Inside Frieze Los Angeles, California’s Hottest Art Fair

Robert Downey Jr., Will Ferrell and Rob Lowe were among the celebs who turned out for Frieze L.A.’s VIP preview.

Jet-set celebs and VIPs typically scour the globe from Miami to Maastrich in search of the fine art world’s flashiest fairs, but Frieze Los Angeles puts one of the best right in their backyards. Robert Downey Jr., Will Ferrell, and Rob Lowe were just some of the celebs who attended an invitation-only preview, alongside art world royalty like curator Thelma Golden and writer Kenny Schachter.

Frieze L.A. debuted in 2019. Last year marked the fair’s largest-ever edition, but this year’s exhibit is smaller—down from 120 galleries across two tents to 95 galleries under one big top. No matter the size, the event is always a mainstay of the art world—here are five must-see booths to check out before Frieze L.A. wraps on March 3.


(Courtesy of the artists and BLUM Los Angeles, Tokyo, New York. Photo by Hannah Mjølsnes)

This year marks 30 years of BLUM—originally known as BLUM + POE—anchoring L.A.’s galleries. Their booth is one of the first to welcome attendees at the entrance to Frieze L.A.. Inside, recent works from BLUM’s 60 international artists offer thrills, snark and flash. Yuji Ueda’s vases on the floor ooze as if they’re not really made of ceramic. The sunset scene by trending painter Friedrich Kunath seems to cast a glow on them, but maybe that’s just the neon lights on Alvaro Barrington’s sculptural portrait of a dunking Kobe Bryant surrounded by milk crates mounted on mirrors—an ultimate ode to L.A.

Proyectos Monclova


Eye-catching tangerine walls both complement the art and attract viewers into Mexico City-based Proyectos Monclova’s presentation of Mexican artists Aydeé Rodríguez López and David Montaño Roque. López’s works of oil on canvas, each mounted on hand-carved, dyed poplar wood frames, honor the legacies of Afro-Mexican laborers and the strife of the Spanish Conquest.

Meanwhile, Roque’s freestanding sculptures of animate masks featuring horse hair and deer antlers—also featuring hand-dyed and carved poplar bases—conjure the ritual Dance of the Devils. The duo’s shared enthusiasm for overlooked histories has inspired plenty of buyers. L.A.-based curator Claudia Huiza tells us that she sold two works on-view by whispering admiration in the ear of an established Mexican collector.


(Courtesy of the artist and Kasmin, New York)

She’s back…and better than ever. L.A.-born and Pittsburgh-based sculptor Vanessa German made a huge splash two years back when her scintillating, maximalist sculptures went on-view at Kasmin’s booth during New York’s Independent Art Fair in May 2022.

Frieze L.A., however, debuts German’s latest experiments in sweet, scintillating rose quartz. She conceptualized the whole series, in fact, for this very event. The forms themselves range from busts to skateboards and even a machine gun, altogether honoring her hometown’s hip-hop history while casting the Black community’s cultural contributions in new, complex, and loving lights. She’s recorded prayers to accompany certain sculptures on-view, available to hear on request.


(Courtesy of the artists and OMR, Mexico City. Photo by Jacob Flood)

The Mexico City-based OMR booth features the work of five artists total, including Pia Camil’s drawings inspired by recent stay in a South Indian Ayurvedic village and a scaly, gilded sculpture by Gabriel Rico.

The varied efforts of Eduardo Sarabia, however, carry the showcase, imbuing archetypal craft techniques like stained glass, ceramic tile, and classic oil painting with contemporary iconography like dice and mirror pics rife with mysticism and sex appeal. Two vivid babes drawn by buzzy artist Simon Fujiwara hail from his ongoing Who The Baer series. Their buxom forms recall a Ganguin fetish for Tahiti against the booth’s opposite wall.

Tina Kim Gallery

(Courtesy of Tina Kim Gallery. Photo by Charles Roussel)

Pioneering powerbroker Tina Kim is sharing an extensive array of works from her notably intellectual roster all weekend. Disparate artistic approaches harmonize on the common ground of mesmerizing patterns. Jennifer Tee has a solo show at Tina Kim New York right now, and one of her works in Tina Kim’s Frieze L.A. booth features a series of tulip petal collages, which she scans and rearranges into the blueprints of big transatlantic ships.

A psychedelic, mixed-media trapunto painting by Pacita Abad highlights Tee’s earthy hues. Sculptures punctuate the full mix, from a compact example of Mire Lee’s body horror to a tall, dark, bronze screen by Ghada Amer that’s embossed with a topless beauty that’s seemingly straight from a European porn zine.