The Matisse Frieze: Light and Color Rule New York’s Giant Art Fair

Spencer Finch, Color Test 210, at James Cohan Gallery. (Photo credit: Alexandra Peers/Observer)

Spring finally arrived in New York City, the Frieze Art Fair with it.

The high-end, two-hundred dealer event that takes over Randall’s Island and pitches a city of a tent opened this morning to VIP’s, Leonardo DiCaprio among them.

The aisles are filled with sculpture, a surprising slew of it dangling from the ceiling, and there are almost giddy installations with a playpen feel — draw a circle here, go through a maze there, pick up a free button. It’s Art, for good or ill, with winsome exclamation points.

An Alex Katz at Frieze.

An Alex Katz at Frieze. (Photo credit: Alexandra Peers/Observer)

But the money is real, and it tells you something that Acquavella gallery with its seven and eight-figure Picassos and the like is as busy as Gagosian, who showed art inspired by Instagram.

While there are certainly darker notes and deeper thoughts throughout the giant event, there’s a lot of ‘smiling and shiny,’ art including a naked man painted silver to the tip of his penis.

Artist Barry McGee at Frieze.

Artist Barry McGee at Frieze. (Photo credit: Alexandra Peers/Observer)

The spiritual godfather of this art season, with its $179.4 million price for a crazily colored Picasso harem scene earlier this week, is Henri Matisse and the recent Museum of Art blockbuster exhibition of his vivid cut-outs.

Here, a few hours on to the mall-meets-museum extravaganza, is what it looks like.

Frieze New York, 2015. (Photo credit: Alexandra Peers/Observer)

Frieze New York, 2015. (Photo credit: Alexandra Peers/Observer)

A Wayne Thiebaud at Frieze, 2015.

A Wayne Thiebaud at Frieze, 2015. (Photo credit: Alexandra Peers/Observer)

A Tony Oursler at Lehman Maupin's booth at Frieze, 2015.

A Tony Oursler at Lehman Maupin’s booth at Frieze, 2015. (Photo credit: Alexandra Peers/Observer)

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Linder at Stuart Shave/Modern Art. (Photo credit: Alexandra Peers/Observer)

(Photo credit: Alexandra Peers)

(Photo credit: Alexandra Peers/Observer)

Frieze New York, 2015. (Photo credit: Alexandra Peers/Observer)

Frieze New York, 2015. (Photo credit: Alexandra Peers/Observer)

A 2015 work by Paola Pivi at Frieze.

A 2015 work by Paola Pivi at Frieze. (Photo credit: Alexandra Peers)

Frieze

Frieze New York, 2015. (Photo credit: Alexandra Peers/Observer)

The Matisse Frieze: Light and Color Rule New York’s Giant Art Fair