“If you wanna know nothing about art, ask the two of us,” joked Lionel Richie alongside Owen Wilson.
The pair was surrounded by onlookers as they caught up inside the Blum & Poe booth at Frieze L.A., back for its fourth edition at the Santa Monica Airport. It’s safe to say that Wilson — soon starring in the Bob Ross-inspired comedy “Paint” — does know a thing or two about art; he’s a regular at the fair.
As is Gwyneth Paltrow, who also returned and was seen posing with artist Ryan Gander. There were a number of celebrity visitors this year. Among those strolling the floor were Heidi Klum and Tom Kaulitz; a pregnant Jasmine Tookes; Jared Leto; Shailene Woodley; Jamie Campbell Bower; Larry David; Tyler, the Creator; John McEnroe; Christoph Waltz; Kim Gordon, and Margot Robbie.
“Is it a photograph?” asked Robbie, in a mask, observing a work by Barbara Kasten — “Construct XIX” (1980) — at the Bortolami box.
It is, explained the gallerist. The American artist creates sculptural compositions, then lights and photographs the arrangement.
It’s down to business at the fair, with notable sales including a painting by Mark Bradford, purchased for $3.5 million from Hauser & Wirth, and a 1998 photograph by Richard Prince, “Untitled (cowboy),” bought for $3 million from Gladstone Gallery. Pace sold works priced between $45,000 and $2 million, including new oeuvres by Adrian Ghenie, Yoshitomo Nara and Matthew Day Jackson. Thaddeus Ropac sold a painting by Robert Rauschenberg for $1.7 million and a painting by Alex Katz for $1.5 million. Meanwhile David Zwirner sold a painting by Dana Schutz for $1.2 million to a European institution, a work by Lisa Yuskavage for $1 million and a painting by Michaël Borremans for $500,000.
The familiar, expected art world names were out, including collector Edythe Broad, curators Thelma Golden and Hans Ulrich Obrist, Los Angeles County Museum of Art director Michael Govan, Museum of Contemporary Art director Johanna Burton, and L.A. artists Charles Gaines, Doug Aitken and Alex Israel.
“Are you hanging?” Israel was asked toward the end of day one.
“I’m not. I’m just a tourist,” he teased.
Israel had been out at Serpentine’s bash the night before, held at the home of Serpentine Americas Foundation members Sybil Robson Orr and Matthew Orr in West Hollywood for the second year. It was the week’s hot ticket, with the party going past midnight and bringing out Woodley, Leonardo DiCaprio, Orlando Bloom (all three shying away from cameras) and Aurora James.
“L.A. and the Serpentine really hold some common ground, because as we all know, you guys are on the edge, the cutting edge, the transformative edge and the disruptive edge of everything,” Sybil told the crowd, poolside overlooking a view of the city. She was facing Serpentine chief executive officer Bettina Korek — the evening’s cohost with the London-based gallery’s artistic director, Obrist. “And that’s very much what L.A. likes to shine. So it seems perfectly appropriate that we’re here.”
“Serpentine’s mission is to build new connections between artist and society, and it’s so fitting to be here and look up at the sky at the incredible James Turrell,” chimed in Korek, referencing the illuminating art installation on the ceiling inside. “To see the entire city in front of us, we can look ahead and look out and remember that anything is possible.”
A number of events were thrown during the week. Ferragamo partnered with Cultured Magazine, the L.A. art publication, for a dinner party to celebrate the brand’s debut collection by creative director Maximilian Davis. Ferragamo America’s CEO Daniella Vitale and Cultured editor in chief Sarah Harrelson welcomed Brittany Byrd, Chloe Wise, Daniella Vitale, Darion Benzo Famous, Everett Williams, Felix Mallard, Kaytranada, Kilo Kish, Rachel Sennott, Salem Mitchell and Sami Miro — all wearing looks by the house. The night was held at the home of collector and private dealer Graham Steele and Brazilian midcentury furniture dealer Ulysses de Santi.
There were notable happenings outside the art world, too. Maison Margiela took the moment to mark the opening of its new store on Melrose Place, with a performance by SAINt JHN and the likes of Bower, Benito Skinner (better known by his online persona Benny Drama), LL Cool J, Hart Denton, Victor Cruz and Orville Peck.
But the focus remained on Frieze, and its opening was kicked off at Getty Villa, where the institution and Loewe held a celebration uniting collectors, philanthropists, artists and museum leaders. Wilson was among attendees, as were Balthazar and Rosetta Getty, Ricky Martin, Chance the Rapper, Ben Gorham and Princess Eugenie.
“If you didn’t know how to pronounce it before now you do,” Getty president and CEO Katherine E. Fleming said of Loewe. “They’re fantastic partners, and we’re delighted to be hosting this along with them…If this is your first time here, please make a point of coming back and coming back often.”
She soon handed the microphone to Christine Messineo, Frieze’s director of the Americas.
“We all share a mission to provide a platform for art and culture and an understanding of the integral role art plays in our society,” added Messineo. “Please join me in raising a glass…and celebrate the company we keep and everything Frieze Week L.A. has to offer us in the upcoming days.”