Horse Riding Horse and Other Frieze Highlights

May 14, 2014 | Marina Galperina

Frieze Art Fair is the best trip to a luxury pop-up shopping mall a press pass can buy! Maybe it was the illusion of travel from the ferry ride to Randall’s Island or the un-warehouse quality of that giant, billowing, sun-streaked white tent, but the art was very enjoyable. Here some highlights.

First, Beom Kim’s hypnotizing, faux-vintage 24-second single channel video (gif above) — Horse Riding Horse (After Eadweard Muybridge), accompanied by an unnecessary plaque of text about “people riding people” in today’s world or whatnot. Ah, the horse muscle and rhythmically rippling coat, carefully grafted onto the smaller, humanoid horse, whimsy giving way to fractal fucking horror. Very amusing.

Binab (2014) is one of several sculptures by Berta Fischer in the fair, across two galleries — Karin Guenther and Barbara Weiss. They’re all context-less abstracts, but the opaque silvery surfaces, the organically wobbling shapes, the edges glowing with internally reflected light as if freshly sliced and bleeding in neon — they’re all quite lovely and experiential.

At first, the new floor pieces by Venessa Safavi — The Journey (Clam), Intérieur (2) and Intérieur (10) — unnerved me with obviousness, the pastel pinks, all those gendered metaphos. But then I imagined it as images from a warm memory, separated, refracted and multiplied to accent its parts in order of intensity. A particular interesting shell, a mound of beach sand and then an avalanche of breast groping. Very nice.

According to some stranger who did not give a fuck that you’re not supposed to touch art, Takeshi Murata’s Melter 3-D orb actually feels like it undulates. The ripples you can’t see here are either sinking and rising, or just participating in a very accurate illusion that they are, inside a room filled with aggressive strobe lights, seemingly floating but really fixed to a metal bar making it vibrate frantically. It’s a spectacle.

This is designer Heidi Lee, next to Artists Space.

Artists Space actually had the best booth. Like Postmasters at the Armory, the gallery packed their space with as much work as they could and a lot of it is quite good, particularly the James Hoff pieces above, Hair By Ed by Ed Atkins (an absurd death and corporeal-vanity themed digital hyperreal portrait, on a green-screen green backdrop, installed on an old TV instead of a digital monitor), and the wonderfully manic DUOX Encore’s The Afta Lyfe (2014). With very few digital pieces in the fair and very few truly contemporary pieces at all, Artists Space felt like an oasis… with a rug.

Petah Coyne’s glass-encased Untitled #1378 (Zelda Fitzgerald, Alabama Slammer Series) is like a mutant wedding cake, improvising tumors from its own corrupted genetic code. All that towering and sloping steel chicken wire, horse hair, Masonite, rubber, needles, pearl-head pins, melted wax, silk flowers and many, many tiny little white hands. I prefer the less delicate, maybe the charcoal-black chandelier-like suspensions, heavy and harsh like burnt concrete, maybe those with crows or the grey that look like matted neurons — the ones that look more dead and less delicious.

And now, Sylvie Fleury’s Blade — a razor-blade shaped mirror. Fleury’s whole pop-art commercial culture thing fails at critique when it looks like actual fully functional furniture. Then it just looks like really expensive punny furniture.

Thankfully, Jayson Musson’s new painting series (which you seen see at Salon94 on Bowery, at his “Exhibit of Abstract Art”) took up front and center. But more about that later. (Photos: Marina Galperina/ANIMALNewYork)