The Weeknd, Gwyneth Paltrow, Leonardo DiCaprio, James Corden in the Market for Art at Frieze Los Angeles

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A mostly masked, Hollywood-heavy crowd showed up for the opening V.I.P. day of Frieze Los Angeles on Thursday, Feb. 17, as the art fair kicked off its third edition in a new, expanded space next to the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills. Among the day one attendees were James Corden, Leonardo DiCaprio, Will Ferrell, Gwyneth Paltrow, Owen Wilson, Pierce Brosnan with wife Keely Shaye Smith and 24-year-old son Dylan, Zachary Quinto, Amy Poehler, Bob Balaban, Jane Seymour, Matt Dillon, Rita Ora, Chris Rock, The Weeknd, Endeavor’s Ari Emanuel, IMG Media & Events’ Sam Zussman, UTA’s Peter Benedek, Pulse Music’s Josh Abraham and Propagate chairman Ben Silverman.

At a pre-fair breakfast in the Wilshire Garden tent, alongside the BIPOC Exchange presentation curated by L.A. artist-designer Tanya Aguiñiga, new Frieze L.A. director Christine Messineo and Beverly Hills Mayor Robert Wunderlich gave opening remarks.

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From left: Frieze Los Angeles director Christine Messineo, Amanda Hunt (organizer of the fair’s Focus LA section) and collector Joy Simmons - Credit: Owen Kolasinski/BFA.com, courtesy of Frieze
From left: Frieze Los Angeles director Christine Messineo, Amanda Hunt (organizer of the fair’s Focus LA section) and collector Joy Simmons - Credit: Owen Kolasinski/BFA.com, courtesy of Frieze

Owen Kolasinski/BFA.com, courtesy of Frieze

Known for his early Frieze appearances, Corden was already on the scene, attending with his agent, CAA’s Joel Lubin (himself an avid collector). Also mingling in advance of the fair was rapper 24kGoldn, who told The Hollywood Reporter, “I’m only 21 and this is my first Frieze, so it is a very educational experience for me. I think physical art and musical art go hand in hand, and so I’m just trying to get inspired today.”

As Wunderlich spoke, Emanuel was among those to shush the chatty crowd, eager to catch up as numbers of new COVID-19 cases fade. (Endeavor has a majority ownership of Frieze.) Messineo told THR that 35,000 attendees are expected over the fair’s four-day run, with 40 percent of the galleries based in Los Angeles. Several attendees were discussing the growing number of New York and international galleries expanding in L.A.

Among them was the designer of all three Frieze L.A. tents, wHY founder and creative director Kulapat Yantrasast, who added that this year’s tent is about 40 percent larger and contains 110 galleries, compared to 72 galleries at the 2020 fair. Dressed in a burgundy workwear jumpsuit embroidered with the name “George” (a flea market purchase), Yantrasast told THR that Frieze L.A. is “really cementing the idea that Los Angeles is truly the center of contemporary art.”

Also at the breakfast was California Film Commission executive director Colleen Bell, who said, “It’s so exciting to have Frieze back in L.A. after a couple years of not being here because of the pandemic. It’s a wonderful opportunity for people to come from all over the world to the beautiful city of Los Angeles to view art, experience art, talk about art and culture.”

Pierce Brosnan at Frieze Los Angeles - Credit: Owen Kolasinski/BFA.com, courtesy of Frieze
Pierce Brosnan at Frieze Los Angeles - Credit: Owen Kolasinski/BFA.com, courtesy of Frieze

Owen Kolasinski/BFA.com, courtesy of Frieze

Brosnan, who has a second career as an artist, was additionally accompanied by the buzzy Hilde Lynn Helphenstein (a.k.a. satirical critic Jerry Gogosian). “I was just introduced to the work of Simone Leigh, who is the first African American woman to represent the U.S. at the [Venice] Biennale,” he told THR, referring to the upcoming exhibition opening on April 23. “I just discovered her work and the work of many other great artists, and I’m having a most glorious day! It’s my first time at the L.A. Frieze or any Frieze. I’m a painter, I studied as an artist, so I’m thrilled to be here today. And it’s wonderful to see everyone out enjoying themselves, masked and happy.”

When asked about his current art projects, Brosnan mentioned a new series in progress. “I also just showed my work at Miami Art Basel with my other son, Paris, who is a painter and filmmaker,” he said. “And I’m working in the world of NFTs and selling those — it’s one piece, called Earplugs that I painted when I was doing GoldenEye, James Bond [in 1995], which I’ve given rebirth to. A company called LGND represents me for now. And so, I love art!”

The Weeknd at Frieze - Credit: Owen Kolasinski/BFA.com, courtesy of Frieze
The Weeknd at Frieze - Credit: Owen Kolasinski/BFA.com, courtesy of Frieze

Owen Kolasinski/BFA.com, courtesy of Frieze

The Weeknd (Abel Tesfaye), who recently purchased a $70 million home in Bel-Air, said a friendly “hello” and was seemingly looking to add to his extensive art collection, which includes work by Takashi Murakami, KAWS, Keith Haring, Hajime Sorayama. Andy Dixon, Taku Obatu, Julie Mehretu, Danny Fox and Joyce Pensato, according to Artnet.

“I love these, by a young Black artist,” producer Brian Grazer told THR enthusiastically, as he admired two screen print works (Coloring Book 80 and Coloring Book 70) by 36-year-old artist Sable Elyse Smith, who hails from L.A. “You can watch a transaction. I actually love either one,“ he said.

Just then, Shaun Caley Regen, president of Regen Projects, stepped in and informed Grazer that both works had been sold hours earlier, while promising to help him acquire another piece from the artist. “Oh no — I was so excited!” he said dejectedly. “I thought a little dot was supposed to be on there. I really want one. What a bummer.”

Wearing a striped rugby sweater from her G. Label collection paired with a star-patterned skirt and white high-top sneakers, Paltrow spent hours walking the fair with a few people, including Goop chief design and merchandising officer Shaun Kearney. She was later spotted in the Acquavella Galleries space, eyeing I’m Not Linda by Richard Prince and a colorful Duck painting by Jean-Michel Basquiat.

Gwenyth Paltrow at Frieze Los Angeles - Credit: Owen Kolasinski/BFA.com, courtesy of Frieze
Gwenyth Paltrow at Frieze Los Angeles - Credit: Owen Kolasinski/BFA.com, courtesy of Frieze

Owen Kolasinski/BFA.com, courtesy of Frieze

“I’ve seen a plethora of things I love. But, unfortunately, all of the things I love will involve me selling my house to buy!” said Corden, who had earlier spent time checking out Alex Katz’s oil painting People in the Thaddaeus Ropac gallery. “It’s a wonderful moment, when you say, ‘Oh, well how much is that?’ And then you go, ‘No, okay, well I’m pleased I’ve seen it.’ I found a Ken Price around the corner. I have a few of his paintings. There are some stunning pieces here. And it’s amazing how much bigger [the fair] is this year. It’s fantastic, absolutely brilliant!”

In a nod to all the Kenny Scharf work he was showing in his booth at the fair, dealer Jeffrey Deitch was decked out in a special-edition Dior Men x Kenny Scharf suit. “These are the samples that Dior gave Kenny and Kenny is letting me wear them,” he told THR. “Dior Men said it’s the most successful artist collaboration they’ve done!”

Also presenting the Tales from an Urban Garden exhibition of British artist Raqib Shaw’s paintings off-site at Dries Van Noten’s Little House gallery space in collaboration with White Cube gallery, Deitch praised Shaw as “one in a million — there’s no one on earth who can make paintings like him!”

Kendall Jenner at Frieze Los Angeles - Credit: Jojo Korsh/BFA.com, courtesy of Frieze
Kendall Jenner at Frieze Los Angeles - Credit: Jojo Korsh/BFA.com, courtesy of Frieze

Jojo Korsh/BFA.com, courtesy of Frieze

As to the day’s turnout, Deitch added, “I helped to bring Frieze here, and I always knew that this would be a gigantic success, and look at this! It can’t be better than this! And what I’m so pleased about is that so many people have come from Europe and from around the United States, some from Asia. This is going to be an economic engine for Los Angeles and it’s going to be a very important part of the cultural calendar. It expands into all kinds of activity with other galleries, with the nonprofits, with hotels and restaurants.”

Fashion designer Peter Dundas — behind the custom snow leopard bodysuit and matching thigh-high boots donned by Mary J. Blige during her Super Bowl LVI half-time performance — attended Frieze with his longtime partner and brand co-founder Evangelo Bousis. As Bousis talked about the couple’s son Alexios, Dundas said, “I’m starting my new [fashion] collection, so this is probably the most inspiring place I can go for that; I’m very excited to be here.”

Peter Dundas and Evangelo Bousis at Frieze Los Angeles - Credit: Owen Kolasinski/BFA.com, courtesy of Frieze
Peter Dundas and Evangelo Bousis at Frieze Los Angeles - Credit: Owen Kolasinski/BFA.com, courtesy of Frieze

Owen Kolasinski/BFA.com, courtesy of Frieze

Also on the scene were many top art advisors including Lisa Schiff, Maya McLaughlin and Karyn Lovegrove.

While one collector at the fair confessed to being “overly acquisitive during COVID” and needing to rein himself in from buying, most attendees seemed serious about leaving with new work to add to their collections.

Chris Burden’s ‘Dreamer’s Folly,’ which was on view at Gagosian’s booth at Frieze Los Angeles - Credit: Chris Burden / licensed by The Chris Burden Estate and Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York  Courtesy Gagosian
Chris Burden’s ‘Dreamer’s Folly,’ which was on view at Gagosian’s booth at Frieze Los Angeles - Credit: Chris Burden / licensed by The Chris Burden Estate and Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York Courtesy Gagosian

Chris Burden / licensed by The Chris Burden Estate and Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York Courtesy Gagosian

Notable blue-chip sales from day one included a Gazing Ball sculpture by Jeff Koons for just under $3 million at Pace Gallery; a $1 million Alice Neel painting and three Lisa Yuskavage works for between $650,000 and $1.5 million at David Zwirner; and a $1.2 million Beatriz Milhazes painting at White Cube. Gagosian announced that they facilitated the acquisition of Chris Burden’s Dreamer’s Folly (a 2010 large-format cast-iron gazebo sculpture with lace) by a major European institution.

The art fair continues today through the weekend in Beverly Hills.

Frieze L.A., 9900 Wilshire Blvd., frieze.com (tickets $75 to $95 for weekend general admission through Sunday, Feb. 20); proof of vaccination or negative COVID-19 test required.

Movie poster-inspired works by artist Patrick Jackson on view at François Ghebaly’s booth at Frieze Los Angeles - Credit: Degen Pener
Movie poster-inspired works by artist Patrick Jackson on view at François Ghebaly’s booth at Frieze Los Angeles - Credit: Degen Pener

Degen Pener

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