Frieze and TEFAF New York Highlights

After combing through gallery previews for Frieze and TEFAF, I wanted to share the highlights from both fairs before they open next week! Looking forward to attending.


Pedro Reyes
Torso, 2019

Sculpture in two parts:

Carrara marble 27 7/8 x 9 1/4 x 13 3/8 inches |  Volcanic stone 11 3/4 x 17 5/8 x 17 5/8 inches | White plinth: 29 1/2 x 17 5/8 x 17 5/8 inches

Owl, 2019

Carrara Marble | Sculpture: 11 x 4 1/4 x 4 1/4 inches, Wooden base: 58 3/4 x 11 3/4 x 12 1/2 inches

Pedro Reyes was born in Mexico City in 1972. He designs ongoing projects that propose playful solutions to social problems. From turning guns into musical instruments, to hosting a People’s United Nations to address pressing concerns, to offering ecologically-friendly grasshopper burgers from a food cart, Reyes transforms existing problems into ideas for a better world. In the artist’s hands, complex subjects like political and economic philosophies are reframed in ways that are easy to understand.


Olafur Eliasson
Meteorological rainbow circles, 2019

Colored mirrors | approx. dimensions 126 x 63 inches

Eliasson's matrix of elliptical and circular mirrors suggests a sequence of rotating discs that change color as they turn. The flow of colors across the mirrors, along both horizontal rows and vertical columns, presents a regular progression of hues along the spectrum of visible light, a subject that Eliasson has been exploring for many years through his Colour experiment paintings, large-scale installations, and other works.


Frank Bowling
Main & St. John, 1978/2018

Acrylic on collaged canvas | 49 x 33 1/8 inches

Now in his 80s, renowned British painter, Frank Bowling, has responded to his changing physical abilities by collaborating with family and friends in the studio. Still painting almost every day, he has not ceased to explore the nature and possibilities of paint and continues to experiment with a diverse selection of formal devices and processes, ranging from stitched canvas, to mixed media collage and poured paint. Reflecting his ongoing commitment to abstraction, Main & St John is a painting started by Bowling in 1978 and completed forty years later in 2018. Bowling's retrospective opens at the end of May at Tate Britain.


Jorge Méndez Blake
Dismantling Flaubert (Blibliomania) I, 2019

Acrylic on linen | 60 x 48 inches

“My work is a meditation of the possibilities and results of connecting architecture, classic literature and culture. My point of departure is always literature, authors and fiction, mainly classic easily recognizable authors, like Shakespeare, Marx, Doyle, Melville. From there I search for gaps or stories that are not completed or related with each other and use different media to make comments around them. My interest is to connect distant topics, objects and situations that you wouldn’t be supposed to see connected and find new meanings and exits around them."

- Jorge Mendez Blake


Cornelia Parker
Sawn Up Sawn Off Shotgun, 2015

Sawn off shotgun used by criminals, sawn up by police | Dimensions variable

Cornelia Parker (born 1956) is an artist who blends alchemical transformation with Dadaist absurdity. Her work often centres on the way violent actions create new forms. Sawn Up Sawn Off Shotgun, was sawn off by criminals and sawn up by the police.  By transforming items loaded with violence and disruption into harmless artefacts, Parker deals more obliquely with social ills.

Alter Ego (Trophies), 2018

Two silver-plated objects, one flattened by a 250 ton press, suspended on metal wire

Cornelia Parker's trophies are steamrollered by a 250-ton press into a flattened caricature of their former selves. The tail end of their connecting dishwires drifts upwards as though caught, stop-motion, during a downward fall. Parker encourages the anthropomorphic in her ongoing ‘Alter Ego’ series, where, referencing silver’s usage in mirrors (to help us see ourselves), an intact item of silverware is suspended above a squashed equivalent, its metaphorical shadow. Seemingly iconoclastic, Parker resurrects a new worth from these tired objects.


Alicja Kwade
Untitled (Wurmloch), 2019

Mirror polished copper, partially black patina, granite | 51 1/4 x 39 1/4 x 21 inches

Causal Emergence (January), 2019

Clock hands on cardboard | 70 1/4 x 70 1/4 x 3 inches

The work of Alicja Kwade is precise and concise, and questions reality, both visible and invisible, through materiality and the configuration of objects at a given time. A time that remains only one among the many possibilities of a non-static condition of reality. Her diverse practice is based around concepts of space, time, science and philosophy.


Olivia Erlanger
Pergusa, 2019

Silicone, Polystyrene foam, MDF, Plywood, Speedqueen washing machine (other options of installation available) | 18 x 40 x 20 inches

Olivia Erlanger’s work is concerned with systems of value, trade, and power and how these intersect with narrative and identity. Focusing on the archetype of chimeric women, Erlanger has produced three new mermaid tail sculptures that are housed in Speedqueen washing machines. The sculptures reflect on the ways in which women have to constantly shapeshift depending on their given context, and are simultaneously either sexualized or demonized. Additionally, the character of the mermaid can facilitate discussion regarding gender, speciesism and what defines ‘animal’. The sculptures address a trans-corporeality, interconnected with flows of substances and agencies of environments.


Xu Zhen
Experience - Venus de Milo, 2019

Bronze, paint | 81.5 x 27.56 x 23.5 inches

Xu Zhen's practice is committed to probe issues around the pretension of human condition, looking to upset and challenge the assumptions of established order. The new sculpture series “Experience” fuses digital media and cultural genes to create a new perspective on aesthetics and angle on media representation, as well as stimulate viewers’ visual memory through cultural experience. Experience - Venus de Milo presents an elaborated outline of the classic “Venus without arms”. Based on their own cultural experience, viewers can still clearly identify the source of the image.


Tomas Saraceno
Zonal Harmonic 2N 110/10, 2019

Carbon fiber, polyester rope, monofilament fishing line | 29 1/2 x 43 3/8 x 43 3/8 inches

Zonal Harmonic 2N 110/10 is situated within the artist’s interest in astronomical techniques and cosmological subjects. Composed of orbits held purely by their mutual tension, the sculpture examines the variations in speed and geometry of the trajectories of the celestial bodies and their relationship to one another in space and time. These works illustrate Saraceno’s fascination with naturally occurring systems of interconnectedness and constantly shifting structures, at once seemingly fragile, yet also a tightly coiled center for potential.


Laura Lima
Gília, 2019

Fabric, thread, wood, glass, paint, buttons | 29 x 22 1/4 x 5 inches

In Laura Lima’s recent exhibition, she presented her ongoing work Tailor Shop, a fully functioning workshop. Over the course of the exhibition, a team of local tailors work to produce a collection of garments, creating portraits that translate and interpret the artist’s ideas based on their own experiences and knowledge. The vestments created for each work are based off of abstract portrait drawings Lima has made of friends, family, historical figures, and people who have inspired her, and are titled after the first name of the individual.

Tailor Shop was first exhibited as part of the artist’s solo exhibition at the Bonnefanten Museum in Maastricht in the Netherlands, between 2014 and 2015, during which she was awarded the Bonnefanten Award for Contemporary Art. Most recently, Tailor Shop was presented at the Pinacoteca de São Paulo in Brazil in 2018. In each iteration, new portrait drawings are created by Lima. By working with local tailors, traces of their personal styles, influences, and techniques emerge, making each portrait unique and specific to its location and collaborators.


Analia Saban
Transcending Grid (Pleated Ink, Warm Gray), 2017

Ink and thread on wood panel Panel | 24 x 24 x 1 3/4 inches

Analia Saban dissects and reconfigures traditional notions of painting, often using the medium of paint as the subject itself. This body of work continues Saban's investigations into the relationship between paint, pigment and canvas. Starting with her research into the history of pigments and the composition of paint that she conducted during a residency at the Getty Conservation Institute in 2016, Saban has continued to change the relationship between paint and canvas.


Kelly Akashi
Flowing Figure (Hooked), 2019

Bronze, bronze wire, rope, hand-blown glass | 72 x 10 x 7 inches

Material tactility, its possibilities, limitations, and transformation form the core of Kelly Akashi's practice. Originally trained in analog photography, traditional processes and the materiality of documents continue to inform and fuel her sculptural explorations. Working in a variety of media, such as wax, bronze, fire, glass, silicone, copper, and rope, Akashi investigates the capacity and boundaries of these elements and their ability to construct and challenge conventional concepts of form. In Flowing Figure (Hooked), Akashi highlights the figuration of form moving through space, capturing the contrast and restriction of the materials. The hanging bronze hand becomes a functional object, acting as a hook to hold the hand-blown glass tube, but also referencing the scale of a figure.


Sayre Gomez
Untitled, 2019

Acrylic on canvas | 72 x 108 inches

Untitled, 2019

Acrylic on canvas | 80 x 30 inches

Doors, fences, and walls have been important recurring motifs in Gomez’s recent paintings, formal emblems of illusionism and the painted surface that carry a social charge in the era of nationalist barriers. Gomez pulls from wide ranging imagemaking techniques like Hollywood set painting and automotive airbrushing to create highly illusionistic scenes. These trompe l’oeil effects, however, intentionally never fully trick the eye; Gomez tips his hand with hyperreal objects and surreal surroundings that somehow don’t congeal, emphasizing the disjunction of image and place. The walls and doors, set flatly against the paintings’ surfaces, bar admittance just as readily as they draw viewers into their hyperreal scenes.


Alice Tippit
Sure, 2019

Oil on canvas | 16 x 13 inches

Short, 2019

Oil on canvas | 20 x 16 inches

Mercy, 2018

Oil on canvas | 23 x 21 inches

Unlike more fully abstract works in which countless referents can be “found,” Tippit’s semi-figurative paintings steer viewers toward particular readings, even if multiple ones. The paintings seem to ask us how meaning is made and how forms signify, and where the shifting line is between artist-supplied content and interpretation brought by the viewer.