Art

Frieze Fair Warms to L.A.

Bettina Korek is the executive director of Frieze Los Angeles.
JOHNNY LE
Bettina Korek is the executive director of Frieze Los Angeles.
The international art fair Frieze Los Angeles makes its triumphant return to Paramount Pictures Studios in L.A. for a second year of gallery installations, arts programming, and more.

Bettina Korek is the executive director of Frieze Los Angeles, a branch of the prestigious London-based art fair (you can catch it in New York, too). A longtime evangelist for the Southern California art scene and founder of the art advocacy organization ForYourArt, Korek surprised doubters last February with the success of Frieze’s first West Coast appearance. Long regarded as too sprawling or provincial to support an international art fair on the scale of Miami Beach’s Art Basel or the Armory Show in New York City, Los Angeles, it turned out, was ripe and ready for exactly that (30,000 people passed through over four days). Here, Korek shares what we can expect from Frieze round two, which will be at Paramount Pictures Studios from February 14 to 16.

Frieze seems to have been well-attended and well-liked. How did it seem to you?
We are really happy with how it went. While there’s always skepticism when something new is launched, there’s also increasing pride about the many art worlds that exist in Los Angeles.

What can you tell us about the 2020 installment?
We’re really excited to build on what was successful, like the emerging Los Angeles galleries; Rita Gonzalez, who curates contemporary art at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, will curate that part. We’ll also be expanding the artist-driven nonprofits and enterprises on the back lot—last year we had the Women’s Center for Creative Work, Artists for Democracy, [the] Acid-Free [book market]—to provide a bit of a snapshot of the city. It’s ironic that the back lot is a stand-in for vertical American cities…

Right, it looks like New York—
And we’re trying to bring Los Angeles to that. It’s important to give as much of that real estate over to artists and nonprofits.

What have you done for 2020 to root the fair here?
I grew up in Los Angeles; ForYourArt is dedicated to covering the art scene here. We highlight everything from artists hosting screenings in the elevators of their apartment buildings to what’s going on at LACMA. I’m passionate about having a range of stakeholders involved. There’s a feeling that this is a significant annual moment where galleries and museums benefit. We want the energy at Paramount to extend beyond.

FRIEZE LOS ANGELES

• Feb. 14–16
• Paramount Pictures Studios, N. Gower St. or N. Van Ness Ave. entrances
frieze.com

Editor’s Note: The above article is by Scott Timberg, a long-time Los Angeles arts journalist who took his own life in December at the age of 50 after we had gone to press. Scott’s passing touched us deeply; some of the Alta team had worked closely with him over the decades. The journalism community mourned him with a collective remembrance and created a memorial fund to help his family with expenses and his son’s college education.

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