Frieze Art Fair 2021

Our 15 Favorite Artists From This Year’s Hybrid Frieze Art Fair

The Frieze Art Fair returned to New York last week — both as the first art fair to launch an in-person component since everything shut down last spring and as a virtual viewing room. I took the time to browse both, and while I have many opinions about this year’s hybrid model, let me start by stating the obvious: I am not the intended demographic for a luxury fair like this. I have neither the means nor the interest to purchase art at this scale, and, for better or worse, a fair like Frieze is all about buying — particularly in a year such as this one, when the option to mount a physical booth all but forces galleries to put their most saleable items on view (in most cases, this translates to paintings). In my ideal, art-through-a-design-lens, pandemic-less world, Frieze — and other fairs like it — would show a more equitable mix of two- and three-dimensional works, the artists themselves would be on-hand to educate visitors and press about their process, and we would all be taking a gloriously sunny ferry to Randall’s Island instead of hanging out in the shadow of a failed mall in Hudson Yards.

That said, there was plenty to like about this year’s fair. At The Shed, my favorite booth was a sold-out solo effort by the Chicago-based artist Caroline Kent at Casey Kaplan. Kent, a multi-disciplinary artist and an identical twin, “revisits an ongoing motif of two fictitious twin sisters, Victoria and Veronica, who communicate through art objects. Kent considers the visual representation of non-verbal exchanges between the twins, a shared language predicated on kinship and intimacy in which one sister finishes the other’s thoughts with a gesture of the hand.” Another favorite was a sculptural work by Lydia Benglis at Mendes Wood DM, made from cast sparkles and chicken wire; it sold for $125,000. Online, I particularly liked Joshua Abelow, whose geometric, oil-on-linen paintings are a precursor to a solo show at New York’s Magenta Plains later this month. Take a tour through the rest of our picks below.

Top: Selma Parlour for Pi Artworks

Caroline Kent at Casey Kaplan Gallery

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Joshua Abelow at Magenta Plains

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Mendes Wood DM


Eleanore Koch

Lynda Benglis, Sb#1, 2017, cast sparkles on handmade paper over chicken wire, 44" × 13" × 13" (111.8 cm × 33 cm × 33 cm), #72625, Alt # BE.39255,LY.05994, Format of original photography: High Res TIFF

Lydia Benglis

Justine Hill at The Pit LA

Justine Hill 1 Justine Hill 2

Barry Yusufu at The Breeder

Barry Yusufu, Lady for cotton_The Breeder

Ketuta Alexi-Meskhishvili at Galerie Frank Elbaz


Gabriel Orozco at kurimanzutto

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Bernard Frize at Perrotin

#9-Bernard Frize

Suyoung Kim at One and J. Gallery

Suyoung Kim, Work No. 50, 187x200cm, Oil on canvas, 2017. Courtesy of ONE AND J. Gallery Suyoung Kim, Work No. 52, 129.5x143.5cm, Oil on canvas, 2018. Courtesy of ONE AND J. Gallery Suyoung Kim, Work No. 51, 190x170cm, Oil on canvas, 2017. Courtesy of ONE AND J. Gallery

Matvey Levenstein at Galleria Lorcan O’Neill

LEVENSTEIN - R003661 - Flowers In Interior, 2017 - Galleria Lorcan O'Neill LEVENSTEIN - R003653 - Lola, 2017 - Galleria Lorcan O'Neill

Anton Kern Gallery

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Jim Lambie

AK#19471_KOH_Time Will Tell_2019

Hein Koh

Pedro Reyes at Galeria Luisa Strina

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