It seems that February was a month of traveling. What better way to get some vitamin D then to go where the sun is shining. You’d think that going to LA would fit the bill, but to my surprise it was cold and rainy. It was the art that brightened my visit. Frieze, is an art fair that originated in London then expanded to New York a few years ago and in 2019 opened in LA. Logical, becasue many NY galleries have already opened a satellite gallery in Los Angeles. The Art Newspaper called the arrival of Frieze Los Angeles a turning point in the art world’s tense relationship with the entertainment industry. Afterall, we all like to read the gossip about which actor/actress was spotted at the Miami Art Basel or at the auction house. The art world is changing but at the heart of it is the artist so lets see what caught my eye.
I arrived few days before the fair opened and visited The Marciano Foundation Art Collection which is housed in an old Masonic Temple. There was an interesting installation of works by Ai Wei Wei called “life Cycle”. In the middle of the room there was a boat made of bamboo with figures of people and animals. It is Ai’s response to the global refugee crisis. All around, suspended from the wall and ceiling, were figures crafted from bamboo and silk porraying mythical creatures from the mountains and the sea. When you walk down, you feel like you are at the bottom of the world, or maybe in a womb passing through the cycle of life. A quote from Kevin Gilbert: “Unity” 1994 was displayed: ” I’m the tree you are me with the land and the sea we are one life not three in the essence of life we are one”.
The morning Frieze opened, the sky opened as well. We were given pink umbrellas and walked from the parking lot on Paramount Pictures studios. We spotted Jodi Foster and Brad Pitt … but aren’t we here for the art? Well, there was a lot of it. I will share some of the images later. It seems that the fair took over the whole studio and when we walked out of the main building there were pop up restaurant like Roberta from Brooklyn. There was also art hanging, literally from the building (yes, like hanging laundry..)
I left LA and after a short stop in NY flew to visit my Mom in Israel. The Israel Museum had a show called: Maimonides: A legacy in Script. One may ask, isn’t this supposed to be in a library? We walked into a dark room filled with manuscripts of the Mishnah, The Guide for the Perplexed and more. All had incredible illustrations and beautiful calligraphy. The first manuscript: “Commentary on the Mishnah is believed to be written by Maimonides himself. He labored over his commentary on the Mishnah mostly during his travels till he got to Egypt but continued updating and proofreading. There was magic in the air. A hard to describe feeling of awe.
The writing was in Hebrew which I could read and date illuminations added to the text.
We continued to see what else the museum is presenting. There was a show of Russian Avant-Garde and Beyond titled Victory Over the Sun. Art that was created during the 20th century. With a focus on the emergence of the art movements that accompanied the historical and political upheavals in the country. The linear drawings are strong and are reminicent of art in other parts of the world at the same time.
The last exhibit we visited was called Manifesto by the artist Julian Rosenfeldt.
The artist revisited dozens of 20th century manifestos examining their relevance and power today. The artist Cate Balanchett performs the monologues as different characters.
There are like 20 videos, each touching on a different art movement which as a whole gives us a picture of the world we are living in today. It’s a powerful representation of the 20th century.
I felt as though I was in school. The images starting from the writing of Maimonides to the Manifesto left me with questions and a desire to explore and learn.
I am back in New York. The ground is covered with snow but it seems that art shows are sprouting everywhere. The Armory show starts on March 7 and so is Nada and much more to come. More material for my next post.