Frieze Given Olympics Cash For Public Art

Olympics commissions Frieze – purveyor of one of the world’s most important art fairs – to fill London with public artwords for the duration of the Games

Frieze have received a grant by the Olympics to populate six east London boroughs with public artworks for the duration of the Games. This project will be called Frieze Projects East, and will form part of the London 2012 Festival – the climax event of the Cultural Olympiad.

The artworks will be made by artists who have either lived or studied in east London, and include:  a playground climbing frame sculpture by Gary Webb in Greenwich; inflatable sculptures by Anthea Hamilton and Nicholas Byrne for the disused Poplar Baths pool in Tower Hamlets; billboards by Sarnath Banerjee recording the artists lifelong sporting failures; and magical silver doorknobs by Can Altay which record the touch of people who use them situated on buildings around Waltham Forest including the town hall, council housing, and the YMCA. Two more projects are yet to be announced, once the curator Sarah McCrory and mystery artist succeeds in overcoming ‘engineering issues and battling the laws of nature and physics.’

Frieze Projects East has received approximately £100,000 from the Arts Council England, and around £350,000 from the National Lottery through the Olympic Lottery Distributor. While Frieze Art Fair, as Director Matthew Slotover admits, has a reputation for ‘big money, [and] big glamour’, this Olympic project is more about ‘clarity and accessibility’: ‘This is broader than the fair, it’s going to the general public and that’s really exciting.’

In particular Slotover hopes that the project involve those ‘communities who don’t feel that they’re getting something out of the Olympics’ – ‘to try and give them something that they can engage with, that they’re proud of and that they’re excited by’. ‘The projects we’ve found so far will be of the highest international quality but they’re also approachable projects that you don’t need a PhD in art history to engage with’, he added.

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