Art Trends at Frieze 2015 – more raw, gritty than polished


Tom Sachs

4th year at Frieze and I love it still.  It is my favorite art fair – great space, outstanding artists and galleries, and most of all such a great barometer of where the culture is headed. Five directions were especially noticeable this year:

1. audience participation

2. industrial and repurposed (often consumer junk/detritus)

3. LED lights, video, mirrored surfaces

4. assemblage

5. raw style of painting, drawing, sculpture

Read below for specific details and pictures.

Trend 1: Audience participation/interactivity seems to be all the rage this year

In Gavin Brown’s booth, over the first two days, fairgoers were given a 12-inch square canvas and some black paint to carry out the task set by artist Jonathan Horowitz: painting a freehand, eight-inch circle in return for a $20 check signed by the artist. Each piece then formed part of a collective grid of 700 black circles lining the booth; but what each batch of 100 was ultimately selling for the gallery would not disclose. When I visited on Sunday, the participatory element was complete.


Fairgoers on the first two days of Frieze


Sunday: Project completed

Mexican artist Pia Camil persuades visitors to parade through the tent in her specially designed ponchos (which they can take home afterwards).

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Bangkok-born artist Korakrit Arunanondchai’s massage chairs, upholstered in his trademark tie-dyed denim.

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Japanese artist Aki Sasamoto, built a maze-like three dimensional personality test. Concept was more interesting in theory than in reality.


Lining up for the Coffee/Tea personality test maze

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Personality test results

This participatory tendency has been given official endorsement with the best booth prize for Frieze New York 2015 awarded to Galeria Jaqueline Martins, a gallery from Sao Paulo for its solo project by Martha Araujo entitled “Para un corpo nas suas impossibilidates” (For a body in its impossibilities). This involves Frieze visitors donning special jumpsuits patched with Velcro and then launching themselves onto a Velcro-covered skateboard ramp and attempting to adhere.



Trend 2: Industrial and Repurposed (Consumer Junk/Detritus)


Tom Sachs – one of my favorite pieces


Zak Kitnick and D’Ette Noyle – California Olive Oil is Superior


Exterior of Zak Kitnick California Oil Is Superior Installation


Mathis Altmann – consumer junk

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Trend 3: LED Lights, Video, Mirrors

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Philippe Parreno, LED light, programmed chip


Mark Handforth, Fluorescent light, colour gels, hardwood and paint


Sarah Lucas at Sadie Coles

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Tony Oursler


Doug Aitken – hexagon glass horizon


Nick Mauss, 9 panels of Reverse Glass


Trend 4: Assemblage, Fragments, Installations

From chewed gum to beer cans, lots of assemblage on view – my two favorites were Yuji Agematsu and Kader Attia.

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Yuji Agematsu, Detritus found on NYC streets, Real Fine Arts Brooklyn


Tomio Miki, Fragments of Ear


Kader Attia, Lehman Maupin. Probably the most instagrammed piece from Frieze


Trend 5: Raw

The overall aesthetic is more raw than polished.


Carroll Dunham


Liam Gillick at Maureen Paley

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