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10 Picks from Frieze New York 2014

Sam Lewitt, Flexible Control (Touch Through Me Lineament), 2013, Photolithographic etchings on copper-clad plastic, laminate, steel bracket. Image courtesy of the artist and Miguel Abreu Gallery.

The spectre of digital technology loomed large this year at Frieze. As with his sculptural installation, Flexible Control (Touch Through Me Lineament), Lewitt’s work often incorporates the forms and materials associated with computer circuitry and its production.

Nikolas Gambaroff, Untitled, 2014, paper and acrylic on aluminum panel. Image courtesy of the artist and Overduin and Co.

Gambaroff's mixed-media works look like the kind of comics you wished you had as a kid. In a process that appropriates all manner of printed materials (newspapers, cartoon strips), Gambaroff deftly explores themes of mass media and artistic appropriation.




Kara Walker, Burning Africa Play Set with Big House and Lynching (22 parts), painted laser cut in steel. Image courtesy of the artist and Sikkema Jenkins & Co.

It’s been a big year for Walker. In addition to exhibiting at Frieze, this week she also unveiled a gargantuan 75-foot Sphinx-like sculpture at the soon-to-be-demolished Domino Refinery. And while the scale of the works on display at the fair is miniature by comparison, the themes Walker addresses here are nonetheless monumental. 


Doug Aitken, I Think Very Deeply, 2013, hand carved foam, acrylic letters and hand silk-screened acrylic. Image courtesy of the artist and 303 Gallery.

Aitken’s works often treads a fine line between heady metaphysics and a downright love of all things overtly theatrical. Perhaps aware of his this, his declaration of profundity is rightly etched not in stone, but rather porous foam.


Rirkrit Tiravanija, Untitled, 2012, stainless steel, acrylonitrile butadiene styrene plastic. Image courtesy of artist and Kurimanzutto Gallery.

Among other things, Tiravanija has made a name for himself producing large communal meals as participatory art (he makes a mean curry). For Frieze however, he’s embraced 3-D printing, recreating artifacts from the home of a favored musician. Whether with food or such “printed” pieces, Tiravanija looks to challenge beliefs surrounding the production of goods and access to them.


Slavs and Tartars, Love Letters, 2014, wool, yarn, 247 x 247 cm. Image courtesy of artist and Raster gallery.

A collective of Eurasian artists that produce provocative, often politically charged works, the exhibition of their work at Frieze seems all the more timely given current events in Ukraine.



Pete Hujar, John Waters (I), vintage gelatin silver print, 1975. Image courtesy of the artist’s estate and Maureen Paley.

We can’t help but wonder what John Waters would make of the Frieze crowd? We're sure he’d find something incredibly scandalous to say. And yet, what makes the late Peter Hujar’s photograph of the young Waters so compelling is not a indication of the glorious pervert we’ve come to expect, but rather the look of youthful innocence, however fleeting.


Takeshi Murata, Melter 3-D, sculptural animation. Image courtesy of the artist and Ratio 3 Gallery.

You have to see Murata’s installation to believe it. Installed in a darkroom bathed in pulsing strobe lights (be warned), the surface of Murata’s silver orb ripples and quivers with the effect falling somewhere between the sublime and terrifying.


Liu Wei, Library II-II, 2013, books, wood, iron and hardware. Image courtesy of the artist and Lehmann Maupin Gallery.

While the precarious skylines of Wei’s three sculptures have a Lilliputian charm, they also recall the crumbling structures of Christopher Nolan’s Inception, tapping into a deeper psychic volatility at the heart of the urban landscape.



Taner Ceylan, Divine Ego, 2014, charcoal and 24K gold on paper. Image courtesy of the artist and Paul Kasmin Gallery.

Call us a sucker for anything that glorifies handsome men and Hieronymus Bosch. The level of detail in Ceylan’s gorgeous diptych is truly, well, divine.