Dealers at Frieze New York want to benefit from the dynamics of the Venice Biennale

The latest edition of Frieze New York opened this morning at the Shed in Hudson Yards on the western edge of Manhattan, with throngs of collectors, museum directors and curators, among other prominent names. But when the musician and artist David Byrne arrived by bike in the afternoon, the mood was a little more subdued and there were fewer people strolling through the around 60 stands spread over several floors.

Despite concerns about the economic climate and the current extremely choppy market situation, traders were optimistic at the end of the day.

Artists with exhibitions associated with the Venice Biennale have work on display everywhere (as I noted in my last preview), including Alex Katz, who makes a notable solo appearance with Gladstone. Those with high-profile museum exhibitions are also in the spotlight.

In this cautious phase of the market, smaller works at more moderate prices sold well. There was a lot of activity at the Stephen Friedman Gallery stand (in London and New York), where wall-hanging sculptures by Holly Hendry were offered at prices ranging from £6,500 to £15,000 (about $8,100 to $18,800).

Installation view of works by Holly Hendry at Stephen Friedman's stand at Frieze New York, May 2024. Image courtesy of the artist and Stephen Friedman Gallery, London and New York.

“Through a deeply tactile practice filled with humor and wit, Holly’s work redefines spaces conceptually and physically,” said Friedman. “I see her as an inventor first, but also an alchemist at heart.” Hendry currently has a solo exhibition at the SCAD Museum of Art in Savannah, Georgia, and her work is included in the group exhibition “When Forms Come Alive” at the Hayward Gallery to see in London.

Artworks including paintings on a wall and a standing sculpture at Perrotin's stand

Installation view of Perrotin at Frieze New York, May 2024.

Sales at the Perrotin Gallery were rapid. The globe-spanning gallery sold out an exhibition of paintings and sculptures by Lee Bae, a South Korean artist of the Dansaekhwa (“monochrome painting”) movement whose work has focused on charcoal for decades. Lee currently has a solo exhibition at the Wilmotte Foundation's La Maison de la Lune Brûlée in Venice, an official companion event of the Venice Biennale, and in September he will have a solo exhibition at the New York branch of Perrotin. Last year he installed a 21-foot-tall sculpture at Rockefeller Center.

In addition, Perrotin sold works by Thilo Heinzmann, Paola Pivi and Daniel Arsham valued at $40,000 to $125,000. Arsham also currently has a solo exhibition in Venice, at the Chiesa di Santa Caterina. Peggy Leboeuf, partner of the gallery, said: “It’s always nice to create synergies between exhibitions and fairs.”

Hauser and Wirth's stand at Frieze New York. Photo: Sarah Muehlbauer, with kind permission of Hauser and Wirth

Hauser and Wirth President Marc Payot said the opening day performance of Frieze New York “confirms that New York is the center of the global art market.” For the gallery, he said, “there is no place that does that connects the individual and the collective with such enormous energy.”

The Mega Gallery reported the largest sales I have recorded to date. This included Ed Clarks Midi #5 Orange (2001) for $850,000, from Nicole Eisenmann Showed up, not me (2023) for $150,000, Charles Gaines Numbers and Trees: Charleston Series 2 (2024) for $210,000 each, with multiple editions sold, Glenn Ligon's Foreign Study No. 43 (2023) for $700,000, Nicolas Party's Triptych with mountains (2023) for $350,000 and Henry Taylors Portrait of Larry Dunn (2020) for $750,000.

an abstract painting with swathes of purple and scarlet on a brown background

Martha Jungwirth, Untitled, from the series “Corona Diary (2021). © Martha Jungwirth / Bildrecht, Vienna 2024
Photo: Ulrich Ghezzi

Trader Thaddaeus Ropac said the opening day “really showed the continued strength of the American market.” One of his first sales was Tony Cragg's Solo incident (2023) for €725,000 ($776,000), Daniel Richter in the colonies (2024) for €420,000 ($450,000), Joan Snyder's Autumn/Red Berries (2015) for $130,000, Alex Katz Study for tree 4 (2023) for $125,000 and six works by Martha Jungwirth priced between 60,000 and 350,000 euros ($64,000 to $375,000).

Ropac also sold Robert Longos Iceberg rocket study (2023) for $90,000 and Megan Rooneys With wind (2024) for £25,000 ($31,000).

Meanwhile, Karma International and Sprüth Magers reported a number of sales from their joint stand presentation dedicated to Swiss artist Sylvie Fleury, including You received the silver number 2 (2023) for €65,000 ($70,000) and a neon sculptural work, JOY (2019), for €25,000 ($27,000).

There is certainly still time for all exhibitors to conclude further business. The fair lasts until Sunday.

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