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In Los Angeles, Even an Art Fair Is Really About Parties


“I think Frieze is fantastic,” James Corden said. “I went to the one in London before anyone in LA even knew what it was.”

It was Tuesday in Los Angeles, and Mr. Corden, the former late-night host who now lives in London, was standing inside the home of Jimmy Iovine, the co-founder of Interscope Records and former CEO of Beats Electronics in Holmby Hills. . About 225 people had gathered for an art auction hosted by Mr. Iovine and Dr. Dre and organized by Sotheby’s.

The event was part of a week of art talks, exhibitions and dinners culminating with Frieze Los Angelesa four-day contemporary art fair held at the Santa Monica Airport.

Frieze started in London in 2003 and has since expanded to New York, Los Angeles and Seoul. (Last year, Frieze too purchased two existing art fairsExpo Chicago and Armory Show in Manhattan.)

This was Frieze’s fifth year in Los Angeles and, as Mr. Corden pointed out, the event is gaining momentum on the West Coast. Simon Fox, the managing director of Frieze, estimates that the festivities have doubled in scale compared to last year. “I think we counted over 150 different events that took place in the city around the fair,” he said. “The city is exploding. »

This year’s Frieze Week, as it’s unofficially called, coincides with an exciting time for Los Angeles’ burgeoning art scene, which was bolstered last year by new galleries and freshly relocated artists.

Frieze Week acts as a coming out party, a centralized hub for all artists and galleries to come together and celebrate.

The event Mr. Corden attended took place at Mr. Iovine’s indoor rink, in a converted garage. On the wall were mural-style portraits of his friends, including Mary J. Blige, Snoop Dogg and Bono.

“We have roller skating parties here,” Mr. Iovine said of the space. Usher, who showed his skills in last month’s Super Bowl halftime show, is a regular: “He has skated here a hundred times. » Each table was well stocked with Dr. Dre’s canned gin and juice cocktails.

The goal was to raise money for the hosts’ non-profit organization, the Iovins and Youth Center, which reinvents public high school curricula to teach students skills in art and design, business, technology, engineering and computer science. Sotheby’s organized a sale of 11 contemporary works by artists including Reggie Burrows Hodges, Ann Craven and Ed Ruscha who, according to the auction house, raised $2.5 million.

Benny Blanco had his eyes on a 15-by-11-inch Noah Davis. “I know it’s small, but it’s me,” said Mr. Blanco, a record producer. “I’m 5-5 on a good day.”

Katie Couric said that while she was there for the art — “I’m one of those people who really enjoys looking at it” — she was also there to have a good time. “Frieze is a really fun excuse to see a lot of great people and party,” she said with a laugh. “I try to get invited to as many things as possible. Please give them my email.

Dr. Dre left empty-handed. “I offered my thing once and got outbid, but you know, it’s all good,” he said. “I’m just having fun.”

The evening concluded with a live performance from prolific record producer Timbaland that allowed Dr. Dre and Mr. Corden, fresh off a plane and incredibly jet-lagged, to sing and dance.

The evening was Sotheby’s first major event before a Frieze Los Angeles, and it’s not the only brand getting involved. Maestro Dobel Tequila set up an Oaxacan-inspired lounge at the art fair with a custom bar by designer Marissa Naval and tapestries by artist Javier Reyes.

“We’ve often encountered guests who come to experience the art but stay for the tequila,” said Alejandra Martínez, creative director of the brand’s art platform that champions Latino artists and creators. Indeed, on the opening day of the fair, a steady stream of margaritas and Old-Fashioned Oaxaca cocktails was served.

Frieze sponsor Ruinart hosted a four-course dinner at the beachfront hotel Shutters on the Beach in Santa Monica, where guests, wearing ribbons made by artist Andrea Bowers, enjoyed several types of champagne . BMW is sponsoring Frieze Music, an evening of live music taking place Friday at the Hammer Museum. (“This is the first time we’ve done it here,” Mr. Fox said of the museum, affiliated with the University of California, Los Angeles. “It attracts a younger crowd.”)

The opening of Frieze Los Angeles on Thursday attracted celebrities including Jessica Biel, Leonardo DiCaprio, Robert Downey Jr., Tobey Maguire, Rob Lowe, Luke Wilson and Owen Wilson. But Frieze Week began unofficially Monday evening at the Getty Villa, an art museum on the Malibu Coast in Los Angeles’ Pacific Palisades neighborhood.

The event opened with a champagne reception held in the museum’s famous courtyard, flanked by fluted pillars and filled with Roman antiquities. Guests, including artists like Lauren Halsey, wealthy collectors like Ric Whitney, and tastemakers like Rocky Barnes and Balthazar Getty, snacked on sliders and cheese plates before watching a dramatic ballet choreographed by Benjamin Millepied .

Some guests ventured into the galleries, admiring masterpieces like a statue of Hercules created around 125 AD. During breaks in the rain, they walked through well-kept, illuminated gardens.

“It’s a really exciting opportunity for Los Angeles to show off,” said Casey Fremont, executive director of the Art Production Fund, a nonprofit that produces public art projects. “The art world in Los Angeles is booming. There are artists moving here, there are galleries coming to Los Angeles. »

Mr. Getty, an actor, musician and patron whose family owns the museum, attended with his wife, the fashion designer Rosetta Millington, and some of his five children. “Parties here are always fun because it’s a family affair, but I love that Los Angeles is more and more a place where art is taken seriously.”

“People made fun of Los Angeles, saying it was just sunbathing and talking about movies,” he added. “But look at all this culture, this food, this art, this music and this fashion. LA is no longer New York’s little brother. He stands on his two feet. »

Michael Govan, executive director and director of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, said he can’t wait to see what the newcomers will do during Frieze Week. “Everything fascinates me,” he says, laughing. “I plan to discover something new. I will be surprised.

One reason LA Frieze Week has attracted such an international audience is the weather, said Adam Cohen, who apprenticed with Larry Gagosian and now runs his own gallery, A Hug From the Art World, in Manhattan. “I think people like to come to Los Angeles in February.”

While Los Angeles has experienced above average precipitation This winter, the weather finally turned warm and sunny on Wednesday, and locals and visitors were ready to party.

Some went to Melrose Hill, where the David Zwirner Gallery was throwing a party at a trendy Italian restaurant down the street from its new location in two former 1930s prop warehouses. Artists and collectors came all night to drink natural wine and feast on platters of steak, arancini and focaccia.

Lana Del Rey, Jwan Yosef, David Dobrik, Zachary Quinto and Tyler Mitchell, the photographer best known for his Vogue cover of Beyoncé, headed to West Hollywood, where the Serpentine Americas Foundation launched a rage against the estate of Matthew Orr and Sybil Robson Orr, an American film producer who is part of Walmart’s Walton family. Hundreds of guests danced around the pool with a breathtaking view of the city to the sounds of a DJ. Others mingled in the pool house where one of the many bars was set up.

Around midnight, the crowd dispersed to rest before the art fair began the next day.

One guest was heard exclaiming as he left: “I went to four parties tonight. This never happens in Los Angeles. »


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