For the last couple of years, Frieze New York has been tipping its hat to influential artist-run spaces that have made a major difference to the cultural landscape of their cities. Frieze Projects chose the Bronx gallery Fashion Moda for its first tribute, following it up in 2013 with an homage to art-restaurant FOOD. This year the honour went to Al’s Grand Hotel, a short-lived creative mash-up of accommodation, events space and studios that sprang up in Los Angeles in 1971. Conceived by pioneering conceptual artist Allen Ruppersberg, the venue on Sunset Boulevard opened its doors for a six-week whirlwind of parties and performances, before disappearing just as quickly, leaving a legacy that continues to be seen in multi-use project spaces today.
Ruppersberg and Los Angeles art journal Public Fiction joined Frieze Projects to help reconstruct a version of Al’s Grand Hotel inside the Frieze New York fair. The original had seven fully-functioning installation rooms, whereas the 2014 model is a translation with two guest rooms including the $350-a-night Jesus Room – the most famous of the original installations boasting a giant wooden cross bisecting the space – and a period-kitsch lobby. Photos from the 1971 hotel project helped recall its spirit for this much-anticipated return.