At any major international art fair, an A-list celebrity sighting can set the aisles a-buzzing. Frieze Los Angeles takes it to the next level.
Mere steps inside the fair on VIP preview day, Artnet News spotted an immaculate Gwyneth Paltrow, unmistakable even in a fashionable green K95 face mask. The star, who recently showcased her art collection in Architectural Digest—no, she does not have a Ruth Asawa—was on her way out after a morning taking in the art.
“There’s so much,” she said. “So beautiful—really inspiring!”
We proceeded to bump into the surprisingly approachable Usher, who was on his way in. “I haven’t seen enough to give a quote,” the musician told Artnet News, “but I’m really happy to be here and to support the artists.”
The notoriously press-averse Leonardo DiCaprio also showed up in the afternoon. After being rebuffed by the actor time and time again at fairs around the country, Artnet News knew better than to approach him for a quote, but we did spot him chatting up local dealer David Kordansky.
The Weeknd proved equally elusive—Artnet News had barely lifted our phone an inch when a stern bodyguard stepped in to block our view of the singer, insisting he was not to be photographed.
Kendall Jenner, meanwhile, was spotted browsing London’s Pilar Corrias, where artist Tschabalala Self posed with one of her new editioned chairs. (The model’s art collection is known to include a probably-not-sideways James Turrell.)
Actor Will Ferrell told us he’d been to Frieze L.A. and other art fairs before—but “just when I’m told to.”
“Just when he’s told to by his wife,” Viveca Paulin-Ferrell, the comic’s spouse of 22 years, clarified. She’s a board member of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and is said to be the force behind the couple’s art collection, which includes work by Julie Mehretu, Huguette Caland, and Analia Saban.
A couple hours after the fair’s opening, they were “in discussions” about making purchases, “but we want to see everything first,” Ferrell added. Was he enjoying it?
“Not really,” he deadpanned. “No, it’s great.”
The actor also ran into his Eurovision costar Pierce Brosnan—known to be something of a painter himself—and the two reverted to their onscreen roles as father and son, doing a short bit, according to a tip from Hilde Lynn Helphenstein, a.k.a. Jerry Gogosian.
Other confirmed sightings included actors Amy Poehler, Keri Russell, Owen Wilson, and Twister star Jami Gertz—who bought a work from San Francisco’s Jessica Silverman Gallery—as well as former MTV News reporter Tabitha Soren, now an artist herself, in town from Berkeley to deliver a work that was recently acquired by LACMA.
“It’s going straight into the storage facility,” she admitted. “It’s funny. You think ‘my work is going to be in museum,’ but no, it’s going in the basement. But some day!”
Of course, the art world has its own brand of celebrities, from mega collectors like Mera and Don Rubell, who were reviewing Self’s work on an iPad at New York’s Galerie Eva Presenhuber, to artists like Jonas Wood, spotted at Pace.
Photographer Catherine Opie, who has called Los Angeles home since 1988, was on hand, happy to support her local fair in its triumphant post-lockdown return. We asked her how she felt about Frieze, and if she shared some artists’ aversion to art fairs’ commercial nature.
“Do I love it? No,” she admitted. “It’s hard to get through an art fair. A mask makes it easier, but I’m apparently still recognizable!”
Frieze Los Angeles is on view at 9900 Wilshire Boulevard, Los Angeles, February 17–20, 2022.
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