In its second year at Paramount Studios, Frieze shows every sign of thriving in the temperate microclimate of midwinter Los Angeles. Whether it is doing so because it’s a natural fit for the mild Hollywood weather, or because, like other invasive species, it enjoys an unfair advantage against whatever counts as native in LA, remains to be seen.
There’s no question about the aptness of the venue. What makes Paramount a great production facility also makes it a great place to see contemporary art. The promenades are gracious without the stiff formality of a museum setting, and there’s a keen sense of belonging generated by the communal spaces that supports nonstop networking, people watching, and casual conversation. At the same time, an elaborate system of internal checkpoints manned by security personnel wielding handheld digital ticket scanners insures that the crowd remains carefully calibrated to the capacity of the various spaces. Even at peak times, like Saturday mid-afternoon, it was still possible to find someone in the gallery tent after a single text.