How To Frieze in Los Angeles 

by Tucker Neel

Artillery Magazine February 16, 2019

After experiencing Frieze LA at Paramount Studios, I’ve got some super exciting ideas for everyone to consider and some fun activities you might want to do to make your experience even better than mine. I would have done the following, but I was there as a member of the press and, well, this is not what press should do. BUT YOU CAN!

1) Sneak YOUR art INTO the fair. It’s not a publicity stunt. You’re not going to put your stuff on the walls. That would be pathetic. No. The Frieze LA art fair has conspicuously redundant security measures in place. It’s noticeable and creepy. The security guards search your bags when you enter and LEAVE. It’s not their fault. My assumption is someone told them to look for art you might have stolen. Make a small painting or sculpture and bring it with you. Maybe hide it on your person when they search your bag when you enter. Or maybe make the art while you’re at the fair! Just make sure it looks like contemporary art, the kind you’d find at a fair. Put your small canvas or glittery bauble in your bag before you leave. See if the guards stop you. If they do, your art becomes priceless, and the experience will be with you forever. Have someone record the whole thing. Please tag me when you upload it.

2) Deutsche Bank is a key sponsor of the Frieze LA. I knew this before I went from reading the press releases they’ve been releasing. But what I wasn’t expecting is the Deutsche Bank branding all over the venue (I know… I should have known better). It’s BIG and omnipresent. There’s a Deutsche Bank Wealth Management Lounge, a Deutsche Bank Cafe for exclusive clients, and banners and on and on. Deutsche Bank is a money laundering institution. This is a fact. I’m so happy LA critic Christopher Knight already pointed out the problems with the Frieze/Deutsche Bank relationship. But he could only give it a paragraph or so:

Just Google News search “deutsche bank money laundering Trump.” Read until you can’t read anymore. Choose the credible articles that make you the angriest and post them to social media and tag them with #frieze #friezela #friezelosangeles #lafrieze.

3) Also, consider printing out as many copies of these Deutsche Bank money laundering articles as you can. Leave these printouts all around the fair. The bathrooms are great. The VIP lounges are too. Maybe put them in some of the maps, the Art Newspaper, and inside the multitude of free ephemera. Seriously. Google search that shit if you don’t know what I’m talking about. Deutsche Bank is bad and may have contributed to the greatest destruction of American democracy in modern times.

4) Tell anyone and everyone you meet that you’re looking for your lost friends, Herb and Dorothy Vogel. Say you’re worried they’ve disappeared. Find Herb and Dorothy Vogel. Don’t stop until you do.

5) Bring fake lashes. Put them on using the Anish Kapoors.

6) Before you see any art in the main tent, go to the Backlot and visit the best art at the whole fair: the non-profits like Artists 4 Democracy and The Women’s Center for Creative Work, who are doing something to fight fascism. Give them your time and money.

7) Bring a power strip with you. Give it to any gallery who’s using all their plugs to power art or charge phones and iPads. They will thank you.

8) Ask anyone working in any booth if there’s anything you can do to make them more comfortable. Do they need water? Food? Emotional support? Believe it or not, the folks working in the booths usually aren’t gallery owners. They’re often underpaid staff who have to stand for hours on end because all the big fish collectors bought most of what’s going to get sold before or during last night’s VIP opening. Everyone after the VIP’s are called “looky-loos.” Galleries care about these guests, but they don’t expect them to buy. And if you meet someone working the booth who’s the gallery owner, they deserve a heap of credit because working at an art fair is exhausting and hard.

Thanks for considering my ramblings and actions. Please don’t consider this a cynical rant disparaging art. I love art and that’s why I do this.

I’m looking forward to Frieze LA 2020.

Signage at Frieze Los Angeles 2019. Photo by Tucker Neel

©2023 Tucker Neel. All rights reserved.