After critical and commercial success in London and New York City, the acclaimed art fair Frieze stretched its tent over Paramount Studios in Los Angeles last week. While the city’s long been a sanctuary for artists, gallerists and dealers have often undercut the potential for an art market in Tinseltown. But Frieze, along with several other fairs and exhibitions are quickly establishing Los Angeles as the next art city. And amongst all of the fair’s goings-on, there were, of course, lots of parties. Hollywood’s art-loving patrons showed face—in the rain, no less—to explore, endorse, and even purchase pieces.
It’s no secret that Beyoncé and Jay-Z have influence in the art world—from their ever-expanding personal collection to driving record numbers of visitors to the Louvre by way of their “Apeshit” music video. It only makes sense, then, that their Wednesday night appearance at the UTA Artist Space, for the Swizz Beatz co-presented art exhibition DREAMWEAVERS, would set all eyes on L.A.’s debut art week. Meanwhile, in the Barker Hangar of Santa Monica Airport, filmmaker Oliver Stone joined artist and hotelier André Saraiva and famed art critic Jerry Saltz for the tenth anniversary of Art Los Angeles Contemporary, the first fair to nurture local artists and curators.
By Thursday, interest had reached a critical mass. Brad Pitt appeared on site not long after Frieze opened its doors for a VIP preview. L.A. galleries Blum & Poe and Jeffrey Deitch mesmerized visitors with color and form. Raf Simons, Robert Pattinson, Amy Poehler, Beck, Sylvester Stallone, and Jane Fonda were some of the many familiar faces seen among the rows of booths.
The sprawling back lot of Paramount Studios—modeled after New York City streets—played host to large-scale Frieze installations like Hannah Greely’s extraordinary clothes line with clouds, called “High and Dry,” and pop-up venues like a replica of old Warhol haunt Max’s Kansas City and even Roberta’s Pizza. The former would house one of the week’s most glamorous events: a Baz Lurhmann-hosted Bombay Sapphire dinner with Leonardo DiCaprio and Billy Zane, Rita Ora, Asia Chow, Camila Morrone, and Y’lan Noel. At the same time, in West Hollywood, hotelier Andre Balazs and art dealer Jay Jopling hosted a gala for London’s White Cube Gallery at Chateau Marmont. Artist and musician David King took over the piano with Ellie Goulding, Angelica Houston, and Ally Hilfiger in the audience. A marching band rounded out the entertainment and acted as an exclamation point to the occasion.
Friday saw increased attendance at Frieze, as well as the Felix Art Fair, which stretched poolside at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel and occupied the luxury property’s entire eleventh floor. Here, Brad Pitt stopped by artist Kristen Morgin’s lobby installation, entitled Jennifer Aniston’s Used Book Sale. As clouds formed and rain sought to dampen the enthusiasm, art addicts hopped from one Ruinart event to another—commencing with Emily Mast’s Frieze performance in the back lot and ending with an Andy Warhol exhibition at Casa Perfect up high in Beverly Hills. The latter showcased intimate portraits and polaroids by Warhol, which, when hung in the showroom home of the Future Perfect, felt far more private than the artist’s traveling retrospective. The day would conclude inside the studio of LA-based artist Alex Israel, who, along with Rimowa ceo Alexandre Arnault and Garage Magazine editor in chief Mark Guiducci, hosted Pharrell, Alicia Silverstone, Billy Idol, King Princess and the biggest curators and gallerists in the art world. Mia Moretti was the DJ for the multi-floor affair.
It was all eyes on the art both Saturday and Sunday, as the Los Angeles weather improved. The Institute of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles hosted a rollicking, drag queen-hosted “Ceci n’est pas un” bus tour and MatchesFashion delivered talks in their pop-up townhouse store, including featured speakers Bel Powley and Rodarte founders Kate and Laura Mulleavy. Amber Heard, Alex Pettyfer and many more stopped by to see art at Frieze. For a scene quite recently poked at in the Sundance and Netflix film “Velvet Buzzsaw,” a lot of what transpired during the inaugural Frieze Log Angeles wasn’t stereotype or horror but curiosity and support.