Frieze Los Angeles 2019 preview: will the art fair get its big Hollywood break?

Paramount Studios in Los Angeles
The inaugural edition of Frieze Los Angeles will take place at Paramount Studios.
(Image credit: Courtesy of Paramount)

Frieze is hoping to make it in Hollywood with the art fair’s inaugural Los Angeles edition, which launches at Paramount Pictures Studios from 14 – 17 February. But can it catch its big break in the city of broken dreams? Paris Photo Los Angeles was shelved after three years due to low sales (in the same venue as the forthcoming Frieze no less), while FIAC’s ill-fated offshoot never made it past development. Still, what is Los Angeles without the perennial doe-eyed optimism it elicits?

Freshly minted executive director Bettina Korek along with Frieze Fairs director Victoria Siddall are boldly looking to fix Los Angeles firmly on the global art world calendar. Bolstered by a star-studded host committee that also includes art-world heavyweights, Frieze Los Angeles has tapped wHY architect Kulapat Yantrasast – who follows in the footsteps of David Adjaye, Annabelle Selldorf and Caruso St John – to design a bespoke structure, which will be realised as a series of spatial experiences that play on being ‘backstage on set’.

Los Angeles is on the cusp of a fresh artistic boom, with the city increasingly populated by creative exiles from New York, San Francisco and further afield while Renzo Piano’s Wallpaper* Design Award-winning Academy Museum of Motion Pictures is set to open this year. Could 2019 finally be the city’s tipping point? It may well be. Here, we round up what to see during Frieze Los Angeles…

Gallery highlights
With 70 galleries in its line-up, Frieze Los Angeles is significantly leaner, more focused and intimate than its New York and London siblings – a blessed relief given the bloated art fair circuit. There’s a healthy dose of American galleries, especially those with outposts in LA including Kayne Griffin Corcoran, Matthew Marks Gallery, David Kordansky Gallery, and Blum & Poe. Blue-chip stalwarts Gagosian, Lévy Gorvy, Hauser & Wirth, David Zwirner, and White Cube are also in the mix, as is a strong East Coast contingent, with 303 Gallery, Jeffrey Deitch, Gavin Brown’s Enterprise and Salon 94 among them.

Chromogenic transparency on acrylic in aluminium lightbox with LEDs.

[Not yet titled], 2018, by Doug Aitken, chromogenic transparency on acrylic in aluminium lightbox with LEDs. 

(Image credit: Courtesy of the artist and 303 Gallery)

Frieze Projects
Barbara Kruger and Tino Sehgal are among the artists who have been invited by curator Ali Subotnick (formerly of LA’s Hammer Museum) to create site-specific installations responding to the backlot film set of Paramount Pictures Studios. Channeling its cinematic setting, Frieze Projects will conjure an artificial New York City within Los Angeles. Cayetano Ferrer’s dynamic wall piece evokes the East Coast city’s vernacular architecture and signage, while Paul McCarthy presents a monumental, inflatable intervention in the backlot’s financial district. Elsewhere, Lisa Anne Auerbach will take up residence in a brownstone apartment where she is offering her services as a psychic art advisor (free appointments can be booked here).

Psychic Center of Los Angeles [from American Megazine 2], 2014, by Lisa Anne Auerbach.

Psychic Center of Los Angeles [from American Megazine 2], 2014, by Lisa Anne Auerbach. 

(Image credit: Courtesty of the artist and Gavlak)

Satellite art fairs
A short drive from Frieze (by LA standards, anyways), the maiden edition of Felix LA art fair (14-17 February) will be staged within the private suites and bungalows of The Hollywood Roosevelt hotel. The homegrown fair Felix LA was co-founded by locals Dean Valentine, Al Morán and Mills Morán, who are bringing a ‘community-driven approach’ to their 40-strong showcase of exhibitors that include M+B, Bortolami and Nino Maier. Marking its tenth year, Art Los Angeles Contemporary (14-17 February) – which takes place inside a sprawling 40,000 sq m performing arts theatre in Santa Monica – has proved its staying power. Over in Venice, The Kinney hosts stARTup Art Fair LA (15-17 February), connecting collectors with independent artists in a boutique hotel setting.

Grand Slam (ultramarine board, violet bar, black ace point, light green point), 2018, by Zak Kitnick

Grand Slam (ultramarine board, violet bar, black ace point, light green point), 2018, by Zak Kitnick, Flashe and UV sealant on framed panel. 

(Image credit: Courtesy of the artist and Clearing)

Museum exhibitions
What Los Angeles lacks in fairs, it more than makes up for in world-thinking art institutions. The Marciano Foundation is currently staging Ai Weiwei’s first major institutional exhibition in the city with a brand new piece about the global refugee crisis (until 3 March); Robert Rauschenberg’s monumental The 1/4 Mile or 2 Furlong Piece (1981–98), which took 17 years to create, is worth a visit to LACMA (on view until 9 June) as its exhibition on Californian graphic design (until 21 April); and Vietnamese collective The Propeller Group have their first ever showing in LA at Luckman Fine Arts Complex (until 9 March). 


Frieze Los Angeles runs from 14-17 February. For more information, visit the Frieze website


Paramount Pictures Studio
5515 Melrose Avenue
Los Angeles