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New York Frieze Week Gossip

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King mode

Visitors to Frieze New York are certainly fashionable and always fashionable, sporting the latest arty attire. Indeed, Los Angeles-based entertainer and animator Lyndon Barrois was turning heads with his ornate Basquiat coat featuring a striking figure of a man running along the back of the garment. “My wife bought it as a gift,” he said, while fielding numerous inquiries from other admiring visitors for the eye-catching coat. In a recent interview with Curly magazine, Barrois spoke about his stellar collection of works by artists such as Amoako Boafo and Diedrick Brackens, also encompassing an intriguing portrait of boxer and activist Muhammad Ali from 1975.

Hernan Bas, Concept Artist #19 (A child of the 80s, he places his Polaroid self-portraits in a familiar place whenever he feels lost) (detail, 2023) Courtesy of the artist and Lehmann Maupin, © 2023 Silvia Ros

Hernan Bas, magnetic

Among the various private views across Chelsea this week, we were wowed by Hernan Bas’s show at Lehmann Maupin presenting his new series The Conceptualists: Vol. II. These paintings depict mysterious young men who, Bas says, are all fictional concept artists. One of the works shows a pale young man holding up a Polaroid photo of himself in front of a fridge overflowing with milk cartons. “The work is reminiscent of those advertisements that appeared on milk cartons when I was a child, calling for missing children. This guy is emotionally lost,” Bas told us. The artist also revealed his love for flamingo magnets – he has 900 in total – which may one day appear in one of his works, he joked.

A visitor drinks water from one of Plan Your Vote’s ‘banned’ bottles, at Frieze New York Photo: © Alex Wroblewski

water for democracy

Thirsty visitors, thirsty from running through the aisles, can grab a free bottle of water on the top floor of Frieze New York this week. These nifty bottles, covered with the word “Banned”, raise eyebrows. But take a closer look and you’ll see that the water tanks have a QR code on them which, when scanned, links to planyourvote.org, an initiative co-created by the director of Frieze New York Christine Messineo, in partnership with the association vote.org dedicated to breaking down barriers to voting. Above all, the association’s website points out that “it is absurd that we can give out bottles of water at an art fair but not to people waiting in line to vote”, referring to the fact that Georgian lawmakers have passed a bill prohibiting the group from giving food or water to people waiting to vote. Also note that Banned bottles are really great durable containers if you need a jogging accessory.

Proud Professor Charles Gaines with the work of student Lauren Halsey Photo: Gareth Harris

Charles Gaines rents

There’s a buzz around dealer David Kordansky’s booth at Frieze New York which hosts a solo booth of works by current art superstar Lauren Halsey. Spotted among the many sailors was artist Charles Gaines. “I taught Lauren at the California Institute of the Arts,” he told Us. “You could tell something was going on. I am so happy for her. During Gaines’ 31-year career at CalArts, he mentored many black artists, including Mark Bradford, Rodney McMillian and Halsey whose gypsum prints and digital collages sold out on the first day of the fair.

Mónica Giron knitted cozy sweaters for our feathered friends Photo: Benjamin Sutton

The frieze is for the birds

Visitors to Frieze in search of truly heartwarming art need look no further than the Argentinian gallery Barro’s booth in the fair’s Focus section, which is dedicated to the artist’s 1993 series based on in Buenos Aires Monica Giron. Ajuar para un conquistador (Keychain for a conqueror). The project consists of merino wool sweaters, gloves and leggings that Giron has designed and knitted for tight-fitting bird species that travel through the frigid Patagonia region of South America, such as the Andean flamingo. The lovely outfits aren’t just fancy flights of fancy, though — each set of knitwear costs $40,000.

Fran Lebowitz speaks candidly at the Loewe Foundation Craft Prize event Photo: BFA


Fran Lebowitz was in typically spirited form earlier this week, presenting the Loewe Foundation Craft Award at the Noguchi Museum. The famed storyteller, known for her tongue-in-cheek take on the quirks of Manhattan, explained why she struggled a bit with the concept of the prize, telling Artnet News: “I asked Jonathan Anderson [Loewe’s creative director] why it’s called craft instead of art. Because in my opinion, let’s face it, the difference is really between usefulness and uselessness, and most of these things are useless, which makes art. Congratulations to the winner, Eriko Inazaki, who pockets €50,000. Each of the works shortlisted by 30 finalists will be exhibited in Isamu Noguchi’s studio at the Noguchi Museum (until June 18).

JR launches ‘JR Reality’ app in New York Courtesy of the artist

JR in AR

French street artist JR is expanding his empire in New York by launching an “AR community network” called JR Reality in the Big Apple which promises to be the largest digital participatory art project in the world. JR invites everyone with a “smartphone to create and contribute to AR murals that highlight the meaning that places in their communities have for them,” states a PR blurb. This awesome selfie project includes portraits and personal “audio clips”, creating augmented reality murals that “float” around Manhattan. This initiative is “powered” by the immersive art company Superblue. Perhaps art-world enthusiasts can create artistic photos around The Shed, home to Frieze New York.

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