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Frieze New York 2019

Frieze New York diary: from Ron Nagle's psychedelic works to Hockney's portrait of a cross-dressing superstar

Plus, the Rubin Museum's wheel of fortune and Videofreex's comeback

David Hockney, Divine, 1979 Gareth Harris

When David met Divine

The late cross-dressing superstar Divine has a lot to answer for—and we don’t just mean his 1972 classic camp movie, Pink Flamingos. The drag performer sat for David Hockney in 1979, posing at the artist’s Santa Monica studio. The result is a majestic portrait of the outrageous trailblazer that is turning heads at the Leslie-Lohman Museum in SoHo (Art After Stonewall 1969-89, until 21 July). “The painting marked a major shift in Hockney’s work away from the photo-based illusionism of his earlier portraits,” the exhibition organisers say. Divine—we salute you.

The Wheel of Intentions at the Rubin Museum of Art Asya Gorovits

Wheel of (good) fortune

Take a meditative pause from Frieze Week at the Rubin Museum of Art through the interactive installation The Wheel of Intentions (until 6 January 2020) by Potion and Ben Rubin. Type in your “intention” and spin the work round to send your thought out to a swirling projection in the stairwell above. We saw “Drink coffee in bed every morning” and “Empower all the women in my life”, while adding our own: “Be braver”.

Ron Nagle, Dark Sweep, 2018. Photo: © Ron Nagle, Courtesy Matthew Marks Gallery © Ron Nagle, Courtesy Matthew Marks Gallery

Songwriter turns sculptor

Ron Nagle’s résumé is certainly impressive. The San Francisco-based artist not only helped establish the California Clay movement but also made his name writing songs for Jefferson Airplane and Barbra Streisand. Matthew Marks Gallery in Chelsea is showing a selection of sculptures and drawings by this icon of West Coast subculture (2 May-15 June). The sculptor admits his songwriting career was chequered, saying: “I was in a pretty oblivious state, drinking and drugs. I’ve been sober more than 30 years now, but most of these songs were created in an altered state.” Our favourite fascinating fact, though, is that he created many of the sound effects in the chilling 1973 film The Exorcist (no projectile vomiting, please).

Videofreex Nancy Cain & DJ Skip B Photo courtesy of Videofreex.com

Get ur Videofreex on

The US counter-culture video collective Videofreex, active from 1969-78, go back to broadcasting on 1 May with a “musical manifesto”, the Videofreex Dance Party for Ch..ch..ch..change. The two-hour programme, DJ’d and hosted by the Videofreex members Nancy Cain and Skip Blumberg and airing on WGXC 90.7-FM,promises “progress”-focused music from a motley crew of artists including The Pointer Sisters, Erykah Badu and The Who. “Turn the volume up loud and dance your ass off for a better future!” they urge.