‘Largest Black public art project in the US’ to launch in Los Angeles this spring
February 29, 2024
Bay Area galleries descend on Frieze Los Angeles
March 1, 2024
‘Largest Black public art project in the US’ to launch in Los Angeles this spring
February 29, 2024
Bay Area galleries descend on Frieze Los Angeles
March 1, 2024

While the word “zoo” could be used to describe the crowded energy at any art fair, the term is particularly fitting for Frieze Los Angeles this year, where animals feature prominently in more stands than one might expect. In the veritable menagerie of works in all manner of media, there are several sculptures with snakes, fish, dogs, boars, rabbits and a variety of birds that especially catch the eye.

Javier Ramirez, When I Say Wabi You Say Sabi (2024), Sow & Tailor (pictured at top of page)

While the title of Javier Ramirez’s fetching sculpture (on offer for $15,000) is a play on the Japanese term for the beauty of the simple, the imperfect and the fleeting, the work is an amalgamation of the Japanese and Latino influences on his hometown of Los Angeles. His plaster parrot, squirrel, frog and bobblehead dog serve a spiritual significance, surrounded by plants and framed by fence pieces found around the artist’s San Fernando Valley neighbourhood.

Karin Gulbran, End of Summer (2023), Massimodecarlo

Karin Gulbran, End of Summer (2023), at Massimodecarlo

The Los Angeles-based artist is fond of depicting animals and nature scenes on her sculptural creations. Massimodecarlo’s stand features two of Karin Gulbran’s larger works: this giant vase with a couple of wide-eyed boars and a jumping rabbit ($28,000), and a floor lamp populated by a lion, snake and snail. Both works have already sold; the gallery declined to provide any specifics on the buyers but did confirm that they were bought by different people.

Gabriel Rico, No penny no paternoster (2023), OMR

Gabriel Rico, No penny no paternoster (2023), at OMR

Enigmatic, exquisite and violent, the Mexican sculptor’s piece “brings together imagery from across the artist’s work”, says Kerstin Erdmann, a partner at OMR, from the white fibreglass tree that “stands for purity” to the ceramic snake that gives the work “a sense of myth”. The piece is priced at $60,000 and still available as of Friday afternoon; two more pieces by Rico are on view at the Mexico City-based gallery’s pop-up in West Hollywood (until 23 March).

Matt Johnson, Giant Shell Swan (2023), The Ranch

Matt Johnson, Giant Shell Swan (2023), at The Ranch

Part of Art Production Fund’s public programming at Frieze, this 8ft-tall painted bronze swan greets visitors to the fair just outside the main gates. The Malibu-based artist’s take on the “trinkets one might find at a seaside tourist trap”, according to the organisers, doubles as a symbol of the more profound qualities humanity has equated with swans over the centuries: strength, beauty, grace and the fragility of life. Giant Shell Swan will remain on view until 7 April, after which it will be available for purchase for $375,000.

Cosima von Bonin, What If They Bark 08 (2022), Petzel

Cosima von Bonin, What If They Bark 08 (2022), at Petzel

One of the German artist’s irreverent fish sculptures, which stood sentry atop the central pavilion at the Giardini during 2022’s Venice Biennale, What If They Bark 08 made the journey to Frieze with a stop off for conservation. “It really needed to be cleaned after Venice because of all the pigeons,” says Andrea Teschke, a partner at Petzel. The sculpture, priced at $90,000, was still fishing for a buyer as of midday Friday.

Sula Bermúdez-Silverman, Amphisbaena (2023), Hannah Hoffman Gallery

Sula Bermúdez-Silverman, Amphisbaena (2023), at Hannah Hoffman Gallery

With Amphisbaena, the Los Angeles-based artist is reimagining a symbol from Chinese mythology—the ball and claw, which represents knowledge—except this claw holds a piece of bright-red coral inside a glass ball. “When Europeans first saw coral, they thought it was this precious thing when in fact it was readily available in the sea,” explains Hannah Hoffman director Adrianna Cole. The sculpture is not so available; it sold during the VIP preview for $35,000.

Lee Bontecou, Untitled (2001), Marc Selwyn Fine Art

Lee Bontecou, Untitled (2001), atMarc Selwyn Fine Art

Visitors familiar with Bontecou’s wall-mounted abstract sculptures may be surprised to spy this cyberpunk bird made of steel, wire and porcelain on Marc Selwyn’s stand. “It’s more of a hybrid of a bird, a dragon and a dinosaur,” Selwyn says. “She was always interested in exotic and mystical animals.” Collectors were interested, too, it seems; a buyer swooped in for the sculpture during the fair’s VIP preview, capturing the work for an undisclosed price.

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