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THE ART DADDY’S DADDY DISPATCH FROM FRIEZE NEW YORK

This marked my eighth edition of Frieze and I’ll be honest, I’ve always felt a little like on the outside looking in. But this year I felt like I was hiding in plain sight among the daddies. Not only was I there to cover it, I also scored an invite to the press drinks. There is a press pecking order, but little did the Frieze press team know that The Art Daddy was in their midst. And despite my excitement for the press event, it ended up being disappointing in more ways than one. In some ways I felt like I was a double spy ––a press professional and also as an aspiring daddy influencer. 


This year’s fair did not let me down however, and the daddies were giving. In fact, this may have been my best year ever of art daddy spotting here. And there were even some celebrity sightings: from Jerry Saltz to Kesha, and even David Byrne (we had a whole moment but more on that later), it was popping off. With the fair being in full effect to the public for the next three days, here are some of the best spots to find daddies at the fair–– lovingly ranked for you by yours personally. 


Photography courtesy of Casey Kelbaugh/Frieze and CKA


On the floor and in the booths

When it comes to daddies and fair spotting/hunting, I always think the best way to experience them is in the wild and this remains true of Frieze (and other fairs). The most daddies can be found on the floor and working in their booths. This is where they thrive and it's what they are trained to do. The US Army makes soldiers and trains them, and the art world gives us art fairs where the daddies are trained. 


The main floor of Frieze on the second level which holds the most booths, I would say is the number one area to spy on the daddies as well as others. All the more major galleries are also located on level 2, which can help as you are navigating the fair and also looking for the daddies and the art.


Two stand out booths to me when it came to daddies and the art are the Victoria Miro located at A7 and the Instituto de Vision at booth D9. Both booths have spectacular daddies who will talk you through their program and in particular Simon Kirby is the London art daddy of your dreams at Victoria Miro and the man you want at Instituto de Vision is Manuel Becerra, he is perfection and their program was a standout to me. 

Casey Kaplan at Frieze New York 2024. Photography courtesy of Casey Kelbaugh/Frieze and CKA

Escalators 

One of the unfortunate flaws in the design of the Shed building are the escalators. In addition to being an eyesore, and also a bit of an annoyance to navigate, they also surprisingly can offer you some great daddy interactions. The escalators, especially at Frieze, can be a very social space and since everyone at the fair takes them, often there can be a bit of a traffic jam getting on and off. 


And depending on your location in the fair  every few minutes you can almost just see the dozens of daddies getting on and off the escalators. Given the prominence of the role play in this fair’s transportation, this also translates to the daddies who use them. They tend to come in waves so my best suggestion is to mill about the escalator banks to see them and also try to chat. I saw art writer and icon in his own right, Jerry Saltz, on the escalator heading down as I went up and said “Bye Jerry!” and he waved with his coffee cup. 


Will Ferell at Frieze New York 2024. Photography courtesy of Casey Kelbaugh/Frieze and CKA

VIP Lounge

The VIP Lounge located on the 8th floor of the Shed is where some of the finest daddies can be found sipping champagne or a tequila cocktail. This year in addition to the champagne lounge, there is also the Maestro Dobel tequila pop-up and lounge serving up delicious cocktails and getting the daddies liquored up in the process. It features a beautiful seating area with works by many artists from the Oaxaca region of Mexico, where tequila comes from. 


Given the fact this is one of two central bar areas at the fair, this is a main hub. The escalators feed right off into it and daddies can be seen roaming the open space. From collector daddies, dealer daddies, booth daddies, advisor daddies and more, you name it and you will find it around this area. It’s a great place for people and daddy to watch and will give you some of the best aspects of the fair to enjoy. A lot of VIPs tend to hang there as well since it's one of the only bars in the whole fair and it is a little sequestered from the rest of it. Kesha was spotted there yesterday and from all accounts she was looking great.

 

David Byrne at Frieze New York 2024. Photography courtesy of Sean Zanni/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images.


David Byrne/Frieze Press Party

The most exciting part of my day yesterday was spotting the singer and biggest daddy crush David Byrne yesterday. The former Talking Heads frontman is also an artist in his own right (he went to RISD after all, and shows with the mega gallery Pace) and is THE DADDY in my book. Yesterday when I spotted him on the second level I almost had a stroke and followed closely behind enough to take a few pictures. 


To my delight, and surprise, after I spotted him I had to hurry to the press party–– which was a disappointment for other reasons. I didn’t expect much, but the low budget event I was treated to was slightly embarrassing given the fact that the prices for tickets range from $206 for the preview day to $160-$130 during the regular days (they gave early bird prices, but those are all sold out). With the exorbitant prices people to get in the door, and the amount of money galleries put into their booths, you would think that press would have been treated to more than just a roped off area in the glorified cafe of Cedrics on the 8th floor with minimal seating and canned wine and no snacks. But no, that's what we got. 


Despite the circumstances, David and his younger girlfriend (I wanted to push her off the escalator but, saintlike, I contained myself) came up to the cafe for a snack! At the event, we had the misfortune of talking to a man who had his own monologue going for over fifteen minutes, and in the middle of that, we waved at David and to my surprise he came over!! I tried to get him to come to the press area, but even he declined the canned wine. 


The press event did include the art writer Julia Halperin, Nate Freeman from Vanity Fair, and Tim Schiender from The Art Newspaper. All in all, Frieze New York 2024 was a spectacular showing of daddies and celebrities alike. 


 

The Art Daddy is a Brooklyn, New York-based daddy influencer and writer. AD runs the art world Instagram juggernaut account @theartdaddy_ and a weekly substack with the same name dedicated to all daddy and art things. 

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