The late New York gallerist Hudson (1950–2014), who went only by his last name, was known for breaking new ground; he handed debuts to Charles Ray, Raymond Pettibon and Tom Friedman in the 1980s from his unostentatious quarters at Feature Inc., and spoke of his responsibility as a gallerist to ‘push for pluralism and multiplicity’. As Frieze New York (3–6 May) returns, with more than 190 galleries representing 30 countries (including newcomers from Hungary, Iran and Japan), it seems fitting that the fair’s first ever themed section is devoted to artists who benefited from Hudson’s prescience. ‘For your Infotainment/Hudson and Feature Inc.’, curated by Matthew Higgs, includes shows by Takashi Murakami at Gagosian and Andrew Masullo at Nicelle Beauchene Gallery, as well as the notorious, sexually explicit drawings of Tom of Finland at David Kordansky Gallery.
Another first at Frieze this year is the winning commission by the recipient of the inaugural Frieze Artist Award. Kapwani Kiwanga’s ‘Shady’ blends metals with fabrics in a structure shot through with holes, to explore themes of freedom of movement and colonial appropriation of land and materials. The title is partly drawn from Shade Cloth, used extensively in African farming and employed in this architectural installation outside the fair’s entrance.
The main section of the fair features an impressive roster of galleries, both US and international; look out for Roy Lichtenstein at Castelli, Anni Albers at Alan Cristea, and David Hockney at Pace. This year’s Spotlight section, with a record 35 presentations, explores new perspectives on art since 1960 – a strong showing of Japanese avant-garde work includes the gestural, swirling forms of Atsuko Tanaka’s ’83F, at Sakurado Fine Arts.
Across the city at Brooklyn’s Pioneer Works, 1-54 Contemporary African Art Fair returns for its fourth New York edition (4–6 May). Twenty-one galleries convene from Africa, Europe and the US, to present a survey of contemporary African artists. Many recent works by well-known figures are on display – including Derrick Adams’ Floater No. 28 (unicorn), a buoyant acrylic and fabric collage, at Vigo Gallery – alongside works by emerging artists. Highlights include the grotesque, fleshy figures of Nigerian artist Uthman Wahaab, depicted with anarchic wit, as in Nude (comb) (2017), at SAPAR Contemporary.
Elsewhere in New York, there’s still time to catch Acquavella’s exhibition of Uruguay-born modernist Joaquín Torres-García (‘The Worlds of Joaquín Torres-García’, until 25 May). With the range of work on show in New York this weekend, perhaps Hudson’s pluralist vision for New York’s art scene has begun to be realised.
Frieze New York is at Randall’s Island Park from 3–6 May.
1-54 Contemporary African Art Fair – New York is at Pioneer Works, Brooklyn, from 4–6 May.