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Frieze New York's animal art makes fair visitors think

The Shed is teeming with an art world menagerie this week, and not just collectors, curators, consultants and museum directors strolling the halls. Stalls at Frieze New York host a diverse selection of animal art, from a sculpture of a ribbon-like dog and a painting of an iconic rodent to a feather-like assemblage and a blanket featuring a gravity-defying cat. We tracked down some of the most extraordinary specimens at the fair.

Elm Green & Dragset, Social Media (White Poodle) (2023), Massimodecarlo (picture at top of page)

The Berlin artist duo, known for their humorous, tongue-in-cheek sculptures, are back at it again with a series of four adorable dogs made from faux fur and resin – also featuring a terrier, a gray poodle and a border collie (not pictured). Selling here) – slowly spinning on hypnotic spirals. Michael Elmgreen says that these works, as the name suggests, are about “the days when you go online and your social media feed is overflowing with videos of cute dogs doing funny things and a A slight feeling of dizziness arises, and that everyday life is like that “going in a loop”. Experience this feeling without Telephone in your own home for €200,000.

Yuichi Hirako, Green Master 90 (2024), The Modern Institute

Yuichi Hirako, Green Master 90 (2024), at the Modern Institute Steven Molina Contreras

Tokyo-based artist Yuichi Hirako “includes this tree man figure in many of his works,” says Calum Sutherland of the Modern Institute: “He explores the ambiguity and disorder of our relationship with nature.” The tree man doesn’t just hold a cat in his arms Green Master 90 is flanked by a pair of snakes, a biblical allusion to our precarious existence. The price of the painting is under $50,000.

AndyRobert, Untitled (2023), Michael Werner

AndyRobert, Untitled (2023), with Michael Werner Steven Molina Contreras

The Haitian-born, Brooklyn-based artist, originally a painter who has more recently turned to sculpture, creates assemblages of found objects that often reference his personal history. Michael Robert has also used birds in previous pieces; He happens to share a birthplace with John James Audubon, but unlike the naturalist, Robert is Black. The specific story behind this fascinating work, which consists of a taxidermied ibis, a shovel and a chair, remains a mystery, but the untitled work, which costs $140,000, was already in reserve at the start of the second Frieze day .

Peter Wächtler, Untitled (Dog) (2020), branch

Peter Wächtler, Untitled (Dog) (2020), in the branch Steven Molina Contreras

In the middle of Brussels-based Galerie Dépendance's stand sits a very good boy, made from a piece of molded leather by multidisciplinary artist Peter Wächtler. “It doesn't immediately look like a dog, but when you walk around it and see the muzzle and folded paws, it becomes clear,” says Louis-Philippe Van Eeckhoutte, director at Dépendance. The sculpture's subtle charm had an impact: on the second day of Frieze it was sold for an unknown price.

Keith Mayerson, Steamboat Willie (2024), Karma

Keith Mayerson, Steamboat Willie (2024), at Karma Steven Molina Contreras

An absolutely tireless painter of American iconography from all walks of life, politics and pop culture, California-based Keith Mayerson has, perhaps unsurprisingly, taken on one of that state's most famous animals: Walt Disney's predecessor to Mickey Mouse, Steamboat Willie, newly released Cinema public domain. The artist was drawn to the famous animal, depicted here against a quasi-Impressionist landscape, in part because it is “a very optimistic image,” says a gallery representative.

Josh Smith, Happy fish (2015), Xavier Hufkens

Josh Smith, Happy fish (2015), with Xavier Hufkens Steven Molina Contreras

This oil painting is from a series of fish depictions by the New York-based artist. As the gallery describes it: “Smith often paints fish, not because they have any special significance, but because they are such familiar creatures that they hardly require further analysis.” A collector can secure this example for $150,000 .

Feliciano Centurion, Untitled (1993), Ortuzar Projects

Feliciano Centurion, Untitled (1993), at Ortuzar Projects Steven Molina Contreras

Paraguayan-born, Buenos Aires-based artist Feliciano Centurión (1962-96) enjoyed buying blankets at local markets and painting on them rather than canvas. This tiger (along with an eagle on the adjacent wall of Ortuzar Projects' booth) represents a “queering of painting and the subject itself,” says one of the gallery's directors, pointing out that these animals are often associated with stereotypical masculinity . “It's a kitschy aesthetic, but with beautifully poignant moments.” There are three blankets on the stand, ranging in price from $75,000 to $250,000.

Anna Harden

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