Paul McCarthy’s Frieze Project on the Paramount backlot, Frieze LA 2019 (photo by the author)

It wasn’t so long ago that Los Angeles had but two major art fairs, the LA Art Show and Art Los Angeles Contemporary. That all changed last year when art fair behemoth Frieze launched its inaugural LA edition, joined by hotel fair upstart Felix, and New York-based Spring/Break. This birthed Frieze week, a weeklong cavalcade of openings, performances, talks, and events, anchored by the titular fair. This year ALAC has moved east to Hollywood, joining Frieze and Felix, making Hollywood the week’s cultural home base. There’s a lot more happening this week, including Hollywood Babylon: A Re-Inauguration of the Pleasure Dome, a group show organized by Deitch, Nicodim, and Autre Magazine that conjures the ghosts of LA’s dark and decadent side, located in the former site of Spago. On Sunday, the Hammer Museum is hosting a Panic Party, which will fuse climate justice advocacy, art, and disco — just the release many of us will need after this week’s nonstop whirlwind. Below are some highlights on the five fairs turning LA into an art-lovers paradise this week.


Frieze Los Angeles

When the London-based art fair Frieze came to Los Angeles last year, critics weren’t sure it would work. Did LA have the collector base to maintain a major international fair, or would Frieze LA go the way of other ill-fated fairs, like Paris Photo LA and FIAC, which was cancelled before it even began? Thirty-thousand visitors passed through the fair’s gates last year, dispelling naysayers, and establishing what has quickly become an LA art world institution.

Trulee Hall’s Frieze Project on the Paramount Backlot, Frieze LA 2019 (photo by the author)

The second edition of the Frieze Los Angeles art fair returns to Hollywood’s Paramount Studios this week, with an international selection of 70 exhibitors. New this year is Focus LA, a section dedicated to local spaces active for less than 15 years, selected by LACMA curator and contemporary art department head Rita Gonzalez, featuring Charlie James Gallery, Various Small Fires, and Overduin & Co. Once again, the studio backlot — a cinematic New York-ish streetscape — will be the site of Frieze Projects, curated by Gonzalez and Pilar Tompkins Rivas, the director of the Vincent Price Art Museum. The pair have selected 16 artists whose installations explore issues of representation, myth, and history, including Gary Simmons, Vincent Ramos, Patrisse Cullors, and Gabriela Sanchez.

The backlot will also host the Artist Street Fair, featuring nonprofits and grass-roots organizations such as Andrea Zittel’s A-Z West, independent publishing collective Acid-Free, the Women’s Center for Creative Work, and artist-run pop-up the Street and the Shop. Venus Lau, the artistic director of K11 Art Foundation, has curated the Frieze Film & Talks program featuring screenings and discussions in the Paramount Theater. An offsite Frieze Music program, curated by Kevin McGarry and Hans Ulrich Obrist, will take place at NeueHouse. The action will spill out of the fairgrounds with Barbara Kruger’s “Untitled (Questions),” a series of 20 queries placed on billboards, light poles, and murals around the city that ask: “Where are you going?” “Who Buys the Con?” and “Whose Justice?”

When: Friday, February 14–Sunday, February 16
Where: Paramount Pictures Studios (5515 Melrose Ave., Hollywood, Los Angeles)
Tickets: Saturday or Sunday general admission: $125; Friday previews: $175–$500; Program only (does not include admission to galleries’ tent): Saturday/Sunday – $25, Friday – $60; Saturday/Sunday student – $15


Hollywood Roosevelt Pool (photo by the author for Hyperallergic)

The Felix Art Fair debuted last year at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel, offering a return to the more intimate, less buttoned-up hotel art fairs of the past. Founded by collector Dean Valentine and gallerist brothers Al and Mills Morán, Felix’s inaugural offering was a hit, as much for the quality of the galleries they assembled in the hotel’s hip suites and cabanas, as for the swinging social scene around the hotel’s David Hockney-painted pool. Felix’s second edition returns to the Roosevelt with a selection of 60 exhibitors including LA’s Grice Bench, London’s Kenny Schachter, Lulu from Mexico City, and Kavi Gupta from Chicago. New this year will be a Special Projects program curated by William J. Simmons, highlighting themes of gender, queerness, and feminism, featuring contributions from Jill Soloway and Judy Chicago, Eve Fowler, Hayden Dunham, Carolee Schneemann, and Betty Tompkins. Once again, one-woman performance dynamo Dynasty Handbag will return for an opening night iteration of her variety show, Weirdo Night. The irreverence will continue with “The Brode” by Eric Doeringer, featuring 30 knock-offs of artworks in the Broad’s collection.

When: Thursday, February 13–Sunday, February 16
Where: Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel (7000 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood, Los Angeles)
Tickets: $25 (free for students with ID, children under 18)


Fall On Your Sword, in a show curated by Ambre Kelly and Andrew Gori, at Spring/Break LA 2019 (photo credit: Samuel Morgan Photography)

Also returning will be Spring/Break, the scrappy New York-born fair that made its Los Angeles debut last year. The fair has assembled 50 independent galleries, artist-run spaces, and solo artists — almost all of them LA-based — who will be presenting work under this year’s theme “In Excess,” dealing with “formal and consumer maximalism,” as Spring/Break founder Andrew Gori told Hyperallergic via email. Fittingly, Spring/Break will be located at the former Terminal Market—  now known as Skylight Row — a site with a history as a produce market and textile manufacturer. Notable exhibitors include Desert Center, Durden & Ray, Gas Gallery, and Femmebit + Supercollider.

When: Friday, February 14–Sunday, February 16
Where: Skylight ROW DLTA (757 S. Alameda Street, Downtown, Los Angeles)
Tickets: General: $25-$30; opening night: $30-$50; VIP First Look: $40-$50

Art Los Angeles Contemporary

John Baldessari, “Stonehenge (With Two Persons) Red” (2005), Mixografia print on handmade paper (image courtesy Mixografia, Los Angeles)

For its 11th edition, Art Los Angeles Contemporary is getting back to its Hollywood roots. This year it’s leaving Santa Monica’s Barker Hanger for the Hollywood Athletic Club, located smack dab in between Felix and Frieze, perhaps hoping to capitalize on proximity to those fresh-faced fairs. A manageable 38 galleries will be exhibiting at ALAC this year, alongside four nonprofits, and a handful of art publishers. Although it may be the most established LA fair this week, expect some surprises, like a performance from bizarro performance duo Beck + Col, presented by LACE, on Saturday at 5:30.

When: Thursday, February 13–Sunday, February 16
Where: Hollywood Athletic Club (6525 Sunset Blvd., Hollywood, Los Angeles)
Tickets: 1 Day Pass: $25; 3-day Pass: $30; Opening Night: $65

stARTup Art Fair Los Angeles 2018 opening day. Photo courtesy of stARTup Art Fair and Mido Lee Productions

stARTup Art Fair

The stARTup Art Fair returns for its fifth Los Angeles edition, located again at the Kinney hotel in Venice Beach. Instead of offering space to galleries, stARTup connects visitors directly with emerging artists, of which there will be over 80 participating this year. In addition to the exhibiting artists, stARTup’s programming includes performances, installations, and talks, including a discussion on Sunday with artist and activist Lili Bernard, whose work links feminist struggles, from slavery to contemporary movements like #MeToo.

When: Friday, February 14–Sunday, February 16
Where: The Kinney Venice Beach (737 West Washington Blvd, Venice, California)
Tickets: Students: $10/$15; General: $15/$20; Three Day Pass: $30/$40; VIP: $100

Matt Stromberg

Matt Stromberg is a freelance visual arts writer based in Los Angeles. In addition to Hyperallergic, he has contributed to the Los Angeles Times, CARLA, Apollo, ARTNews, and other publications.