Arts & Entertainment

Abortion, other hot topics stand out at New York Frieze

By Nora Quintanilla

New York City, US, May 18 (EFE).- The hottest topics in the world, from abortion rights in the United States and sexual violence in Mexico to the war in Ukraine, are reflected in the contemporary art exhibited from Wednesday at Frieze New York.

This sister event of Frieze London has brought 65 galleries to the Big Apple for its 10th anniversary, fewer than other years, and returns for the second time to the new cultural center The Shed, close to the neighborhoods of Chelsea and Tribeca, where most of the art venues are located.

On the first day, which was by invitation only, this building in the upscale Hudson Yards, Manhattan, was packed to the brim with dealers, collectors and art lovers viewing and photographing works, including one that drew attention in a corridor.

“Trigger planting” is a large map of the US that indicates the states in which the right to abortion is at risk with pockets of medicinal herbs that have been used historically as an abortion “remedy” and to induce menstruation.

Fair director Christine Messineo told EFE that the work is by an artistic group represented by the A.I.R. Gallery, which was created by women a year before abortion was legalized in the country, and in whose projects reproductive rights have always been important.

Messineo also highlighted that Frieze, which hosts the most important galleries in New York, such as Gagosian, David Zwirner and Sean Kelly, is not limited to one city – not even to one country – and has a global character, something that can be seen in the fact that half of the exhibitors come from other countries.

The Colombian Institute of Vision dedicated its entire space to the Mexican artist Tania Candiani, with embroidered paintings that trace the silhouettes of protesters who in 2019 took to the streets of Mexico City to protest against laws that “privilege abusers over victims of sexual violence.”

“Frieze serves as a platform for our artists, and showing a solo artist allows us to delve into their body of work and their thinking,” explained Omayra Alvarado-Jensen, its executive director.

The fair will host until its last day on Sunday the private auction of a portrait by Colombian-born María Berrío, who will allocate the proceeds to Unicef for the benefit of Ukrainian children affected by the war.

“I think it’s important to take action. It’s the least we can do,” she said next to the painting, made with Japanese paper and entitled “The Cuttings.” A woman is seen holding “cut (sun)flowers that symbolize how people’s lives are being cut short, with a gray background of smoke.”

But not everything is awareness in the quintessential event of contemporary art, and even less in a market that moves millions. This was the case of Gagosian gallery, where abstract pieces by Albert Oehlen were exhibited and where people kept milling around.

The reason was not the paintings, but a dispensing machine that offered a drink invented by the artist, Cofftea, in glass bottles, which visitors took as a souvenir. EFE


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