Art Inspection

5 Questions with 2016's Frieze Projects Artists

Frieze New York hits NY's Randall's Island again May 5-8, and with it comes the best element of the modern-day contemporary art fair: Frieze Projects. Each year, Frieze Projects tasks today's most prominent international contemporary artists with no small feat—creating a unique installation for the fair that only exists onsite for 4 days. These projects allow visitors to became a part of the art themselves, and the experience of these fantastical elements ultimately disrupts the typical art fair scene. 

This year, Frieze Projects has 6 artists whose installations are tied together with a surreal thread. Artists include Heather Phillipson, Alex Da Corte, Eduardo Navarro, Anthea Hamilton, David Horvitz, and the legendary Maurizio Cattelan. We asked 5 of these artists (and one pickpocket) a few questions. Get to know the artists behind 2016 Frieze Projects. 

Click here for more info on the fair. 

Portraits and GIFs by Balarama Heller


What is the last space that overwhelmed you? My body. 
What skill do you use every day in your work? Amateurism. 
Strongest childhood memory? Bigness.
What’s something you couldn’t live without? Curiosity. 
How do you feel the day after a show goes up? Lighter & heavier. 


How do you feel the day after a show goes up? Happy and fuzzy and weightless.
If I was not an artist I would be a chef
What’s your relationship to babies? I like them. They are the future.
I have an insatiable appetite for coffee.
Your prized possession? The coffee I am drinking right now. 


Image from Frieze Projects rehearsal. 
I wish I had more time to spend with my grandmother.
 The life of an artist is one of not worrying about what other people think.
Social networks get me every time. 
When I look in a mirror I see a turtle.
 I enjoy coming to New York because I get to eat a lot of different kinds of food


Image from Frieze Projects rehearsal. 
First car? 
I can’t drive.  I had a few lessons some years ago, and on the 6th one I hit the brakes so hard the instructor got whiplash. I live in London, it’s not a necessity.
My dream car would be if not the Kar-a-Sutra, then Claes Oldenburg’s Lipstick (Ascending) on Caterpillar Tracks
I wish I had more time to watch more Jacques Rivette films.
One work of art that convinced you to become an artist? 
It’s not one work but rather that singular physical sensation that strikes so deeply it changes your life. You can't ever see the world the same way again. 
When riding in a mime-driven car, always BUCKLE UP.


Favorite mushrooms? 
The fresh porcini sold in the markets of Torino in the Autumn, taken back to your friend's place and cooked in butter and shallots and maybe some thyme. Really thick, eating them like steaks with a little bit of salt scattered on top. Or the black trumpets, trompette de la mort, with that amazing aroma, also with shallots and butter and herbs, but this one in cream over pasta (and some black pepper on top). This delicate little thing might actually be my favorite. Or fields of golden chanterelles. Or the aphrodisiac matsutake from Japan or Oregon or Northern California, eaten with steaks and losing yourself in the convivial atmosphere of your friends. It’s not hallucinogenic, you bought these in the supermarket in Portland, but something has definitely changed inside of you, and for some reason we are all so happy. I imagine that to eat mushrooms is not only to eat mushrooms, but to put inside you a whole forrest. I remember I ate boletes in eggs given to me by my friend Ann who had found them in Sweden. As I took each bite I realized that the omelette also contained Ann wandering through the forrest on some early morning a few years prior. If I owned a restaurant I would make sure that wandering would be included on the ingredient list. Oh and of course, any mushroom that will dissolve your ego and put you in an ecstatic connection with all living things and the universe, where your sense of time is lost to a simultaneous feeling of presentness and eternity. Where the imagination that was given to you as a child and was then taken away from you when you got older is now given back to you for a few hours. I remember one day I was just staring at water. Oh, how amazing that thing is we call water. I just wished these tasted better. 
What something you’d like to find in your pocket? A piece of the moon.
If you could adopt one animal trait, what would it be? To be bioluminescent. 
This year I will take my daughter to touch a 5000-year-old Bristlecone Pine.
What should you never give someone? A headache.
What is something that’s OK to steal? Your friend's unused ideas. Wait at least two years first. 

SLEIGHT OF HAND ARTIST, "True Courtship Dance" (2016) David Horvitz

How does a pickpocket master his craft? 
Just like with any art, it takes practice, and practice makes perfect.
Ever been caught in the act? 
Yes, I've been caught before. However, I took that opportunity to learn from the mistake in order to improve and perfect the art more.
Which is more challenging: taking or giving?
From my experience, taking is a little bit more challenging than giving, but it also depends on what a person is trying to take or give.

Is it necessary to engage the person you’re reverse pickpocketing?
Sometimes, depending on if they're paying attention or not or how alert they are. 
Three skills every pickpocketer/reverse pickpocketer should have? 
Confidence, misdirection, and a steady, light-touching hand!
Favorite living artist?
Floyd Mayweather, the retired boxer. I'm pretty sure it took him a lot of practice, hard work, and dedication to perfect his art like he did.


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