Frieze’s Loring Randolph on the Best of New York | BLOUIN ARTINFO
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Frieze’s Loring Randolph on the Best of New York

Frieze Art Fairs's artistic director, Americas, Loring Randolph
(Hannah Whitaker)

Frieze Art Fairs named Loring Randolph — previously partner and director at New York’s Casey Kaplan gallery — its new artistic director of the Americas in autumn 2017. Having hitherto participated as an exhibitor, Randolph now determines the strategic goals and content of Frieze New York, which swiftly attracted international artists, galleries, curators, and collectors since crossing the Atlantic as an offshoot of the London original in Regent’s Park. (A Los Angeles edition has, moreover, been announced for 2019.)

Under Randolph’s direction, this seventh edition features programs showcasing performances (notably Adrienne Edwards’s new “Live” program, themed around protest marches), a Talks program drawing upon contemporary literature (with appearances by Elif Batuman and Ottessa Moshfegh), and an architectural makeover by Universal Design Studio at the fair’s hub, Randall’s Island Park. Running May 4-6, Frieze will feature just under 200 galleries from 30 countries, with participation from first-timers as far-flung as Budapest, Tehran, and Tokyo.

In a conversation with BLOUIN ARTINFO, Randolph revealed her New York preferences: her go-to Brooklyn boutique, where she heads for a date night, and the import of the Lower East Side gallery scene.

How long have you been a New Yorker?

Twelve years.

What are your “can’t leave without seeing this” recommendations for the city?

I’d say the 9/11 Memorial, the Morgan Library, the New York Public Library at Bryant Park, the Met and Central Park, and the High Line.

What is the most overrated thing people advise visitors to check out?

There is not much that is overrated about this great city! I am not even jaded about the Empire State Building. That said, I loathe Times Square…

What restaurants and/or cafes would you recommend, and what makes them unique?

Our restaurants at the fair this year — Foul Witch by Blanca and Roberta’s, Fat Radish and Frankies Spuntino — are all fantastic, and I also love abcV and Andrew Tarlow’s restaurants. Roman’s in Fort Greene is my go-to neighborhood place and my new favorite lunch spot near our Frieze New York offices in Soho is Le Botaniste, which serves exquisite, plant-based food that keeps my energy up all day long. I went recently to Frenchette, which is a great date night spot, my husband and I sat near Mario Batali — always a good sign when another chef is eating there too!

What would you do if you had a free morning or afternoon to wander the city?

I’d wander through Chinatown and the Lower East Side. This is a vibrant part of the city because of the young gallery scene and the sheer chaos of the street vendors. There’s a famous pharmacy near our office, Kamwo Meridian Herbs, that works miracles. After popping in there, I would walk home to Fort Greene over the Brooklyn Bridge.

Where would you head for the best shopping, and what would you buy?

My favorite store to visit is Bird. The selection is young and on trend, and speaks to my tastes and price range. Lucky for me, one just opened in Fort Greene. Rachel Comey is my go-to brand, and am also a fan of Catherine Micoli bags: they are for the working woman and are belted and hands-free! I tend mostly to buy clothes online though, and frequent Bergdorf’s site, and Net-A-Porter too.

Where would you recommend people stay when they visit?

Brooklyn isn’t always the first choice for visitors, but I like the Wythe Hotel in Williamsburg. If you want to be near Chelsea, you can’t go wrong with the Maritime, Hotel Americano or the Standard. The Mark and Surrey are high-end options on the Upper East Side that are so convenient to the fair on Randall’s Island.

What are the best venues for seeing art in New York?

The Whitney Museum is a wonderful space, with views of the water, and there are always a wide range of exhibitions there that you can see in one visit. I also like the Rubin Museum for a more intimate and relaxed experience. 

What are the best places to buy art in New York?

Any of the incredible New York galleries, but especially the younger ones on the Lower East Side where you can truly make discoveries; they are good places to begin as a collector. I really don’t have a favorite! I always try to remind people that you can start a collection with editions and drawings, and that anything you see in a museum show that says “Courtesy of the Gallery” might be for sale. Don’t be afraid to inquire.

What are the ideal spots to see live music?

As it gets closer to the summer, I really like to be outside to see music. There is a little barge anchored at Brooklyn Bridge Park, and it is so beautiful and always filled with live music and so many different people. I love it! The Prospect Park Bandshell is also a great venue for shows in the summer.

What are your favorite bars to relax in after spending the day at the fair?

The bars at Frieze New York, which are on outdoor decks facing the river where you can sip champagne and watch the sun set behind the city, are the obvious choice.

What are you most looking forward to about this edition of Frieze New York?

The fair looks so incredible this year! I am answering these questions sitting in the grass on Randall’s Island staring at our new tents. I was looking forward to this moment when I arrived for the first time, and my jaw dropped. I could not have anticipated how great everything would look. I am so proud of our teams — it’s moving to finally see everyone’s hard work coming together.

Founder: Louise Blouin