get your tarot cards read over skype at this year’s frieze

Ten things to check out at the sixth New York edition of the art fair, from Jenny Holzer to John Currin.

by Benoit Loiseau
05 May 2017, 6:00pm

It's that time of the year again, when the international art world gathers at the otherwise quiet Randall's Island for a weekend-long extravaganza of art and people watching. "Is this a golf tournament?" asked our Uber driver as he dropped us off at Frieze. You can't blame him for the confusion, looking at the herd of eccentrically dressed gallerinas and VIPs flocking out of the ferries. For this sixth New York edition of the London-born fair, no less than 200 contemporary and modern art galleries put on their best shows. Here are our top picks.

Lorna Simpson's repurposed Ebony magazine images
Artist Lorna Simpson is best known for her photography deconstructing race, gender, and class. But at this solo display with Hauser & Wirth, we get to see some new sculptures and paintings, using images from her collection of vintage Jet and Ebony magazines, Associated Press photographs, and washes of saturated ink. (Hauser & Wirth)

Imagined snapshots of 20s Harlem by Isaac Julien
On the topic of race, this beautiful 1989 photograph by the British filmmaker and artist Isaac Julien is such a treat. The recent success of Moonlight at the Oscars has brought about an unprecedented level of visibility for black queer aesthetics, but Julien has been working with notions of race and sexual identity for decades, and it's great to see older works resurfacing. (Victoria Miro)

Jenny Holzer's first-ever photo, in an all-pink booth
This was the first photographic work by American text artist Jenny Holzer, made in 1994. The 14 double panels show close-up images of skin, adorned by quirky, semi-romantic inked poetry that reads as raw as it looks: for example, "she has no taste left to her and this makes it easier for me." Definitely the highlight of Cheim Read gallery's all-pink booth this year, though works by Louise Bourgeois and Chantal Joffe are also strong competitors. (Cheim Read)

New paintings by Whitney Biennial standout Aliza Nisenbaum
With her work currently included in the Whitney Biennial, the Mexico City-born, New York-based artist Aliza Nisenbaum isn't short of attention. Her large and colorful paintings document the lives of illegal migrants, mostly from Mexico or Latin America. Mary Mary gallery from Glasgow has graced us with a solo presentation featuring three new works made this year. (Mary Mary)

AA Bronson's timely eBay flags
The American flag has long been used and appropriated in art history, and in the Trump era it's become a favorite art world trend ("unpresidentedly" so). But we can't get enough of AA Bronson's poetically understated White Flag — originally conceived as a series of seven paintings, made from American flags purchased on eBay and mounted on raw linen with a preparation of rabbit skin glue, chalk, and honey. The only survivor of the Canadian conceptual trio General Idea is shown in good company at Maureen Paley's booth, among works by Wolfgang Tillmans and Peter Hujar. (Maureen Paley)

Tarot readings by Chrysanne Stathacos
The work 1-900 Mirror Mirror was first installed in 1993 at Andrea Rosen Gallery in New York. It was the height of the AIDS crisis, and Greek-born artist Chrysanne Stathacos, like many of her peers, explored new forms of spirituality in her work. Visitors are invited to enter the interactive mirror installation, where the artist will be running tarot reading sessions via Skype. (The Breeder)

Extracts from modern master John Currin's notebooks
This solo presentation of the American painter John Currin at the Gagosian booth is a brilliant reframing of the beloved contemporary artist's work. It collects a selection of drawings, chosen from over 100 of Currin's sketchbooks and notepads, revealing the evolution of his creative process and technical mastery — always with a satirical, provocative touch. (Gagosian)

Susan Cianciolo's genre-defying fashion revisited
Susan Cianciolo started her career as a fashion designer, though never quite seemed to fit in. Her fashion collection "RUN" in the 90s (modeled by the likes of Chloë Sevigny) challenged the distinction between art and design, and is still being celebrated today. At Frieze, the Parsons alum presents a career-spanning collection of works on paper including watercolors, drawings, paintings, and garment designs. (Bridget Donahue)

Words to live by, courtesy of Karl Holmqvist
Amen to these hilarious, self-explanatory text-based works by Swedish artist Karl Holmqvist. (Gavin Brown)

A radical restaging of a wildly experimental 60s art show
Every year, Frieze pays tribute to a historic, groundbreaking art space. This year, Rome's Galeria Tartaruga is in the spotlight with its seminal exhibition "Il Teatro delle Mostre," from 1968. This new space (created specially for Frieze New York) changes every day, alternating between restagings of pioneering projects and new commissions by contemporary artists Ryan McNamara and Adam Pendleton. (Frieze Projects)

Frieze New York is open now through May 8, on Randall's Island.


Text Benoit Loiseau
All images courtesy of the galleries

Susan Cianciolo
Lorna Simpson
Jenny Holzer
frieze new york
John Currin