Angel Otero shares his top picks from Frieze New York — Gabriella Angeleti

The Art Newspaper, 09.19.2018

The Puerto Rican painter Angel Otero, who “never usually comes to fairs—it’s just a very tense environment”, perused the packed aisles of Frieze New York’s VIP preview on Wednesday (2 May) to share his thoughts on some must-see works at the fair. (His own work can be seen at Lehmann Maupin, who represents the artist in New York, and at Kavi Gupta of Chicago, Otero’s longtime dealer.)

Otero is best known for his monolithic mixed-media canvases which have an Abstract Expressionist and sculptural quality and says he “is most drawn to traditional methods of painting—despite my work being completely untraditional—and rethinking traditional practices”. The artist recently had a solo exhibition at the Bronx Museum and will participate in an upcoming group exhibition at the Wexner Center for the Arts of Columbus, Ohio, called Inherent Structure, alongside Laura Owens, Sam Gilliam and other young artists (19 May-12 August).

Despite the hectic atmosphere that is often synonymous with major fairs and the “occasionally uncomfortable conversations” one may overhear, Otero says that “sometimes fairs are people’s only chance to see certain works in person, and there’s still some great art to discover”. Here are his recommendations:

Eddie Martinez, shown by Mitchell-Innes & Nash

“I learned about Eddie Martinez when I was a student at The Art Institute of Chicago. He was having a strong moment then—one of those painters that everyone was talking about. I was really drawn to his Expressionistic method of painting. His work is engaging and articulate, which is something that’s very hard to achieve.”

Sam Moyer, shown by Sean Kelly

“Sam is really talented artist, and she’s also showing in the Wexner exhibition. Her work is more in the minimal environment. In this work, she’s really transforms the marble—merging it with painterly dialogue. I’m very intrigued by artists who have unusual use of materials and can morph objects from their ‘natural habitats’.”

Lynette Yiadom-Boakye, shown by Jack Shainman

“Lynette is the most incredible artist and just beautiful in every way. I met her years ago randomly on the street in Miami. She creates these powerful portraits of imagined men and women, never using models. She brings these non-existing people into an existing context. I find all her work very romantic and mysterious.”

Kaari Upson, shown by Massimo de Carlo

“I first came across Kaari’s work when she had her show at the New Museum last year, where there was this series of painted mattresses. This work, for example, although it’s a sculpture, still has a painting narrative. Her work transforms your perception of commonplace objects that we often give no thought to.”

Zilia Sánchez, shown by Galerie Lelong

“I discovered Zilla’s work when I was living in Chicago and started hearing about this artist who was working with shaped canvases, which is something you didn’t used to see a lot. Her work is very sensual and interesting. This work, even though it talks about different forms of painting and sculpture, keeps you in this very sensual tension.”