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May 04, 2012

Four Galleries Not to Be Missed at Frieze

By Maud Doyle | Art, Arts + Culture

Frieze New York
© Linda Nylind / Courtesy Frieze Art Fair

It pays to be good-looking, and Frieze is in the business of looking good. A cut above other art fairs, Frieze is unique because it’s focused on the presentation of actual artwork. The serpentine white shell that houses the fair, designed by New York-based SO - IL architects, is part nod to the curved glass of Berlin’s Central Station, part blow-up stadium but mostly covered art market. On Thursday, the vast space was swarmed with dealers, critics and collectors for what they, unfortunately, call the “VVIP” previews, each looking to beat the crowds of more, shall we say, average art lovers sure to descend in the days following.

“What fairs do is create a marketplace,” confides Jane Cohan, the cofounder of VIP Art Fair, who attended Frieze yesterday with her husband James, who owns the James Cohan Gallery. “In the art world, marketplace is sort of a dirty word, but the Frieze organizers aim high.” Which is why it’s such a struggle for galleries to get approved by the secretive international panel of gallerists. Lucky for you, it’s the selectivity that makes your time there worthwhile. Of the 43 galleries that made it to Frieze for the first time, here are four favorites. friezenewyork.com


Cheim & Read

Representing the likes of Jenny Holzer, Louise Bourgeois and William Eggelston, Cheim & Read are hardly movers and shakers. But their emphasis on showing only the most tasteful work stands out. On their outer wall hangs a beautiful embroidered canvas by Ghada Amer—one of their lesser-known artists—and the Lynda Benglis melting in the corner is a soft, unobtrusive gray. The gallery’s calming display showcases the commercial art world at its best.


Misako & Rosen

A young gallery by any standards, Tokyo-based Misako & Rosen was founded in 2006. Exhibiting as part of Frame, the international single-artist section of Frieze for fledgling galleries, they introduced New York to the Japanese painter Shimon Minamikawa, who has managed to translate the buzzword “temporality” into something beautiful and compelling—with drawings that suspend time.


mother’s tankstation, Dublin

Also exhibiting as part of Frame, mother’s tankstation, was founded in 2006 in a renovated factory on the edge of old Dublin. Its exhibition of Matt Sheridan Smith’s ambiguous but arresting installation work stands out for its physical simplicity and the complexity of their evocations. Mundane objects become curiosities—silver-plated bread, a timeline drawn in rows of vases of purple irises—and shed light on the philosophy lurking behind the everyday.


White Columns

Founded in 1970 by artists Gordon Matta-Clark (who cut condemned buildings in two with a chain saw) and Jeffery Lew, this gallery self-identifies as New York’s oldest alternative art space. Despite the supposed bucking of politics and administration, they managed a wonderful showing for Frieze: The fibrous, bound sculptures of Judith Scott bring a welcome sense of color, texture and process.