As I worked my way through the tangle of airy booths in the massive tent at the Frieze New York Art Fair once again yesterday, I had the strong sense of being here before, of following these very same paths (and standing over the very same air conditioning grates) in a kind of time warp, almost like a modified refrain of Talking Heads lyrics (And you may ask yourself … how did I get here?)
As the years pile up, there is a sameness to this process of fair going that drives my eye more and more to works that stick out from the backdrop of uniformity – my search now seems to be for outliers, for the brand new and the rediscovered old. The photography at Frieze is always a blend – it’s mixed in with the larger body of contemporary art on an equal footing, with no specialist photography galleries in attendance, making the search for intriguing pictures a bit more of treasure hunt. While spotting trends is always a fool’s game at these kinds of events, I felt a resurgent pulse of smart 1970s feminism/performance coming out this year, with Carolee Schneemann, Lynn Hershman Leeson, Linder, Anna Bella Geiger, and others combining to broaden their historical importance and influence. I also find myself increasingly drawn to the Asian, Middle Eastern, and Latin American galleries that we don’t see as often, as they fill in important gaps in the overall photographic record.
This report is divided into three sections of image highlights, shown in annotated slideshows. I have tried to avoid works that have recently been on view in New York gallery shows or that we have already reviewed in another context, but there are always a few duplicates, as galleries tend to show off their recent material. Gallery names/links are followed by the artist/photographer name, the price of the work, and some notes and comments as appropriate. The booths are loosely organized by my path through the fair, beginning at the South entrance.