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Frieze New York (Online)

May 6 – 15, 2020

Luis Camnitzer, Meanwhile, 2014

Luis Camnitzer

Meanwhile, 2014

Glass, brass plaque, cork, and aluminum

12.75h x 2.75w x 2.75d in (32.39h x 6.99w x 6.99d cm)

Luis Camnitzer, This is not a pipe. This is not information about a pipe. This is not a work of art. This is not a work by Magritte., 1974

Luis Camnitzer

This is not a pipe. This is not information about a pipe. This is not a work of art. This is not a work by Magritte., 1974

Mixed media

13.50h x 10w x 2d in (34.29h x 25.40w x 5.08d cm)

Melvin Edwards, More Than You See, 2016–2017

Melvin Edwards

More Than You See, 2016–2017

Welded steel and chain

14.50h x 9w x 7d in (36.83h x 22.86w x 17.78d cm)

Melvin Edwards, Chibuku, 1994

Melvin Edwards

Chibuku, 1994

Welded steel

11h x 10w x 8.5d in (27.94h x 25.4w x 21.59d cm)

Melvin Edwards, Barbara Anishinaabe, 2018

Melvin Edwards

Barbara Anishinaabe, 2018

Welded steel

11.5h x 7w x 6.5d in (29.21h x 17.78w x 16.51d cm)

Melvin Edwards, Untitled, c.1974

Melvin Edwards

Untitled, c.1974

Watercolor and ink on paper

18.25h x 24w in (46.36h x 60.96w cm)

Melvin Edwards, Untitled, 1974

Melvin Edwards

Untitled, 1974

Watercolor and ink on paper

18.25h x 24w in (46.36h x 60.96w cm)

Harmony Hammond, Bandaged Grid #3, 2016

Harmony Hammond

Bandaged Grid #3, 2016

Oil and mixed media on canvas

24.5h x 24.5w in (62.23h x 62.23w cm)

Harmony Hammond, Chenille #9, 2019

Harmony Hammond

Chenille #9, 2019

Oil and mixed media on gessoed burlap and canvas

73h x 70w in (185.42h x 177.8w cm)

Harmony Hammond, Grommetype #21, 2017

Harmony Hammond

Grommetype #21, 2017

Monotype on grommeted Twinrocker paper

12.75h x 10w in (32.39h x 25.4w cm)

Harmony Hammond, Grommetype #24, 2017

Harmony Hammond

Grommetype #24, 2017

Monotype on grommeted Twinrocker paper

13h x 9.88w in (33.02h x 25.08w cm)

Harmony Hammond, Grommetype #8, 2017

Harmony Hammond

Grommetype #8, 2017

Monotype on grommeted Twinrocker paper

13h x 10.25w in (33.02h x 26.04w cm)

Jennie C. Jones, Open Score (Black Gesture), 2019

Jennie C. Jones

Open Score (Black Gesture), 2019

Silk Screen ink and collage on paper

20h x 14w in (50.8h x 35.56w cm)

Jennie C. Jones, Bastard Blues, 2015

Jennie C. Jones

Bastard Blues, 2015

Acoustic absorber panel and acrylic paint on canvas

48h x 38w in (121.92h x 96.52w cm)

Betty Parsons, Untitled, c.1981

Betty Parsons

Untitled, c.1981

Acrylic on canvas

49h x 48w in (124.46h x 121.92w cm)

Betty Parsons, Untitled, c.1967

Betty Parsons

Untitled, c.1967

Acrylic on canvas

10h x 8w in (25.4h x 20.32w cm)

Betty Parsons, Untitled, c.1963

Betty Parsons

Untitled, c.1963

Oil on canvas

10h x 8w in (25.4h x 20.32w cm)

Betty Parsons, Untitled, c.1952

Betty Parsons

Untitled, c.1952

Gouache on paper

14h x 11w in (35.56h x 27.94w cm)

Betty Parsons, Untitled, c.1976

Betty Parsons

Untitled, c.1976

Gouache on paper

23.75h x 17.75w in (60.33h x 45.09w cm)

Joan Semmel, Sol y Sombra, 1987

Joan Semmel

Sol y Sombra, 1987

Oil on canvas

20.25h x 30.25w in (51.44h x 76.84w cm)

Joan Semmel, Study for Side Pull, 1978

Joan Semmel

Study for Side Pull, 1978

Oil crayon and collage on paper

21.50h x 30w in (54.61h x 76.2w cm)

Joan Semmel, Recognition, 2020

Joan Semmel

Recognition, 2020

Oil on canvas

24h x 24w in (60.96h x 60.96w cm)

Valeska Soares, Threshold (Red), 2014

Valeska Soares

Threshold (Red), 2014

Antique book hardcovers mounted on wood

93h x 57.88w x 1.5d in (236.22h x 147w x 3.81d cm)

Valeska Soares, You and I, 2011

Valeska Soares

You and I, 2011

Ceramic and gold chain

2.25h x 20.25w x 4.25d in (5.72h x 51.44w x 10.8d cm)

Edition of 10 + 3 AP

Valeska Soares, Doubleface (Buff Titanium White/Sap Green), 2019

Valeska Soares

Doubleface (Buff Titanium White/Sap Green), 2019

Oil paint and cut out on vintage oil painting

18.13h x 15.13w x 2.5d in (46.04h x 38.42w x 6.35d cm)

Hugh Steers, Patriots, 1989

Hugh Steers

Patriots, 1989

Oil on paper

11.13h x 12.88w in (28.26h x 32.7w cm)

Hugh Steers, Red & White Sheet, 1988

Hugh Steers

Red & White Sheet, 1988

Oil on gessoed paper

13.30h x 11.10w in (33.78h x 28.19w cm)

Press Release

Frieze New York (Online)
May 6 – 15, 2020

Taking its title from a 2014 conceptual work by Luis Camnitzer, Meanwhile, Alexander Gray Associates’ digital presentation for Frieze New York's online platform featured artwork by eight Gallery artists, Luis CamnitzerMelvin EdwardsHarmony HammondJennie C. JonesBetty ParsonsJoan Semmel, Valeska Soares and Hugh Steers. Bringing together a selection of paintings, sculptures, and works on paper, Meanwhile celebrated the ability of art to transcend its material constraints—to inspire, give hope, and make connections.

Expanding on this idea of transcendence, Camnitzer’s Meanwhile (2014) presents viewers with an empty corked bottle that boasts a cryptic engraving, “Meanwhile.” Containing only air, the vessel playfully challenges traditional understandings of interiority and exteriority. Its hollow void is jarringly asynchronous; simultaneously suggesting nothing and (meanwhile) everything, the empty bottles provide viewers with infinite unrealized situations onto which they can project themselves. This projection is key to Camnitzer, who believes that art is, in his words, “the area where one can and should make ‘illicit' connections, connections that are not allowed in disciplinary, fragmented thinking.”

Similarly transportive, Valeska Soares’ Threshold (Red) (2014) consists of red linen book covers arranged around a doorway-like frame. Installed leaning against a wall, the work becomes a portal, inviting viewers to travel through it. This visual act of passage recalls adages about reading, which characterize the activity as being akin to taking a journey. Ultimately framing a void, Threshold (Red) constructs a charged, yet empty space where viewers can enact their own fictions.

Just as the monochromatic frame of Threshold (Red) references a history of minimalist painting, so too does Harmony Hammond’s 2016 “near monochrome” painting Bandaged Grid #3. Distinctly bodily, almost fleshy, the canvas features a gridded field of orifice-like grommets partially obscured by strips of fabric. Alluding to past trauma and what lies beneath—what is covered, obscured, and hidden—the work participates in the narrative of modernist abstraction even as it insists on an oppositional discourse of feminist and queer content.

Like Hammond, Jennie C. Jones challenges reductive understandings of modernism through paintings, installations, sound works, and drawings that integrate visual practices with auditory ones. Her ongoing series of Acoustic Panel Paintings incorporate sound-absorbing materials into their compositions, and often use color to illustrate sonic experiences—resonance, humming, etc. Co-opting devices like the tritone, a musical interval common in jazz, as organizing structures, recent works like Bastard Blues (2015) highlight the connection between minimalism and music, recovering the legacy of the black avant-garde.

Also emphasizing the contributions of black artists and thinkers to modernism, Melvin Edwards creates welded sculptures whose titles and materials reflect his engagement with the history of art, race, labor, and violence. In works like Chibuku (1994), part of his ongoing series of Lynch Fragments, he pays homage to the African nation of Zimbabwe, which he first visited in the 1980s. Taking its title from the most popular beer brewed in the country, Edwards’ abstract sculpture is a nostalgic toast to the community of artists and makers who welcomed him there—and the many drinks they shared.

Meanwhile, Betty Parsons’ Untitled (c.1981) revels in the unfettered joy of pure abstraction. Featuring horizontal bands of shimmering blues, oranges, pinks and greens, the painting typifies Parson’s formalist approach: never hard-edged, not exactly geometric or biomorphic, but always colorful, playful, and bold. Reflecting Parsons’ commitment to capturing what she once termed the “sheer energy” of life, the composition’s spontaneity and veils of pigment expand on the painterly legacy of the New York School and Color Field artists her eponymous gallery represented.

Like Parsons, Joan Semmel was also deeply influenced by Abstract Expressionism. She began her career as an abstractionist before turning to figuration in the early 1970s; the loose brushstrokes of Sol y Sombra (1987) reveal the lasting impact this way of working had on her practice. A celebration of the unbridled freedom of summer, her 1987 canvas portrays a closely cropped supine figure at ease in nature. The solitary nude’s fleshy, undulating curves are offset by gestural streaks of greenery, supporting Semmel’s assertion that she never truly abandoned abstraction.

A one-time student of Semmel’s at Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, Hugh Steers was also committed to representation for the duration of his career, cut tragically short by AIDS at the age of 32. Patriots (1989) marks a departure from the artist’s usual domestic tableaus. Speaking to Steers’ own frustration with the national response to AIDS, the work on paper features a seated man and woman wearing paper bags over their heads in front of an American flag. At once suggesting willful blindness, an execution, and forced isolation, the couple’s unsettling, unseeing forms reach for one another, yet, seated separately, remain distinctly apart. Their proximal solitude recalls that of Edward Hopper’s lonely figures, and underscores contemporary society’s hunger—and inevitable failure—to fully connect. 

Literalizing this failure, in Valeska Soares’ You and I (2011) two gilded teacups are separated, yet tethered together by a gold chain. Bearing the inscriptions “You” and “I,” the pieces of china illustrate the complicated relationship between distance and desire. (As the artist explains, “Desire is like a vanishing point: every time you go towards it, it recedes a little.”) Romantic and melancholic, Soares’ work serves as a bridge, linking love to longing.

Viewed cumulatively, the works in Meanwhile speak to our current condition. Together, yet apart, we look to art now more than ever to bring us joy, to remind us of past and future pleasures, to expose us to new ideas and perspectives, and to unite us. Art has the power to transform and inform our current circumstances; indeed, as Camnitzer ultimately concludes, “The work of art does not reach finality in an object, but in a situation.

To support artists during the COVID-19 crisis, Alexander Gray Associates will donate a portion of proceeds from the sale of each work in the online presentation to Artist Relief, an emergency initiative that offers financial and informational resources to artists across the United States. 

About Frieze New York Viewing Room
Frieze Viewing Room is a new digital initiative that will launch with an online edition of Frieze New York. The mobile app and web-based platform will be live May 8–15, 2020, with an invitation-only preview May 6–7, and will offer visitors the opportunity to enter over 200 virtual viewing room spaces.