The upcoming FRIEZE Art Fair in New York City is a good opportunity to reflect (briefly) on the crazy valuations of contemporary art and also on how the mega-fairs are affecting art galleries. The above image is the perfect example of the former. The unsigned, torn scrap of paper is going to be auctioned on May 13th in New York by Swann Auction Galleries, who estimate its value to be between $4,000 and $6,000. The artist who created this iconic image is, of course, Keith Haring, and his work is instantly recognizable, hence the high price for a fragment of a drawing that the auction catalogue describes as "accidentally destroyed by a falling ladder."
It's been said that the global rise of the mega-fairs like Frieze and Art Basel Miami is financially hurting the traditional, physical outlet for art and for launching new artists: the galleries. Of course many galleries are also exhibiting at the fairs, but are collectors just saving time and money by taking advantage of the "one-stop-shopping"? Or maybe everyone is caught up in the feeding-frenzy atmosphere at the fairs and they don't want to fly home without buying something. Meanwhile the fairs keep growing in size and expanding to more cities: we just received word that the forty-year-old FIAC fair, traditionally held annually in Paris, is going to lauch a spin-off in Los Angeles in May of 2015.
FRIEZE, held on Randall's Island, is the week's main event. This year's edition starts on May 8th with the collector's preview in the afternoon, the "Private View" from 6 to 9 p.m. in the evening, and then it's open to the public daily from the 9th thru the 12th. Tickets cost $43 (students $27) and the ferry from 35th Street on the East River is $19 r/t. There's also a bus from the Guggenheim (Fifth Avenue & 88th Street) for $7. On Monday, May 12, they are offering 1,000 tickets for $10, available only to people between 17 and 25. (The cheapest way to get there is probably to just walk over the footbridge at 103rd Street near the Target store.)
The fair itself will house over 190 international galleries and when you get hungry (or thirsty) stop at one of this year's pop-up restaurants including Blue Bottle Coffee, Furanku, Frankies Spuntino, Mission Cantina, Roberta's and The Fat Radish. There are also additional installations in the surrounding park, several side projects and talks with interesting people including two members of Pussy Riot on Friday at 4 p.m. And this year, if you are totally exhausted by a full day of art viewing and can't make it home, you can stay in their on-site hotel. "Al's Grand Hotel" is a re-imagining of an art project created by Allen Ruppersberg in 1971 in Los Angeles, and this version will include only 2 rooms available for overnight stays from May 8 to 12 for $350 a night. Just call 646 578 8471 to book.
NADA New York is back on Pier 36 at Basketball City (299 South Street) from May 9 to May 11 with a VIP preview from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on the 9th before it opens to the public the same day at 2 p.m. It's their third New York fair and over 70 galleries from 31 cities will be on hand. Be sure to look inside the black '64 Ford Galaxie parked outside the pier: it's a site-specific installation filled with art presented by Shoot The Lobster.
A fair that we loved last year, CUTLOG, returns to The Clement (107 Suffolk Street) on the Lower East Side. This French "boutique" fair includes over 40 galleries and curators and their VIP previews are on May 7th, and then it's open to the public Thursday thru Sunday. Tickets are $15 ($10 for students).
PULSE New York 2014 runs from May 8th to the 11th at The Metropolitan Pavilion (125 West 18th Street) with over 50 exhibitors. The PULSE prize will awarded to one of 15 nominees at 6 p.m. on Friday, May 9th. (In December, PULSE Miami Beach is moving from downtown Miami to Indian Creek Park (4601 Collins Avenue) on Miami Beach.)
The annual Outsider Art Fair is moving to FRIEZE-week this year and will run from May 8 to 11 at Center 548 (548 West 22nd Street), the former home of the Dia Foundation.Thursday's opening is a benefit for God's Love We Deliver and regular daily tickets are $20. Over 48 exhibitors are participating.
Making its debut in 2014 is the Downtown Fair produced by the folks behind Art Miami, and taking place at the 69th Regiment Armory (68 Lexington Avenue at 25th Street) from May 8 to 11.
The Contemporary Art Fair (269 11th Avenue), "a showcase of independent artists and designers," is also open from May 8 to 11 in the old site of The Tunnel nightclub in Chelsea.
The Pool Art Fair (11 Rivington Street) -- "the premiere fair in the US dedicated to unrepresented artists" -- is open May 9, 10 and 11 at Off SoHo Suites on the LES.
There are also several design fairs around town this week including the Collective 2 Design Fair (360 West 33rd Street) in the Skylight rooms at Moynihan Station open from May 8 - 11; and NYCxDESIGN with all of it's spin-offs (ICFF, WantedDesign, Sight Unseen and BKLYN Designs) running from May 9th to the 20th.