The first two iterations of Frieze Los Angeles seemed brand new, steeped so deeply in the mystique of La La Land that stereotypes almost collapsed in on themselves: on the backlot of Paramount Studios in Hollywood, with Frieze projects scattered across a set built to look like New York. Town. It was amusing to see the work of Los Angeles artists take over a fake version of the city long considered America’s true art capital (even though galleries and artists in Los Angeles have often ignored this West versus East competition). And it was tempting to spend more time exploring this set, complete with bars and food trucks, than diving into the pristine cabin-lined tent.
This year, Frieze Los Angeles — back for the first time since 2020, relaunched as Omicron crosses the population — was less whimsical, more down-to-earth. The tent, designed once again by Kulapat Yantrasast and his firm wHY architecture, was 40% larger, accommodating 100 galleries instead of 70. It was built next to the efficient and looming Beverly Hills Hilton Hotel, a mid-century landmark built by Conrad Hilton in 1955. With the cancellation of a public sculpture installation in nearby Beverly Gardens Park, the big tent had little competition; there weren’t even many restaurants on site to draw customers away from the litany of stalls.