New York soaks up al fresco culture at Frieze Sculpture

New York soaks up al fresco culture at Frieze Sculpture

The fair’s public art initiative pitches up at Rockefeller Center for its inaugural New York edition

Frieze New York will launch its eighth edition inside Universal Design Studio-designed tents on Randall’s Island on 2 May, but it’s off-site project Frieze Sculpture that is whetting fairgoers’ appetites ahead of the main event with a sprawl of public art across Rockefeller Center. The ambitious checklist of 20 artworks by 14 artists includes sculptures by Nick Cave, Sarah Sze, Walter De Maria, Joan Miró and Paolo Nazareth populating the historic Midtown Manhattan building and its pedestrian-packed plaza.

Curated by Brett Littman, director of the Noguchi Museum in Queens and former executive director of the Drawing Center in Soho, the inaugural New York edition of Frieze Sculpture is making the most of the neighbourhood’s rapid foot traffic, enticing locals and tourists alike with a smorgasbord of visual encounters. The striking sculptures tap into the social dynamic of its busy surroundings, weaving compelling narratives with the city’s vernacular architecture.

‘I was thinking about scale, verticality and horizontality; for some works you have to look up and some works you have to look down, and these also become strategies of engagement,’ Littman told us, adding, ‘What I didn’t want to do with this installation is fight against the urban backdrop, the architecture, and the crowds too much – that would be a losing battle in space like Rockefeller Center.’

Kiki Smith’s bronze female sculpture, Rest Upon (2009), dozes with a lamb at the plaza’s flower-lined entrance on Fifth Avenue, creating an interesting juxtaposition between the figure’s demure posture and its position amid the dense crowds. Elsewhere, Nick Cave’s Untitled (2018) morphs from a tenacious Black Power fist into a larger-than-life gramophone.

Arguably the most striking intervention is Ibrahim Mahama’s jute flags, waving in lieu of the 192 UN flags that normally encircle the Rockefeller Center’s iconic ice skating ring. The specially commissioned installation of fifty flags, crafted by the artist in his native Ghana from used cocoa bean bags, delivers a strong political punch, touching on themes of slavery, economic disparity and oppression. §

Sign up for the Amateur Photographer Newsletter

Sign up for the Motorboat and Yachting Newsletter

Sign up for the Cycling Weekly Newsletter

Sign up for the Amateur Gardening Newsletter

Sign up for the Country Life Newslettter

Sign up for the Decanter Asia DAWA Newsletter

Sign up for the Decanter China Newsletter

Sign up for the Decanter Daily Newsletter

Sign up for the Decanter Events newsletter

Sign up for the Decanter World Wine Awards DWWA Newsletter

Sign up for the Decanter Weekend Newsletter

Sign up for the Golf Monthly Newsletter

Sign up for the Horse & Hound Newsletter List

Sign up for the Ideal Home newsletter

Sign up for the Livingetc Newsletter

Sign up for the Mountain Bike Rider Newsletter

Sign up for the Marie Claire Daily

Sign up for the Magazines Direct Newsletter

Sign up for the Celebs Now Newsletter

Sign up for the Practical Boat Owner Newsletter

Sign up for the Sporting Gun Newsletter

Sign up for the Uncut Newsletter

Sign up for the Woman & Home Newsletter

Sign up for the Womans Weekly Brand Comms

Sign up for the Woman Newsletter

Wallpaper* Newsletter

Sign up for the World Soccer Newsletter

Sign up for the What's On TV Newsletter

Sign up for the Yachting Monthly Newsletter

Sign up for the ybwcom newsletter

Sign up for the ybwcom boats for sale Newsletter

Sign up for the Equo Organiser Newsletter

Sign up for the Equo Rider Newsletter

Sign up for the The Field Newsletter

Sign up for the Goodtoknow Generic Newsletter

Sign up for the Goodtoknow Recipes Newsletter

Sign up for the Life Death Prizes Newsletter

Sign up for the Rugby World Newsletter

Sign up for the Shooting Gazette Newsletter

Sign up for the Shooting Times Newsletter

Sign up for the ShootingUk Newsletter

Sign up for the Trusted Reviews Newsletter

Sign up for the Womans Own Newsletter

Sign up for the NME Daily Newsletter Newsletter

Sign up for the Decanter Master Events Newsletter

Sign up for the Goodtoknow BISS Newsletter

Sign up for the Yachting World Newsletter

Sign up for the Decanter Shanghai Events Newsletter

© TI Media Limited. Wallpaper* is part of TI Media Limited. All Rights Reserved.