Sounding Off at Frieze New York (Part I)


Habitués of the Where’s Waldo series will relish searching for the three forlorn headphones comprising the curated Sounds section of this year’s Frieze New York. Boxed into an emergency exit corner by a BMW 7-series whose color could be described as fecal metallic and the Ruinart Champagne bar, the “listening stations” consist of three brief wall texts and three corresponding headphones for each of the works included by Frieze Sounds (and Frieze Projects) curator Cecilia Alemani: Liz Magic Laser’s “Nothing Special,” GCC’s “revitalizing spaciousness,” and Giorgio Andreotta Calò’s “IT.”

In the spirit of serialization, we will divide our coverage of Frieze Sounds into two posts, with this first installment being a standalone complaint about the logistics of Frieze Sounds. To wit: On several visits during the course of Wednesday’s preview, it was apparent that the swells crowding around the free Champagne bar seemed utterly oblivious to the existence of Frieze Sounds other than those of their own inane conversations. Ruinart Champagne, a familiar brand on the art fair circuit, should be commended for really ruining the art this time.

Addendum, 5/6: A representative from Frieze has written in to add that the Frieze Sounds commissions are also set up to stream online, with additional listening locations in the fair’s Reading Room (where the works compete for attention with the daily schedule of talks) and in the chauffeured Frieze VIP cars (7-Series sedans provided by BMW), meaning that the least miserable way to experience the work is probably at home.

Stay tuned for Part II of this series on Frieze Sounds, wherein we will actually address the sonic works.

— Mostafa Heddaya (@mheddaya

(Photo: Mostafa Heddaya)