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2016 Frieze VIP Preview Reports Strong Sales, Attracts Celebrities And Collectors
Forbes

The Frieze Art Fair held its VIP preview Wednesday under a huge white tent on Randalls Island.  Celebrities and collectors who braved the rain were in an acquisitive mood. Strong sales were reported at David Zwirner, Hauser & Wirth, 303 Gallery, Fergus McCaffry, Dominique Levy Gallery, and Mendes Wood DM, among others.

 

“It’s been fantastic so far,” said Craig Starr, who was showing Warhol, Koons and Pettibon. “I’ve sold some things, I met all sorts of people that I don’t see regularly, some that I see all the time – it’s a really good turn-out. Frieze always does a great fair. It’s good for New York, and it’s an interesting group of dealers and material.”

 

Hollywood talent agency WME-IMG recently invested in the Frieze enterprise, which encompasses the three fairs as well as four magazines. Several collectors and fair-goers were asking, “Has Frieze gone Hollywood?” It may have explained the presence of mimes in a green pick-up truck. Adrien Brody, Michael Stipe, and Swizz Beats certainly added to the star power at White Cube’s booth, where Jay Jopling categorically refused to be interviewed. Now that’s a touch of Hollywood.

 

“The Frieze Art Fair has become an institution,” said Adam Lindemann of Venus Over Manhattan.  “Everyone comes to  Frieze, so for Venus it’s very important. We’re showing all H.C. Westermann, and we’re doing very well. Some collectors have never seen Westermann, they didn’t come to the gallery show, so this is an opportunity to bring Westermann to a whole new audience.”

 

The VIP preview audience was a mix of Americans, Europeans and Asians, some there purely for the art, others to mingle with like-minded people.

 

“We’ve had really good collectors, mostly Americans,” said Eleanor Acquavella of Acquavella Gallery.  “As for sales, so far so good. Frieze is a really good brand. It resonates globally, and that’s important for us to get exposure to a different crowd, as it has a more contemporary reputation, and therefore a more contemporary audience. We’re generally secondary market, although we are doing more and more contemporary. It’s still the crowd we know, with a lot of the newer buyers that we’re trying to get ourselves in front of.”

 

This being the art world, and the VIP preview, people came in all manner of dress, from shabby chic to outrageous make-up and sky-high heels.

 

“You can tell who the real collectors are,” said jewelry designer and collector Cora Sheibani. “They’re wearing sneakers.”