One drawback of visiting an art fair like Frieze is that, after the second or third hour, the works begin to blend together. As is the case with visiting the Louvre, the Uffizi, or the Met, it just isn’t possible to see everything.
During this year’s edition of Frieze Los Angeles, Gagosian was able to sear an image, or rather an experience, into the mind of everyone who passed through its booth with a solo presentation of recent paintings and works on paper by Rick Lowe.
The standout work in the booth is Rotation (Revolution), 2023, a 12-foot-by-27-foot multi-panel painting. Its stacked, interlocking geometry and cool, subtle colors draw people into the work’s atmosphere. Sit at one of the benches in from of it, and you can just be there with the painting.
Shades of black, green, and brown beneath the field of lightly colored rectangles and right angles give the viewer the sense that they were looking at a heat map superimposed on the vascular system of roads, buildings, and plumbing that make up a metropolitan city.
Rotation (Revolution) is largely inspired by photographs Lowe had taken of games of dominoes while working on Project Row Houses in Houston’s Third Ward. In 1993, Lowe, along with six other Black artists—James Bettison, Bert Long, Jr., Jesse Lott, Floyd Newsum, Bert Samples, and George Smith—turned a block and a half of run-down row houses into an area that fosters community, encourages creativity, and lifts up local artists, young mothers, and small businesses.
The congruity between the spirt of Project Row Houses and Rotation (Revolution) is clear: while a community can be a sprawling, varying thing, there is an interconnectivity both below and above the surface. Like the galaxy of stars and planets that surround the world, you don’t have to see it all in full to feel its presence.