Frieze is one of the most anticipated events of the art year, and the Los Angeles edition in 2023 promises to be one of the most spectacular yet.
Running from the 16 – 19 February and taking place at Santa Monica airport alongside more than 120 galleries, pop-ups from LA’s most-loved restaurants, solo exhibitions and more, Frieze Los Angeles is set to have the whole city in an art frenzy. LA’s museums are also celebrating the event with exhibitions and programs of their own. There’s so much to see and explore that it’s hard to know where to begin. The below are a good place to start.
SLS Hotel Beverly Hills
This contemporary property originally designed by industrial architect, Philippe Starck, is a dream to stay in while in Los Angeles. Upgraded (to the tune of $22 million) in 2018, Starck’s playful design remains. Any trip to the city for Frieze is bound to be busy, but try to find time to explore this utterly-trendy hotel. Beyond the tastefully-decorated rooms, soak up the sun at the rooftop pool with impressive views over the city. Spend an evening dining in The Bazaar, a restaurant from James Beard award winning chef, José Andrés, for a culinary experience like no other. Elsewhere, head to the Ciel Spa for some rest and relaxation or to the salon for a blow dry – or even eyelash extensions – before heading out to any evening art events.
Palihouse Santa Monica
This 38 suite boutique beach lodge is the perfect base for those wishing to enjoy Frieze LA during the day but who also want an intimate, yet luxurious setting to return to. The Palihouse opened its doors back in 1927 and is a historically-rich hotel blending Californian sunshine with European urban-chic design. With tastefully decorated rooms, on-demand spa services, and even a bocce ball and croquet field, this unique hotel has everything you need for a peaceful and relaxing stay after the rush and crowds of the art fair. Dining is a delight here too, with a menu created using produce sourced from Santa Monica Farmers’ Market, somewhere it’s worth visiting yourself too – ask the concierge to help you arrange a trip.
The Hoxton, Downtown LA
Cool, modern and original, the Hoxton’s Downtown LA location is a hotspot for tourists and locals alike, and an ideal location from which to explore Frieze Art Fair at just a few steps from the hotel. Rest in one of their glamorous beach-meets-Hollywood styled rooms or lounge besides their rooftop pool. Take your pick between the refreshing Peruvian cuisine at rooftop restaurant, Cabra Los Angeles or a delicious French dish at Café Basque, inspired by the country’s southwest region. As a bonus, the hotel is offering a Frieze-friendly rate: use the code FRIEZE when booking.
EAT + DRINK
If you want to enjoy a true Santa Monica institution, head to Michael’s on 3rd Street. Open since 1979, this restaurant has pioneered California-style cooking, and has been a starting point for many world-renowned chefs such as Nancy Silverton and Brooke Williamson. The menu here is a flavourful blend of Californian seasonal ingredients, with plenty of vegan options. Start with the Japanese Amberjack Crudo, then enjoy a Liberty Duck Confit. For drinks, try a signature Last Chance cocktail shaken with tequila blanco, pomegranate and curacao, or the Heavenly Jamaica mocktail with hibiscus tea and orange.
This critically-acclaimed restaurant should be at the top of your ‘to-go’ list if you’re looking for fresh food in an elegant setting. With ingredients straight from the Santa Monica Market and local farmers, Rustic Canyon’s menu is made for sharing. Whether it’s their signature Beets & Berries dish, a Sourdough Pasta with Smallhold oyster mushrooms and local maitake or the Malibu Honeycomb ice cream, you’ll find a plate that makes it crystal-clear why this local institution has earned a Michelin Star.
If you’re in the mood for tapas and a good time, head to Santa Monica Boulevard and stop at Bar Monette. This cosy yet trendy Neapolitan pizza and tapas bar opened just last month and is already making foodie-waves. You can share delicious treats such as the Truffled Creamed Corn and Charcoal Grilled Prawns, or enjoy a tasty pizza from their varied selection. After a day spent upping your step count as you browse works of art, this is a spot to spend some quality downtime with friends and good food.
TO SEE AT FRIEZE
British art dealer, Victoria Miro, founded her eponymous gallery in 1985 which, with locations in London and Venice, has become an institution of the art world. At Frieze Los Angeles 2023, the gallery will showcase a solo presentation of new works by Israeli artist Doron Langberg. His large scale and colourful paintings cover a variety of subjects, from queer love to landscapes and wildflowers. The connecting thread between them is the exploration of the complexities of intimacy and physicality that can be found through different relationships. His pieces are both overwhelming and touching, and Sleeping (pictured) highlights this take perfectly.
Based in Ketchum, Idaho with a branch in Los Angeles, Ochi has made a name for itself as a contemporary gallery thanks to its focus on artists with experimental practices and works. During Frieze Los Angeles 2023 – the gallery’s first showing here – they will be presenting one of the most anticipated booths of the fair. Hana Ward’s solo exhibition in the Focus section will display her new paintings and ceramics which examine themes of identity, introspection and transformation. Her Black and Brown feminine figures against vivid backgrounds of domestic spaces and landscapes trace poetic narratives around liberation and actualisation.
Mazzoleni is one of the most prominent contemporary art galleries in Italy, with locations in both Turin and London. This year, they bring their focus on Post-War Italian Art to Frieze Los Angeles with a presentation around the ideas of light and movement. Among the prominent Italian artists featured are Lucio Fontana, pioneer of the Spacialist movement, and abstract painter Carla Accardi, whose works exploring the path of light through monochrome paintings and reflective varnishes are an experimental look at how light and colour guide the spectator’s eye through a piece.
Thaddeus Ropac is an Austrian gallerist with an interest in international contemporary art, who represents more than 60 artists through his galleries in London, Seoul, Paris and Salzburg. His booth at this year’s Frieze Los Angeles will feature artists from around the globe such as American figurative painter, Alex Katz, and London-based painter, Alvaro Barrington. We particularly love Barrington’s Streets is Watching (pictured). Created by pushing wet cement onto a plush red carpet, the figure represents the imprisonment faced by societies plagued with threats of war, the pandemic and the opioid crisis. The metal gold chain that links the hands is a literal representation of this plight, and highlight’s Barrington’s clever use of sculptural elements in his work.
‘Regeneration: Black Cinema 1898 – 1971’ at The Academy Museum of Motion Pictures
Film lovers will appreciate this journey through Black Americans’ contributions and innovations in cinema throughout the decades. With seven galleries and themes, its linear construction takes us from the representation of Black people in entertainment at the dawn of the 20th century to the first independent Black filmmakers, passing through the impact of Black music and culture in films, Black directors’ activism during the Civil Rights Movements and the rise of the first Black movie stars. It’s a tale of pioneering creativity, resilience and political activism, paired with over 225 original objects including scripts, drawings and costumes – all of which bring together the stories of those that helped shape American cinema today.
‘Looking West’ and more at the Santa Monica Art Museum
Santa Monica Art Museum defines itself as an “artists museum”, reflecting and experimenting not just on the finished artworks, but on the creative process that artists undergo to create them. For Frieze Los Angeles 2023, the museum offers several discussion panels, such as “Crypto Mermaids & Mimosas Powered By Tezos”, which will look at female empowerment and the importance of having female voice in Web3 spaces. The artist Gretchen Andrew will be a featured speaker on the panel “Expanded.art NFT Feminism”. You can also find her work in the museum’s first ongoing exhibition “Looking West”, which is a deep dive into the question “What makes at Art Museum?” – something Gretchen and other regional artists have tried to answer.
‘Bridget Riley Drawings: from the Artist’s Studio’ at The Hammer Museum
English painter Bridget Riley is most notable for her “op art” (short for optical art). This is a chance to see more than 90 sheets and pieces from Riley’s private collection, and to admire not just the results of the work, but the creation of art as it is being made. The exhibition will showcase Riley’s drawings as a student and beyond, each an essential element to her thought process and to highlight phases of her career as an artist. From the exclusive use of black and white to draw geometric shapes to her inclusion of colour-play with different lights and shades, this is a journey through an artist’s mind as much as her archives.