Guide to Frieze Week, Spring Auctions, and Beyond in New York, 2016

With art fairs, exhibition openings, and auctions galore, May in New York City is a busy time for the business of art. To help you navigate the week ahead, we have compiled a list of spectacular gallery openings, can't-miss art fairs, and premiere art auctions.


Wednesday, May 4

Frieze New York 2015. Courtesy of Marco Scozzaro/Frieze. Photo: Marco Scozzaro.

Frieze New York is the main event. The big-tent affair on Randall's Island welcomes its VIP visitors on Wednesday, and is open to the public from Thursday through Sunday. Now in its fifth year, Frieze New York remains innovative and relevant, with Projects that are thought provoking, rather than afterthoughts. This year, Frieze Projects artists "subvert the rhythm of the fair," as curator Cecilia Alemani puts it, with mirrored performers slowly following the passing clouds overhead (Eduardo Navarro), a reverse pickpocket depositing miniature sculptures into the purses and pockets of unsuspecting visitors (David Horvitz), and multi-sensory objects spaced throughout the fair turning the sinuous shape of the tent into a giant spinal cord (Heather Phillipson). The artist commissions are not the only area one can expect surprises; at Frieze, gallery booths often astound and confound with exciting solo presentations and innovative design. In addition to ambitious presentations of blue-chip and mid-career artists in the fair's main section, special sections designated to young galleries, Frame and Focus, are sure to lead to new and exciting discoveries. Check out some of the newcomers to the fair this year, including blank from Cape Town, Jhaveri Contemporary out of Mumbai, High Art of Paris, and Truth and Consequences coming from Geneva.

Gerhard Richter, Abstraktes Bild, 1981, oil on canvas, 16.5 × 23.6 in., 42 × 60 cm. Courtesy of Galerie von Vertes. At Art New York.

The New York editions of the ever-growing Art Miami franchise, Art New York and CONTEXT New York, open ahead of Frieze on Tuesday and run until Sunday, occupying the familiar premises of the Armory Show at Pier 94. Variety is the name of the game at Art New York, with a mixture of galleries specializing in primary and secondary markets. Modern masterpieces hang alongside fanciful Pop pieces, contemporary art godheads, and street art sensations. For example, at this year's fair one will encounter a rare 1947 Picasso, along with a Gerhard Richter priced at $3.5 million, a huge Victor Vasarely Op-Art piece, and a work by Banksy entitled Lenin on Rollerblades--all at the same booth (Galerie von Vertes). CONTEXT draws in the focus a bit, presenting contemporary emerging and mid-career artists, but the diversity factor is high here as well, with artists ranging from noted Native American artist Jaune Quick-to-See Smith (Accola Griefen Gallery), to Korean artist Jungsan (Sandra Lee Gallery), to Puerto Rican painter Christina Toro (LaCa Projects).

Gilbert Bretterbauer, Threaded Chair, 2016, painted metal. Courtesy of Rauminhalt. At Collective Design Fair.

In the West Village, the Collective Design Fair is also open from Wednesday to Sunday. Because why stop at art during Frieze Week? The Collective Design Fair offers an unparalleled opportunity to learn about and collect works of world-class design from galleries around the world--including ADN Galería of Mexico City, Rauminhalt of Vienna, and Fuglen of Oslo--as well as from right here in the city, like New York's own R & Company, Lost City Arts, and 99¢ Plus Gallery.


Thursday, May 5

Tyson Reeder, 4-Color Pen Ball, 2016, 8-panel rubber basketball, 29.5 in. circumference, ed. of 100. Courtesy of the artist, ARTSPACE, and NADA.

NADA returns to the courts of Basketball City on the Lower East Side, opening on Thursday and running until Sunday. This year's roster includes 105 exhibitors from 44 cities in 18 different countries, with 51 first time exhibitors, and 28 project spaces. Between MVP galleries and rookies alike, NADA offers a glimpse of the young, experimental side of the international contemporary art world, and perhaps a taste of what will be at Frieze or Art Basel next year. The youthful vibe extends to the soundtrack; this year NADA will feature invited artists Michael Bauer, Melissa Brown, Andrew Kuo, Denise Kupferschmidt, Michael Mahalchick, Annie Pearlman, and Ben Vida on the decks spinning records from 2pm and 4pm daily. Taking inspiration from its location, NADA also offers the NADA Hoops Know Wave 3-on-3 Streetball Tournament: with pick-up basketball games on Thursday and Friday on a court designed by artist Michael Genovese, culminating in a tournament on Saturday. You can also pick up an artist-designed limited-edition basketball by Tyson Reeder. Who said art folks were bad at sports?

Aida Muluneh, Sai Mado, The Distant Gaze, 2016, digital photograph, 12.2 x 12.2 cm / 4.8 x 4.8 in., ed. of 7. Courtesy of the artist and David Krut Projects. At 1:54 Contemporary African Art Fair.

In Red Hook, the 1:54 Contemporary African Art Fair opens to VIPs on Thursday, offering general admission from Friday until Sunday. In addition to the outstanding art, the event is worth attending to catch some of the 1:54 FORUM, a series of talks and discussions curated this year by Koyo Kouoh, Founder and Artistic Director of RAW Material Company, Dakar and Curator of the 2016 EVA International - Ireland's Biennial of Contemporary Art.

Ring with a Sphinx, Egyptian, New Kingdom, Ramesside period, IX-XX Dynasty, 1295 -1069 BC, Rock Crystal, 4.1 x 3.2cm. Courtesy Alexander Gherardi - Phoenix Ancient Art. At Spring Masters.

There's not just modern and contemporary art to collect during Frieze Week. Opening with a VIP preview on Thursday, and open to the public from Friday through Sunday, Spring Masters at the Park Avenue Armory presents a mix of fine art, design, furniture, and jewelry, spanning 7,000 years of art.

In a more intimate affair, "off-Chelsea" gallery Off Vendome will be presenting Gallery Share, a Frieze Week show of five galleries--London-based Chewday's, Jenny's from Los Angeles, Galerie Max Mayer of Düsseldorf, and New York-based Bridget Donahue and Real Fine Arts--from Thursday to Sunday. With no participation fee required of the galleries, they are free to present more experimental, less salable works.

SEVEN-ish, Seriously Funny, Installation view, The BOILER, April 29 - May 22, 2016. Courtesy the artists and Pierogi.

In a similar arrangement, Pierogi in Williamsburg is presenting SEVEN, an "art fair alternative," with seven galleries each presenting one artist. The show opened last weekend, on April 29, and will stay open for four weekends in May, Thursdays through Sundays, until May 22. Participating galleries include: Anton Kern Gallery, Fredericks & Freiser, Greene Naftali, PIEROGI, Postmasters, P•P•O•W, and Ronald Feldman Fine Arts.

At Lehmann Maupin in Chelsea, Tracey Emin will be in attendance at the opening of her new solo show, Stone Love, which features new paintings, bronze sculptures, neon, embroidery, and works on paper. The opening is from 6-8pm.

James Turrell, Afrum, Pale Pink, 1968, projection, installation dimensions variable. © James Turrell, courtesy Pace Gallery. Photo: Florian Holzherr.

A heavy-hitter showing at a heavyweight gallery, Pace presents an exhibition of James Turrell's landmark light projections, Projections 1967-1968, spanning both of the gallery's locations, on the Upper East Side and in Chelsea. The opening reception will be held at the Chelsea location on Thursday from 6-8pm, and both shows can be experienced starting Friday.


Friday, May 6

An enormous Richard Serra exhibition, opening from 6-8pm on Friday, spanning both Gagosian spaces in Chelsea, will include four new large-scale steel sculptures and an Installation Drawing. This is Serra's 30th major exhibition at Gagosian, who has represented the artist since 1983, and his work never fails to impress.

Eva Koťátková. Courtesy of the artist and Maccarone.

In the West Village, Maccarone presents the first New York gallery exhibition of Prague-based artist Eva Koťátková, a mouse's home is the snake's body, from May 3 - June 18, with an opening reception on Friday, May 6. The show presents collage, sculpture, text, and audio works developed from a series of workshops she conducted with children at Prague's psychiatric hospital.


Saturday, May 7

303 Gallery debuts its new space in Chelsea with an exhibition of new sculptures by Alicja Kwade, opening from 6-8pm. Using materials like mirrors, bronze rings, and rusted steel, Kwade refers to her sculptures as "paravents" that "cut and redouble space."

Sigmar Polke, Magnetische Landschaft (Magnetic Landscape), 1982, acrylic and iron mica on fabric, 117 11/16 x 115 3/4 inches (299 x 294 cm). Private Collection. © The Estate of Sigmar Polke/VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York/DACS, London. Photo: Lothar Schnepf.

A survey of Sigmar Polke, featuring large-scale paintings as well as experimental film works, from the 1960s to the 80s, curated by Vicente Todolí, opens on Saturday at David Zwirner's 537 W 20th St location, from 6-8pm. A guided tour of the exhibition led by the curator, is offered the following day, at 11am.

A strange yet beautiful performance will take place at the Brooklyn Navy Yard on Saturday night. Presented by Creative Time, artist Duke Riley's Fly By Night is a performance involving thousands of pigeons, outfitted with tiny LED lights, swooping in formation through the sky over the East River. While Frieze VIPs can witness an exclusive dress rehearsal of the performance on Thursday, Fly By Night kicks off for the public on Saturday May 7, and continues weekends through June 12.


Sunday, May 8

Maurizio Cattelan, Him, 2001, wax, human hair, suit, polyester resin and pigment, 39 3/4 x 17 x 25 in. Courtesy of Christie's.

For collectors, Sunday will mark the shift from the primary market to the secondary, as the art fairs begin breaking down and the auctions get underway. New York's Spring auction season begins with the curated sale Bound to Fail, at Christie's, a collection of 39 boundary-breaking works by artists such as Bruce Nauman, Jeff Koons, Cindy Sherman, Marcel Duchamp, Richard Prince, and Maurizio Cattelan, that elucidate the theme of failure and risk. "So much has been written about the commercial success of the auction market in recent years, we felt it was time to explore the flip side of that from a curatorial standpoint," says Christie's Loic Gouzer of the sale.

Jeff Koons, Naked, 1988, porcelain, 45 1/2 x 27 x 27 in. Courtesy of Phillips /

Phillips' 20th Century & Contemporary Art Evening Sale also takes place on Sunday, led by an abstract portrait of Patti Smith by Brice Marden, a sculpture from Jeff Koons' Banality Series, and a striking Mark Bradford piece.


Monday, May 9

André Derain, Les Voiles rouges, 1906, oil on canvas, 30 x 39 in. Courtesy of Sotheby's.

Following on Monday, Sotheby's Impressionist and Modern Art Evening Sale features colorful paintings by André Derain, Maurice de Vlaminck, Claude Monet, and Max Ernst as anticipated lots.


Tuesday, May 10

Jean-Michel Basquiat, Untitled, 1982, acrylic on canvas, 94 x 197 in. Courtesy of Christie's.

Christie's continues with its Post-War and Contemporary Art Evening Sale on Tuesday. Highlights include rare works by Clyfford Still, Mark Rothko, and a Jean-Michel Basquiat expected to achieve over $40 million.


Wednesday, May 11

Joan Mitchell, Untitled, 1971, oil on canvas, 79 1/8 by 73 1/4 in. Courtesy of Sotheby's.

Sotheby's Contemporary Art Evening Auction takes place on Wednesday, with high hopes for two works by Cy Twombly--one a 1969 "Blackboard" painting, perhaps promising a repeat of Sotheby's record-smashing result in November. Other notable lots include a double self portrait by Francis Bacon, two large abstract works by Joan Mitchell, and one of Louise Bourgeois's spider sculptures.


Thursday, May 12

Frida Kahlo, Dos desnudos en el bosque (La tierra misma), 1939, oil on metal, 9 7/8 x 11 7/8 in. Courtesy of Christie's.

Christie's gets the last word with its Impressionist & Modern Art Evening Sale on Thursday, led by two works by Claude Monet, a portrait by Modigliani, and the first Frida Kahlo to appear at auction since 2006.


--Natalie Hegert

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