Now on its final day, the fifth edition of Felix Art Fair opened to dense lines at the historic Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel — where the first Academy Awards were held in 1929 — on Wednesday, February 15. No matter what was about to happen, people were excited to see it, they say.
Inside, fans found a different kind of art fair than most the rest of the main circuit, from Chicago down to Dallas. Art in hotel rooms, rather than booths, dared visitors to commit in order to see, rather than sneaking side-long glances at eager salespeople in the rows of an exhibition hall.
No matter how you choose, those rooms deliver, across painting, sculpture, and design, perspectives and origin stories — though, like many fairs, Felix skews towards New York and of course Los Angeles, just another testament to Tinsel Town’s ever fortifying art scene.
Vittoria Benzine meandered the maze the best she could, still surrendering to fate at most turns, as is custom — and picking up business cards along the way. These are a few of her favorite booths from Felix Art Fair, the only fair she knows with a sapphire, yet notably empty, pool at its center.
As she is writing this piece in that courtyard, a woman kicked back in a chaise lounge has noticed the same thing too. Even on Sunday morning, the weekend is still young.
London-based Josh Lilley Gallery adorned their spacious, sleek cabana with art of the spectacle variety one comes to a fair for, like Rachel Maclean’s “Hot!” (2022) and Catharine Czudej’s “Big Scratch 1” (2023) of crusted aluminum and bismuth in shifting hues the artist has torn through. The works draw you in, but not through sheer shock. There’s underlying intelligence here, an attitude.
A spectacle isn’t always spectacular in scale. Smaller works pack impact if they get a viewer to move their feet, walk closer — like the thoughtful three artist show of Jean Claracq, Matthias Garcia, and Sophie Varin by Paris-based Galerie Sultana. Titled “How To Frame Infinity,” the show “proposes a unique interpretation of the world out of a desire of being elsewhere without complete rejection of reality,” transcending the proverbial art fair’s innate commercial elements.
Queens-based Mrs. gallery coordinated nine artists across disciplines to stage a facsimile suite in their vacated tower room booth on the hotel’s eleventh story. Some contributions, like this “Grand Baby Bedding Set” (2018) which Oona Brangam-Snell made of woven cotton, rayon and polyester, are downright beautiful. Others, like a Spongebob-shaped cabinet carved by Mark Mulroney and stocked with six mini bottles of Jose Cuervo and one tin of Mr. Zog’s Sex Wax, are more practical. Some were made just for the installation, others weren’t. You guess.
A tapestry crowned with playing cards by painter Kyle Johnson is drawing viewers into Tierra del Sol’s room on the twelfth floor, where several artists are celebrating their first fair appearance. The Los Angeles-based foundation has supported art practices and careers for people with developmental disabilities through workshops, volunteer programs, and exhibitions since 1971. All works are available on the gallery’s website, though few remain — including the crown gem.
Since Karen Galloway founded Sow and Tailor in 2021, the Los Angeles gallery has hit a hot streak — a string of successful shows, and a celebrated Armory Show debut in New York City last Fall. Over in Santa Monica, Sow and Tailor’s solo presentation of Vicky Fernandez has caught attention at Frieze, but the group show animating their simultaneous Felix Art Fair tower room debut generates equal excitement across painting, drawings, and sculpture.
Felix Art Fair – 19th February felixfair.com