Frieze LA - 2024 - The Style Guyde's Top Picks

Written by Steve 'The Style Guyde' Galindo

Frieze Los Angeles brought together galleries, institutions, artists and patrons to celebrate the city’s vibrant and expanding cultural landscape. Opening its doors to a lively opening atmosphere, each day of the fair saw considerable close attention from collectors, museum groups and leading figures across the arts, entertainment, fashion, tech and sports industries.

This year, Frieze Los Angeles partnered with the California African American Museum (CAAM) to acquire a work from Focus in honor of Essence Harden, the section’s curator who will co-curate the 2025 Made in L.A. biennial at the Hammer Museum. Presented by Dominique Gallery, Mustafa Ali Clayton’s ceramic sculpture Natural (2024) was selected for acquisition by CAAM.

Additionally, Art Production Fund successfully presented an ambitious public Exhibition with  ‘Set Seen,’ with a dynamic program of large-scale works by artists including Sharif Farrag, Ryan Flores, Derek Fordjour, Pippa Garner, Matt Johnson and Cynthia Talmadge.

‘Set Seen’ speaks to constructed environments and how they relate to our perception of reality and understanding of space and specifically, the role Hollywood set designers played in disguising the Douglas Aircraft Company factory at Santa Monica Airport during WWII. Commissioned Works will be on view for an extended period, through April 7, 2024  cited throughout the Santa Monica Airport campus,. Commissions supported by Maestro Dobel Tequila and the City of Santa Monica.

Additionally, Art Production Fund x Frieze Los Angeles 2024 hosted  five Los Angeles-based non-profits and one bookshop that link art and social impact, recognizing each organization’s contribution to making the city’s communities more Equitable.

  • AMBOS (Art Made Between Opposite Sides), supporting bi-national artists to generate healthier relationships across the US-Mexico border between communities and governmental bodies. Using craft and art as vehicles for community self-care, the project humanizes the act of border crossing. ambosproject.com
  • Gallery 90220, offering an accessible platform for emerging and underrepresented artists byhosting think tanks, podcasts and promoting collaboration with like-minded trailblazers, following their mission to enable creatives of color to freely voice their unique expressions in Los Angeles and beyond. gallery90220.com
  • GYOPO, a collective of diasporic Korean cultural producers and arts professionals generatingand sharing progressive, critical, intersectional and intergenerational discourses, community alliances and free educational programs in Los Angeles and beyond. gyopo.us
  • Los Angeles Nomadic Division (LAND), connecting people and places through art to deepen a sense of belonging by commissioning site-responsive free public art and programs. LAND believes in supporting artists working outside of traditional institutions and models, and who are deeply embedded and invested within their respective communities. nomadicdivision.org
  • People’s Pottery Project empowers formerly incarcerated women, trans and non-binary individuals through paid job training, access to a healing community and meaningful employment in its collective non-profit ceramic business. peoplespotteryproject.com
  • Reparations Club is an independently Black-owned and operated concept bookstore and creative space in Los Angeles. Rep.club

THESTYLEGUYDE Top Emerging Picks

Make Room

Artist Yeni Mao

Make Room Los Angeles presented “Freemartins” at Frieze LA, featuring a new body of w ork by Yeni Mao, a Chinese-American sculptor based in Mexico City.”  Freemartins” consist of seven new sculptures made of steel armatures, interspersed with porcelain, leather, and volcanic rock. In 2017 the artist relocated to Mexico City from the US. The exhibition builds upon the artist’s exploration of a set of tunnels underneath the Mexico–U.S. bordertown of Mexicali. These tunnels were inhabited by Chinese and Chinese-Mexican populations at the beginning of the 20th century, during the time of the Mexican Revolution and as the U.S. enacted discriminatory policies against Asian immigrants.

The artist cuts the tunnel floor plans in steel plate, creating sculptures of extruded space by linking them with steelbars. Inside the seanthropomorphic sculptures, visible pieces of organic matter represent the life within the architectural host. The presentation of the sculptures canal so be interpreted as an imaginary urbanscape, blending the past, present, and future.

Mao’s interest in this tunnel system lies in how these sites both preserve and obscure history. The liminality of the tunnel as a physical space and their territorial designation mirrors the liminal experience of diasporic identities. The term “building systems, “influenced by Mao’s background in the construction industry and understanding construction industry standards, is often used to describe their artistic intent. With only a grinder and welder, Map Creates Moments Of Suspension,’ exploring abstract concepts of strength and balance.

 

Bank

 

         

From behind China’s great firewall with its draconian COVID measures and cultural restrictions, BANK makes its triumphant debut in the city of Angels with a cross-generational selection of artists whose careers and practices are interwoven with the cultural fabric of LA. Bai Yiyi’s canvas’ reflect the schizophrenic nature of image circulation today. He splinters together images of Hollywood, news, and ads to form textured psychological abstractions. Liang Hao’s hyper-realistic and psychologically charged oil paintings have garnered critical and popular acclaim worldwide. Inspired by anthropologist Andre Leroi-Gourhan’s text Gesture and Speech, Liang muses on the human hand as both a technical and expressive extension of the mind. Lin Ke’s meta ‘Sky Painting” installation works, recently collected by LACMA and MoCA LA, set the tone. Riffing off our interactive digital lives he conflates the virtual space of the computer with the booth’s architecture. Sun Yitian, with her populist, hyper-realist paintings highlighting the vacuous nature of materialist values. Her works gained attentions from worldwide museums and institutions. Patty Chang’s solo at ICA, LA as well as her recent LACMA art+tech grant award helped to forge her legacy as one of her generation’s most important performance artists. Here we show her blown-glass female-urinary device sculptures. Chen Tianzhuo, whose immersive performances dazzle and shock viewers across the globe, including those of the Broad Museum, show their 3-D animation produced in LA depicting mythological heaven and hell.

http://www.bankmabsociety.com/portal/zh-CN/Exhibition/Detail/84e6d8c2-12ce-6f13-bb50-46f4f4262227?type=Fair

 

Commonwealth & Council

Artist Lotus L. Kang

All images courtesy of the artist and Commonwealth and Council, Los Angeles, Mexico City.

Lotus L. Kang photo: Paul Salveson

 

Commonwealth and Council presents Lotus L. Kang and Suki Seokyeong Kang for Frieze Los Angeles 2024. This presentation features bodies of work by Lotus L. Kang’s from their exhibition at Chisenhale Gallery, London.

Showcasing a diverse array of works— the sculptures evoking Korean ink paintings comprised of industrial steel and hand-hewn thread and reed mats; flesh-colored light-sensitive unfixed films by Lotus L. Kang compose uncanny juxtapositions of varied materials nodding to embodied memory and inherited traditions to unfurl a scenography that underscore how nature is ever changing, weaving a narrative of togetherness touching on the relationships between individuals and society, personal and collective history, and the body and the landscape.

 

Sow & Tailor

Artist Javier Ramirez

                                           

Sow & Tailor presented a solo presentation by Los Angeles-based artist Javier Ramirez in the Focus section curated by Essence Harden. Javier Ramirez presents a new body of work featuring a suite of paintings and sculpture that explores a unique shared history of Angelino immigrant life.

Ramirez’s presentation serves as a testament to Los Angeles, with a particular focus on the immigrant communities that have significantly shaped the city’s landscape – the suburban gardeners of LA. Through his practice, Ramirez delves into the gardening practices of both the Japanese and Latinos, shedding light on their profound influence on our city.

The Japanese, who brought their timeless gardening knowledge to the West Coast in the early 20th century, find their story artfully depicted in Ramirez’s work. Drawing from his own decade-long career as a bonsai gardener, Ramirez pays homage to the cultural exchange that has flourished in California soil. Ramirez is aware of the often overlooked contributions of Latino immigrants, specifically jardineros, who tirelessly maintain order in Los Angeles’s suburban

neighborhoods. His work beautifully captures the essence of their labor and its impact on the city’s vibrant streets. Ramirez’s work showcases an amalgamation of elements from Japanese and Latino aesthetics. In a brilliant fusion of cultures, a box-shaped structure reminiscent of Catholic shrines in Latino households finds resonance with Shinto pagodas from Japan. His sculptures, meticulously placed on pedestals following bonsai display principles, come to life with a harmony that mirrors the beauty of nature.

 

OMR

Artist Eduardo Sarabia

                                           

Eduardo Sarabia’s (b. Los Angeles, USA, 1976)  lives and works in Guadalajara, Mexicowork has largely been inspired by the independent economies and folk history of northern Mexico. He frequently works with the materials favoured by local craftspeople, using ceramic tiles, hand-woven textiles, and glass to create sculptures and installations that address the complex exchanges—social, cultural, and material—that occur when this region and its history encounters outsiders.

Without limiting himself to a critique of the “exoticization” of Mexican culture, Sarabia examines the gap separating definitions of taste (and, more bluntly, of legality). Mixing romantic visual narratives in regards to illegal matters, fine arts and commerce, creating an environment that slips between the oneiric and the openly materialistic, Sarabia’s work takes on an important exploration of understanding the physical and human consequences of economic forces.

 

Parker Gallery

Artist Esteban Cabeza de Baca

Esteban Cabeza de Baca

Bodyguard, 2024

Acrylic on canvas with cochineal

72 x 72 inches (182.9 x 182.9 cm)

Courtesy the artist and Parker Gallery, Los Angeles. Photo: Paul Salveson.

Esteban Cabeza de Baca

Vincent C. de Baca, 2024

Acrylic on canvas with cochineal

72 x 72 inches (182.9 x 182.9 cm)

Courtesy the artist and Parker Gallery, Los Angeles. Photo: Paul Salveson.

 

Esteban Cabeza de Baca (b. 1985 in San Ysidro, CA, lives in Queens, NY) was raised in San Ysidro, California—north of the Mexico–United States border. His parents were union organizers and activists involved in the Brown Berets, as well as the Chicano, American Indian, and Black Panther movements. Justice for undocumented migrants and a keen awareness of the history of colonialism in the United States informed the artist’s upbringing and have become central subjects in his multifaceted practice. Working primarily in painting, Cabeza de Baca approaches his work with the aim of bringing awareness to marginalized people and places. The landscapes he depicts are painted from nature, infused with layers of memory and time. Cabeza de Baca is of Mexican and Indigenous descent; his paintings honor these origins in his use of ancient symbols and motifs, as well as through his use of traditional materials and techniques.

The paintings for Frieze LA are set in the 1960s during the Delano Farm strikes in California.

Vincent C. de Baca is a larger-than-life size portrait of the artist’s father, depicted here in the 1960s when he was an active member of the Brown Berets, working as a bodyguard for American civil rights activist and labor leader Cesar Chaves (1927-1993). Cabeza de Baca senior has his back turned to the viewer, exposing his close fitted jacket adorned with Cesar’s name and the United Farm Workers logo, a union that he was deeply involved with as a leading activist in the Chicano movement at large. Several other members of the Brown Berets are in the background, barbecuing and taking a break before heading out to the UFW headquarters to offer their help. Around the corner, a painter works on a mural, highlighting Mexican history across the decades.

Bodyguard depicts the artist’s father Vincent Cabeza de Baca standing guard in front of the United Farm Worker’s credit union, a grassroots organization that served as a cultural hub, resource center and advocacy group for the Chicano farming community beginning in the 1960s. An indigenous woman can be seen standing behind him, holding a bouquet of flowers to be used for trading or bartering. Across from her a Chicano woman and child offer a single stemmed flower, symbolizing the complex interweaving of Chicano and Indigenous identities in the American Southwest. Rooted in a time of intense xenophobia towards the Mexican community, this painting ultimately highlights the importance of community focused care in marginalized groups.

Anthony Meier

Artist Jesse Schlesinger

                                         

Schlesinger’s new body of work highlights his varied use of materials ––from salvaged redwood and cypress, to traditional enamel paint and ceramic, to more contemporary techniques including powder-coated and chrome-plated steel––presenting striking contrasts between natural tones and vibrant.  Pops of canary yellow or brilliant royal blue.

 

Anton Kern Gallery

Lara Schnitger & Yuli Yamagata

                           

Lara Schnitger debuts a 10 foot tall high heeled shoe and a heroic fabric-collage; and Yamagata’s fabric-paintings made of materials that provide sensory pleasures, with juxtapositions of batting-stuffed Lycra, velvet, and silk intermixed with found materials.

Emma Riva is the managing editor of UP. She is the author of Night Shift in Tamaqua, an illustrated novel that follows a love story between 24-hour-diner waitress and a Postmates driver. As an art writer, she is particularly interested in working with international artists and exploring how visual art can both transcend cultural boundaries and highlight the complexities of individual identity. Emma is a graduate of The New School and a Wilbur and Niso Smith Author of Tomorrow. She lives in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Insta: @emmawithglasses

Website: emmawithglasses.com