Bettina Korek is a true Californian. She grew up in a Los Angeles suburb and was deeply rooted in the arts from the beginning. She took trips to LACMA when she was young, extended her interest in art history with an education at Princeton, then worked in the prints and drawing department at LACMA. Korek is the founder of ForYourArt—a public practice organization founded to create more public engagements with the L.A. art scene. And for Frieze Los Angeles, she is doing that and more as the fair’s executive director.
Whitewaller spoke with Korek about what it means for Los Angeles to present a Frieze Fair at home.
WHITEWALLER: Can you tell us a bit about your role as executive director of the first Frieze Los Angeles?
BETTINA KOREK: I see my role in overseeing Frieze Los Angeles as adapting Frieze’s unique approach to creating art fairs—informed by ideas and conversations as much as by the art market—to the context of L.A. There are logistical challenges of planning around traffic, parking, and the horizontal spread of the city.
WW: What do you aim to bring to the fair and the Los Angeles community?
BK: My aim for Frieze L.A. is to give a snapshot of the many art communities throughout Los Angeles, to create a galvanizing moment for the city, and to showcase institutions and artists here to visitors and locals alike, to ultimately strengthen the culture of arts patronage here.
WW: What are some local galleries that are highlights for you?
BK: It means a lot that we have landmark local galleries like Regen Projects, Blum and Poe, and David Kordansky all under one roof for the first time in Los Angeles. I’m excited for the perspectives of emerging spaces like Commonwealth and Council, Parker, and The Pit.
WW: On that thread, are there any L.A.- based artists that are participating that you’re especially excited about? Can you tell us a bit about their works?
BK: Frieze Projects Los Angeles, curated by Ali Subotnick, features artists who have lived in or who spend a lot of time in Los Angeles. They are responding to the Paramount Backlot as a site, which is a set made to look like real city streets. The result invites visitors to wander like a flâneur, into spaces animated by projects like Lisa Anne Auerbach’s Psychic Art Advisor or Sarah Cain’s installation featuring daily chocolate servings provided by local confectioner andSons.
WW: Are there any L.A. collectors or institutions that you’re hoping to build relationships with? Any wish-list partnerships?
BK: My passion for Frieze Los Angeles is the potential that it has to establish an annual moment for Los Angeles that can not only draw an influx of visitors but stimulate engagement from Angelenos. We are excited to host artist networks including Artists 4 Democracy, the Women’s Center for Creative Work, A-Z West, and ACID-FREE on the Paramount Backlot; and on the established end of the spectrum that LACMA, MOCA, and the Hammer are all supporting Frieze Week with special VIP and public events.
WW: What do you feel a fair like this means for the L.A. art scene? What does it mean for something like your practice, ForYourArt?
BK: Los Angeles has long been on the map, but as mentioned, we haven’t had an annual moment. As a relatively younger city, the hope is that Frieze Los Angeles further cements the understanding that Los Angeles is the creative capital of the world among Angelenos, and that more locals are looking to resources like ForYourArt all year long to be a part of what’s happening here.