There's No Seasons in LA
"To valet at the hotel tonight it'll be $68..." This was how our foray into this year's Los Angeles Frieze began. Frieze is an international, contemporary art fair that pops-up in a number of cities across the globe, and last weekend this year's fair took place next to The Beverly Hilton hotel. As you can imagine, combining the worlds of fine art and that of Beverly Hills makes for quite an over-the-top scene…
Attending once again brought an uneasy mix of delight and stress at the fact that I was yet again attending an art fair, which was great, but I was also surrounded by a quarter of the attendees just raw-doggin' the recycled tent air, not a mask to be seen 🧐 The fair itself was a smaller occasion. It felt like roughly the same amount of exhibitors though in a much smaller footprint. Gone were the opulent and over-the-top booths of previous years. Some of the entertainment that Frieze had brought in the past was a gaudy brashness that only big gallery money can produce.
In hindsight, there were a few trends to be seen across the floor. I spotted quite a few “abstract sculpture blob sitting on the floor” scattered around many booths. A lot of artists were working in textiles, which included some beautiful woven pieces made from discarded materials, books and flags pulped onto canvas, leather fragments that had been distorted and cut-up to reveal colorful details, and a Mickey Mouse who looked like he’d been holding a hand grenade a moment too long. I noticed quite a lot of interesting takes on abstraction, some gestural, some sculptural, some floral, and some digital-looking but done with oils.
Overall though, I had a feeling of being inspired yet again, getting to take in these beautiful pieces, really observing the details and nuance that you can’t process while looking at a screen. I’m clearly not the target market for an even like Frieze but it made me realize that I’m happy to be a tourist, soaking it all in and processing it for some future project of my own.
✖ — One of my favorite branding projects from the last few months has to be Mother’s work on The Park Lane Hotel. The project feels like a happy melding of Art Nouveau and Kate Gibb which results in a vibe that’s kinda’ timeless. It’s all quite ethereal and magical as a whole, which for me, is exactly what I want from a hotel experience.
✖ — Paris keeps making bold moves in urban planning and they have two big schemes they’re working on that have me excited. The first plan, which will roll out in 2024, is to “ban” cars traveling through the 1st through 4th arrondissements. To be clear, “delivery, service and emergency vehicles are allowed, and residents will be able to access their homes by car; but this move will basically ban thru traffic in the center of Paris.” This is literally a dream, especially with how walkable/cycle-able Paris is, and the heart of the city is the perfect place to try this.
The second plan is to build a four kilometer cable car system that will better unite the suburbs of Paris. The cable car system was chosen due to the hilly terrain in the suburbs, which has limited the creation of metro and trains lines. I love this as an elegant solution to an interesting challenge. Why don’t we have more cable car systems everywhere?!
✖ — When you come across folks like Louie Zong you can’t help but be both impressed, jealous, and annoyed by his talent. He describes himself as an illustrator, which seems limiting because he does 3D, storyboards, backgrounds, animation, pixel art… you name it, he’s good at it all. He’s also a musician, releasing songs constantly and writing albums with friends.
What I want to direct your attention to though is a very silly project he’s started called Goodwill Beats, where he buys three random records from Goodwill, find some interesting elements and makes an entirely new track. You can listen to episodes two and three as well, I really hope he keeps making more!
✖ — This year’s Desert X AlUla, which takes place in ancient desert region of Saudi Arabia, kicked off last week with an immense line-up of creatives making around the theme of Sarab. “The exhibition explores ideas of mirage and oasis, both intrinsic to desert history and culture, that have taken on complex worldwide significance over time.”
Visiting Desert X in Palm Springs is always a very special treat but the works at AlUla are SPECTACULAR (even though there have been philosophical issues in the past around the event itself). Land art and intervention pieces like these are always incredible to experience, and they photograph so well, they must be a treat to experience in person. Highlights for me include Claudia Comte’s Op Art installations, Shezad Dawood’s ancient-looking fossil piece, and Zeinab AlHashemi’s gemotetric, camoflouge rock sculptures which are actually covered with camel hides.
✖ — Maitri Shah released this super cute, super juicy gradient pack that features 50 different designs. A super helpful resource that she’s giving away for free, though if your’e able, I’d highly recommend paying her for her work!
✖ — When I watch TV I usually put on home interior or home design shows because I find interior design to be one of the most interesting fields. I was watching this series called "For The Love of Kitchens” which features Paul and Helen of deVOL Kitchens, and Helen happened to describe a color as “Scheele’s Green,” which I had personally never heard of. This led me down a rabbit hole of discovery, including this fascinating article in The Paris Review which talks about the deadly history of the color, because as it turns out, it was made with arsenic ☠️ Still a gorgeous, gorgeous color.
✖ — I think this painting, titled Homer vs Homer, by Eike Koenig is so funny. Nothing deep at all here but it brings me joy every time I think about it. Sadly, I did not see this at Frieze…
✖ — If you need some new things to listen to, here are some recommendations: Jessy Lanza’s DJ Kicks, Sonic Messengers with AceMo, Shinichi Atobe’s ‘Love of Plastic’, Whatever the Weather’s (Lorraine James) Mix for Beats in Space, and the new Sally Shapiro record, ‘Sad Cities.’
The Trend Report™ by my partner, Kyle Raymond Fitzpatrick, is a sharp and insightful look at everything going on in the world, arriving every Sunday to your inbox. Highly recommended, obviously.