Frieze Los Angeles bringing a skyscraper, a truck-based gallery and more to Santa Monica Airport

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The largest-ever edition of Frieze’s Los Angeles art fair (16-19 February) will feature two special programmes extending its reach beyond the stands under its giant tent: “Now Playing”, a series of outdoor performances and artworks organised by the non-profit Art Production Fund and spread throughout the fair’s site; and “Against the Edge”, a series of artworks installed in a number historic homes and buildings in West Los Angeles and put together by curator Jay Ezra Nayssan, owner of the Santa Monica-based gallery Del Vaz Projects.

Unlike past years, when the fair took place at the Beverly Hills Hilton and the Paramount Pictures Studios in Hollywood, the 2023 fair itself will be held for the first at the Santa Monica Airport, and with 124 exhibitors from 22 countries, this year’s edition will be 24% larger than 2022’s.

All five installments of Against the Edge will be a short drive (by Los Angeles standards) from the fair’s main site in Santa Monica. The historic Thomas Mann House in the Pacific Palisades will be home to a solo presentation of work by the late French-born artist Nicola L; Villa Aurora, which is also in the Palisades and is the former home of author Lion Feuchtwanger, will host work by Los Angeles-based artist Kelly Akashi; the artist Tony Cokes will present work in the Beyond Baroque Literary Arts Center, an organisation situated in a 1906 building that was once Venice City Hall; Jonathan Hepfer, artistic director of Monday Evening Concerts—the world’s longest-running contemporary music series—will host a musical tribute to the late Los Angeles curator Walter Hopps that will take place within the Santa Monica Pier’s Merry Go-Round Building, and finally Nayssan will host a series of works by the late Julie Becker in his own Santa Monica home (where Del Vaz Projects is based), which once belonged to actress Shirley Temple.

Alake Shilling, Buggy Ball, 2023, artist-designed football Courtesy the artist

Now Playing, which will present a series of artworks and performances throughout the Santa Monica Airport grounds, will include works by Autumn Breon, Chris Burden, Jose Dávila, Basil Kincaid, Divya Mehra, Ruben Ochoa, Alake Shilling and Jennifer West. Burden, a late great of the Los Angeles scene, will be represented by his towering sculpture 40 Foot Stepped Skyscraper (2011), which is assembled from around 250,000 stainless steel pieces. Shilling’s contribution will consist of customised soccer balls that members of the Los Angeles Football Club—the reigning Major League Soccer champions—will use to lead football clinics at the Airport Soccer Field. And Ochoa’s contribution will put his mobile art gallery, CLASS: C, on public display for the first time in more than 15 years.

These programmes “demonstrate our connection to the city”, Christine Messineo, Frieze’s director of the Americas, said in a statement. “Embedded in both strands of programming is an understanding of Los Angeles’s historical significance, the creative founders and foundation, the unique architecture and the artistic community.”

Last year, the fair’s organisers were forced to cancel one of its main public programmes, a public sculpture exhibition, due to shipping and staffing issues.

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