The ARTnews Guide to a Great Day at FriezeLA

A preview of the art on view at the fair and places to eat before and after.

In a little over a week, Frieze Los Angeles returns for its fifth edition, and its second at the Santa Monica Airport. With its move further west from its previous outings in Hollywood and Beverly Hills, Frieze LA is now much closer to LA’s westside neighborhoods, like Brentwood and Venice, and not that far from the beach. Use this handy guide as a cheat sheet not just for highlights of the art on view, but for where to go before and after a day at the fair, which opens to VIPs on February 29 and runs through March 3. All of the restaurant’s options are less than a ten minute drive from the fair. Happy Friezing!

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Pre-Fair Coffee and Nosh

In an alleyway near 26th and Broadway, GoodBoyBob Coffee Shop offers all kinds of specialty coffees, including one with with house-made vanilla syrup, as well as waffles, toast, and breakfast sandwiches like the “Client X Morning Sando” (brioche, egg, avocado, ham, cheese, red pepper aioli).There are fancy pour-overs like the “Sideshow Bob,” a two-course coffee extravaganza (“the same coffee, two different ways”) consisting of an espresso as well as a pour-over of the restaurant’s single origin Guatemala Rosendo Domingo.

Alternatively, you can head over to Layla Bagel, on Ocean Park Boulevard at 16th Street, where you’ll find what Eater recently referred to as “some of LA’s most coveted bagels.” Options include the usual lox with the works (“The Laika”), along with some more exotic combinations like “The Scarlett,” (heirloom tomato, lemon zest, and chili flakes), and a vegan option like “The Marli” (avocado, pickled onion, chili flakes, and sprouts).

The ARTnews Guide to a Great Day at FriezeLA
Rick Lowe, 22 Rhythms in a Row: Homage to John Outterbridge, 2023. Photo Thomas Dubrock/©Rick Lowe Studio/Courtesy Gagosian

A Morning Full of Art

Start your day at the fair by grabbing a floor plan to get the lay of the land. This year’s edition has a reconfigured layout, designed by WHY Architects, for the 95 exhibitors that are taking part. Make sure to check back for our “Best Booths” list once we’ve seen the fair on opening day.

A booth that is likely not to be missed—and sure to be crowded throughout the fair’s end—is Gagosian’s (D13), which will have a display curated by director Antwaun Sargent. Titled “Social Abstraction” and the first of three related presentations, the booth will have on view work by an intergenerational group of Black artists, including Theaster Gates, Rick Lowe, Lauren Halsey, and Cy Gavin.

Not faraway, Pace Gallery (D10) will feature a mix of historical works with recent pieces. Planned for the booth is a 1968 multicolored pour by Lynda Benglis, a 1970 Picasso drawing, an untitled all-black sculpture by Louise Nevelson from 1985, and a 1981 shaped canvas by Kenneth Noland, alongside a 2022 painting by Mary Corse, a 2023 sculpture by Alicja Kwade, a 2023 painting by Loie Hollowell, a 2024 mirror-and-paint tondo by Elmgreen & Dragset, and a pair of polychromed bronze Nike sneakers by Jeff Koons.

An abstract painting in which two orbs are split at the center by a dividing red line. The color palette is  yellow-orange, purple, red and blue.
Loie Hollowell, Split Orbs in yellow-orange, purple, red and blue, 2023. ©Loie Hollowell/Courtesy Pace Gallery

Hauser & Wirth (D12) will feature new and recent works by several artists from its roster, including Firelei Báez, Frank Bowling, Mark Bradford, Ed Clark, Charles Gaines, Henry Taylor, Mika Rottenberg, Pat Steir, and Uman. One aisle over, David Zwirner (E3) will present a selection of new paintings by Joe Bradley, ahead of his April solo show at the gallery’s New York space. Those will feature alongside works by Njideka Akunyili Crosby, Huma Bhabha, Noah Davis, Yayoi Kusama, Alice Neel, Chris Ofili, and Robert Ryman.

And before you break for lunch, make sure to check out the fair’s Nonprofits section, which will feature five LA-based nonprofits and one bookshop. Returning to the fair is AMBOS (Art Made Between Opposite Sides), founded by artist Tanya Aguiñiga, who curated a BIPOC exchange section at the fair’s 2022 edition. Other participants in this year’s Nonprofits section are Gallery 90220, which aims to provide a platform for emerging and underrepresented artists; People’s Pottery Project, which gives formerly incarcerated women, trans, and nonbinary individuals paid job training; and Reparations Club, an independent Black-owned bookstore.

A somewhat abstract painting with a white blob that has an eye in it. The background is divided in goldenrod and purple.
Joe Bradley, Lookout, 2023–24. ©Joe Bradley/Courtesy the artist and David Zwirner

A Mid-Day Repast

After a couple hours of art viewing, you’ll be hungry for lunch. The easiest (and often the yummiest) option is to stick around at the fair, where Frieze’s food selections are carefully curated. This year’s grouping of LA restaurants has been selected by Regarding Her (RE:Her), a nonprofit founded by nine LA-based female restaurateurs in the wake of the pandemic’s impact on the restaurant industry. The line-up includes 1010 Wine, Inglewood’s first, and so far only, wine bar focusing on Black-owned wineries; Botanica, the famed Silver Lake institution; Clementine, the family-owned, comfort-food hot stop in Century City; Kismet Rotisserie, the rotisserie chicken–focused sister spot to rising Mediterranean restaurant on Hollywood Boulevard, just off Vermont Avenue; and more.

If, however, there is no seating, or you need a break from the art fair, there are a few terrific spots nearby. In nearby Venice, there’s Gjelina, which the Infatuation recently attributed with ushering in a “vegetable-forward California cuisine” that is “all cutting edge and decidedly very ‘LA.’” The lunch menu includes a raw bar, several salads and vegetable options, and wood-fired pizzas.

Just a few blocks from the beach also in Venice is Gjusta, from the same owners as Gjelina, which Bon Appétit has called a “never-miss spot,” mentioning the smoked brisket sandwich, the chicken báhn mì and the smoked fish plate.

Finally, a stone’s throw from the Brentwood Country Club, in the celebrity-favored Brentwood Country Mart, is Farmshop. Those who wish to splurge on more than art might choose the service of Italian caviar. Especially intriguing among the farm-fresh items on the menu is the Angry Crab Saffron Torchio Pasta: alle-pia ‘Nduja sausage, Pacific Dungeness crab, herbed walnuts, and Calabrian chili pesto.

A painting showing a man with a green dunce hat and a purple outfit sitting on a yellow chair with his head in his hand. Two women figures surround him. On the left is the ocean and in the right background is a castle.
Carlos Almaraz, Dunce’s Dream, 1989. Photo Ruben Diaz/©The Estate of Carlos Almaraz/Courtesy Ortuzar Projects, New York

An Art-Packed Afternoon

Back at the fair, after some much need refreshments, check out San Francisco’s Altman Siegel (C6), which will feature works by Lynn Hershman Leeson, Trevor Paglen, and Simon Denny, artists who have long thought through their relationships with technology. Meanwhile, New York’s Casey Kaplan (A10) will have a solo presentation dedicated to new paintings by Jordan Casteel, including portraits, landscapes, and still lifes. And Ortuzar Projects (B11), a week before inaugurating its new space in Tribeca, will feature work by three artists who played integral roles in LA’s queer Chicano scene in the 1970s and ’80s: Carlos Almaraz, Joey Terrill, and Roberto Gil de Montes.

The fair’s Focus section is not to be missed. This year, the section includes 12 galleries and is curated by Essence Harden, visual arts curator at the California African American Museum and a co-curator of the upcoming 2025 Made in L.A. biennial. For the section, Harden has said she wanted to focus on artist “ecologies as a vibrant framework for art making.”

LA’s Babst Gallery (F7) will focus on Harry Fonseca (Shingle Springs Band of Miwok Indians), who was based in Santa Fe, New Mexico, from 1990 until his death in 2006. The booth will feature his paintings from the 1980s and ’90s, many of which feature anthropomorphized coyotes painting, performing La bohème, or dancing. Ochi (F5), another LA enterprise, will present a suite of paintings showing women at leisure by rising Mexican-American artist Lilian Martinez. And Shulamit Nazarian (F9) will highlight photographs by LA-based, Haiti-born artist Widline Cadet.

View of an Art Deco–style round bar in a hotel.
The Sunset Bar at The Georgian in Santa Monica. Photo Douglas Friedman

Cocktails and Conversation

There’s no better way to end a day at an art fair than at a buzzy spot where you can talk with your fellow-fairgoers about what you saw over cocktails and nibbles. Two places to see and be seen in the evening after a day at Frieze LA are the Georgian and the Proper.

There is a lot of buzz around the Georgian this year—not surprisingly because it’s new. In April,BLVD Hospitality, in partnership with Esi Ventures, opened a restoration of this historic property that originally opened in 1933. It’s a jewel of the Art Deco period; guests of that era includedMarilyn Monroe, Clark Gable and Charlie Chaplin. (Full disclosure: ARTnews is hosting an intimate dinner at the Georgian after the VIP preview of Frieze LA.)

This elegant hotel, with 84 guest rooms, also features two dining options, both under the direction of Chef David Almany. The larger of the two is The Restaurant at The Georgian, which features Rigatoni Cacio e Pepe, Bucatini all’Amatriciana, and Grilled Branzino on its menu. Featured cocktails include “Shore Thing” (made with rosemary-infused tequila) and Geeze Louise (with an apricot-infused whiskey). Downstairs is The Georgian Room, a speakeasy of sorts—if you are opting for the more private setting. With reservations required, menu highlights include king crab cocktail, rigatoni alla vodka, and TGR dry-aged tomahawk ribeye.

With a serene but snazzy interior design by Kelly Wearstler, the Palma at the Proper is also a solid option. Pair a specialty cocktail like the Proper Martini (with blue cheese olives) or the El Mezconi (a mezcal take on a Negroni with an absinthe rinse) with snacks like the Parmesan or truffle fries or the beet (not beef) carpaccio. Or stay for dinner, where the offerings include a burger, a vegan burger, and the quintessentially California health conscious item, theherb-roasted cabbage (vegan pink peppercorn yogurt, toasted pine nut zhoug, puffed quinoa and herb crumble, and toasted chili flake).

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