Frieze New York is one of the most influential art fairs on the creative calendar, bringing together the world’s leading galleries for a weekend that includes specially commissioned artists' projects, a talks programme and an artist-led education schedule. For this year's advertising campaign, its design team wanted to celebrate some of the most influential artists who lived and worked in the city during the 20th century.
Robert Rauschenberg, Donald Judd and Keith Haring, for example, all had studios in the middle of Soho – spaces which are now preserved and home to their foundations. The eight foundations involved maintain the work of the artists but also look after their personal archives of items including tools, art materials, souvenirs from travels, personal belongings and ephemera. Working with photographer Nicholas Calcott, Frieze decided to create a portrait of the artist through these emblematic objects.
Former senior designer Joe Cole Porter, who art directed the campaign with Frieze's Head of Design, Amy Preston, says: "We worked closely with the archivists at the foundations to choose objects to best represent different aspects of the artists' characters. For example, we have an offshoot of Lee Krasner’s spider plant that she used to give out as a present to guests, Keith Haring's paint-splattered Nike sneakers and a yellow sign initialed with 'RR' that Robert Rauschenberg found on the street.
"The foundations all work hard to further the legacy of these artists. This project gives the general public an opportunity to have new insights into the artists’ working methods and personalities through something other than works of art on public display."
Speaking of the photography, Joe adds: "We chose to approach Nicholas Calcott because he had worked with New York based artist foundations before. We had seen a shoot he did inside the home and studio of Louise Bourgeois so knew that he would be sensitive to the precious nature of these objects. Nicholas has a bold, graphic style that gives these archival objects a contemporary aesthetic."
In order to create a distinctive image series Frieze decided to use a different background colour for each artist. "We worked with the foundations to pick a colour that we felt worked with the objects, says Joe. "Most of the colours chosen are relevant to the artists’ work, for example, turquoise for Judd, green for Calder and yellow for Frankenthaler."
The campaign for Frieze New York 2017 is produced in collaboration with The Josef and Anni Albers Foundation, Calder Foundation, Helen Frankenthaler Foundation, The Keith Haring Foundation, Judd Foundation, The Noguchi Museum, Pollock-Krasner House and Study Center, and Robert Rauschenberg Foundation.
Frieze New York opens next Friday at Randall’s Island Park, May 5 – 7, 2017.
Main image: Artefacts from Jackson Pollock and Lee Krasner's home and studio, East Hampton, NY. Courtesy Pollock-Krasner House and Study Center