Cattelan’s Comeback
Frieze Week in New York

Frieze London got the ball rolling, bringing out the first issue of “Frieze Week” on the occasion of the 13th edition of the fair. The magazine not only provided background information on the event, but also showed what the art scene in the British capital had to offer outside of the tents in Regent’s Park. Like the London fair Frieze New York is also sponsored by Deutschen Bank and has now it's own edition of "Frieze Week." There is a lot to report on, since many exciting exhibitions are on the agenda in museums and art spaces in Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens concurrently with the Frieze.

Among the biggest attractions is the new Met Breuer that is now opening in the building that formerly housed the Whitney Museum on Madison Avenue. The Metropolitan Museum has an eight-year lease on Marcel Breuer’s brutalist concrete fortress. In the elaborately renovated rooms with their gray slate floors, bronze doors, and cast concrete, the Met is showing its experimental side: contemporary art in dialog with older works and artists outside of the Western canon. The first two exhibitions demonstrate the fascinating possibilities of this concept. With Nasreen Mohamedi, Met Breuer is presenting a veritable new discovery. The abstract drawings of the Indian artist, who died in 1990, boast a kind of minimalism that combines Western and Eastern influences. On view at the same time, Unfinished. Thoughts Left Visible is devoted to the very special appeal of unfinished artworks. The ambitious show ranges from Titian and Rembrandt, to Cézanne and Pollock, all the way to contemporary artists such as Urs Fischer and Robert Gober. The Met’s mothership on Fifth Avenue is also giving Frieze visitors a good reason to make a detour to central Manhattan. Cornelia Parker, who is represented in the Deutsche Bank Collection, is presenting an homage to Alfred Hitchcock. In the museum’s roof garden, she installed a miniature reproduction of the house of Norman Bates, the “hero” of Hitchcock’s thriller Psycho. With her intervention, the British concept artist gives the popular meeting place in good weather, with its magnificent view of New York’s skyline, a sinister touch.

By contrast, the Roberto Burle Marx retrospective at the Jewish Museum, sponsored by Deutsche Bank, has a summerlike, carefree spirit. The Brazilian landscape architect designed gardens and parks whose ground plans are reminiscent of Cubist paintings. His exhilarating mosaic pavements for the Copacabana in Rio de Janeiro are world famous. Creating abstract ornaments out of white limestone and black basalt, he transformed the beach promenade into a four-kilometer-long artwork. But Burle Marx not only broke new ground as a landscape architect. With a selection of bright-colored paintings, sculptures, ceramic pieces, stage sets, and carpets, the Jewish Museum is presenting the full range of his creativity. And works by Dominque Gonzalez-Foerster, Nick Mauss, and Beatriz Milhazes included in the show demonstrate that his work is still inspiring numerous artists today.

If you are interested in what Middle Eastern and North African artists are occupied with today, you shouldn’t miss the exhibition But a Storm Is Blowing from Paradise at the Guggenheim. The show includes artists from the Deutsche Bank Collection, such as Kader Attia, Ori Gersht, and Zineb Sedira. At the Museum of Modern Art, you can find out why the poetic conceptualist Marcel Broodhaers is still playing a pioneering role today, while the Whitney Museum’s show Human Interest takes a fresh look at one of the most classical art genres: the portrait.

Things get loud at the Brooklyn Museum, where Tom Sachs’ Boombox Retrospective is on view. The show features sculptures made out of ghetto blasters, for which the artist naturally put together the appropriate music. Youth and street culture also figure prominently in Cao Fei’s work. At PS1, she is presenting her first comprehensive solo exhibition at an American museum. Cao Fei, to whom an entire floor of the Deutsche Bank Towers in Frankfurt has been devoted since 2011, is regarded as one of the most compelling contemporary Chinese artists and belongs to the first generation to grow up in post-communist China. In her films, performances, and installations, she casts a critical glance at the state of society in her home country, which is characterized by increasing urbanization and rapid technological and social change.

The highlight of Frieze Week is the Deutsche Bank-sponsored fair itself. More than 200 international galleries, from A Gentil Carioca (Rio de Janeiro) to Zwirner (New York/London), give insight into current art from around the world. While Herald St (London) is showing new works by Markus Amm. Ramin & Rokni Haerizadeh and Hesam Rahmanian have transformed the booth of Gallery Isabelle van den Eynde (Dubai) into wildly sprawling installations typical of the art collective. And hunt kastner (Prague) is presenting Basim Magdy, who currently has a solo show at the Deutsche Bank KunstHalle. Frieze visitors can also experience the Deutsche Bank “Artist of the Year” 2016 live. In the Reading Room, a new space where the world’s leading art publications are presented, Magdy talks with Omar Kholeif, Senior Curator at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago. Of course Deutsche Bank is also present at the Frieze New York, showing a selection of works by Xaviera Simmons.

The fair’s supporting program also has some surprises in store. Aside from talks with prominent participants, they can mainly be found in the Frieze Projects. This year they feature Alex Da Corte, who has a giant balloon rise above Randall’s Island, and David Horvitz, who commissions a professional pickpocket to smuggle miniature sculptures into visitors’ pockets. Projects curator Cecilia Alemani pulled off a very special coup by getting Maurizio Cattelan to come out of retirement. After his retrospective All at the Guggenheim in 2012, the provocative artist said farewell to the art world. But he has returned for an homage at the Daniel Newburg Gallery. Between 1984 and 1994, Daniel Newburg enable future-oriented artists from Europe to make their debuts in New York, including John Armleder and Rudolf Stingel, as well as Cattelan, who had the last exhibition at the gallery. It consisted of just two exhibits – an opulent crystal chandelier and a live donkey. But owing to the latter’s ear-shattering hee haws, neighbors complained and the show had to close after just one day. What he will confront visitors to Frieze New York with is still top secret. Cecilia Alemani has only revealed the following in advance: Cattelan is planning “something rather disrespectful.”

Frieze New York
Randall's Island Park
May 5 – 8, 2016

Artist’s Talk Basim Magdy
The Stars Were Aligned for a Century of New Beginnings: Basim Magdy talks with Omar Kholeif
Friday, May 6, 2.30 pm
Reading Room