As long as my wife’s patience allows, the couch cushion fort in the living room will keep its structural integrity and we’ll refer to it as the Frieze Art Fair. I write for no less than two national magazines. Yet, I still lack the means to abandon my day job or even pull out of muggy artless Tampa and into New York City for any amount of time. Thus, I’m typing this from (as my wife insists on surrounding with air quotes) the “art fair” currently in my living room.
A single word to describe my initial impression of this year’s fair: shabby. The grounds resemble a bourgeois hobo-camp. This may be due to Frieze New York’s relative youth as an art fair or even the recent labor debacle. To be fair, however, the fair’s shoddy presentation is likely my fault: the booths mostly consist of ink-jet printouts Scotch taped to my love seat cushions.
Despite the appearance, Frieze New York does not lack its highlights. Bjarne Melgaard’s colorful paintings of face-like abstractions stand out in his purple-walled installation…or so I’m told. Though the walls here are tan microfiber suede, the paintings still retain a certain charm on 100% recycled eight and a half by eleven.
Also, a verbal description of Paul McCarthy’s 80 foot tall balloon dog lies on the floor at the entrance of the living room. While it lacks the larger-than-life character of its New York counterpart, the couch cushion McCarthy is at least less derivative of Jeff Koons.
However, the collecting fervor of past years has noticeably cooled off. In fact, purchases have ground to a complete halt. My wife is persistent in refusing to consider the work found in the fort “art”. As one of the only visitors to Couch Cushion Frieze, this undoubtedly portends poor sales. Naturally, my dog has expressed an interest in the FOOD Frieze Project, but a nonexistent budget merely makes him a nuisance.
Despite some presentation weaknesses and slowing sales, this year’s fair has been a pleasure to attend – clearly a stronger showing than the concurrent NADA Backyard.