or the other. Among key pieces were Kolkata based artist Rathin Barman’s Untitled work based on an aerial image of Randall’s Island and the surrounding mainland of New York City available on Google Maps. We spoke to Prateek Raja of Experimenter Gallery about this work and the gallery’s booth, the only Indian gallery to showcase at the fair. The Experimenter booth also scored a congratulatory mention in NY Times critic Holland Cotter’s preview of the fair. Barman was in the company of several greats in the Sculpture Park including Louise Bourgeois, Tomas Saraceno and Subodh Gupta. His installation has been supported by the Creative India Foundation.
For an overview of the Fair by art consultant and author, Amrita Jhaveri, watch –