My 10 Favorite Art Works from Frieze New York 2015

I know, I know: this roundup of my favorite pieces seen at Frieze New York 2015 is profoundly late. But please, cut me some slack. It is hard enough gathering my thoughts about an artist’s solo show, let alone be inundated with thousands of pieces from the greatest artists in the world at one single event.

Frieze New York 2015 was a spectacular event. There was an amazing mix of galleries, solo exhibitions. interactive art works, and, best of all, people. Frieze attracts a strong mix of collectors, artists, art lovers, and even people that are less attuned to the art world but are nevertheless interested in the event itself. That week on Randall’s Island felt like a huge gathering of interesting people and that should always be a sign of an excellent creative event.

Atmosphere

Atmosphere at Frieze New York 2015

I laid one one guideline for this piece. One, I decided to leave out the larger interactive installations such as the Flux Labyrinth or the Frieze Sounds. The reason being that they will be getting enough press and also I am looking for singular pieces and exhibitions that had a personal impact on my thinking and emotions. So, here are my favorite pieces from New York 2015, and please give me feedback if you think my choices are great or short-sighted or ridiculous or whatever you think.
Atmosphere at Frieze New York 2015

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Atmosphere at Frieze New York 2015

1. Kara Walker “Cave for the Exhibitions of Men” 2014 at Victoria Miró
Kara Walker “Cave for the Exhibitions of Men” 2014 at Victoria Miró

Kara Walker “Cave for the Exhibitions of Men” 2014 at Victoria Miró

Kara Walker’s strength lies in her avoidance of the label of “prolific.” It sometimes feels like every piece that she puts out is huge both in its literal size and scope and also in its emotional impact and intellectual sub-text. It’s hard to think about her these days without referring right to her monumental exhibition at the Domino Sugar Factory in Williamsburg, “A Subtlety,” and with good reason: it was easily the most singularly powerful art work of last year with its massive sphinx woman covered in putrid smelling sugar surrounded by small workers. It brought to mind the themes Kara is best known for: slavery, racial identity, corporate exploitation, etc. But I digress, Walker first got famous for her mural created from cut out black shapes set alongside a white wall, such as “Gone: An Historical Romance of Civil War As it Occurred Between the Thighs of a Young Negress and Her Heart,” that powerfully addressed American racism through suggestively violent imagery. Most interestingly, her piece “Cave for the Exhibitions of Men” at Frieze inverted the black and white, with the figures seen as white alongside a black canvas. But perhaps the colors are not what stand out the most; what I thought of when looking at this stunning mural was childhood and how that childhood is slowly snuffed out and perverted by adults. Innocence is the one thing that will surely be lost during all lifetimes.

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