The Frieze Art Fair was established six years ago in London’s Regent’s Park and now ranks among the most important international art events in the calendar. The latest news on Frieze Art Fair in London can be found here.This year featured over 150 stands displaying new works by the likes of Anish Kapoor, Julian Opie and Takashi Murakami. A new dimension was added to this year’s line up for new and emerging solo artists and their galleries called ‘Frame’. They certainly were a lively lot, by the look of the empties on the floor at the opening, Frame consumed by far the most alcohol at the fair.
Frieze looked great this year and beyond the visual eye candy a message was prevalently scrawled on surfaces in paint, ink and neon. One such message by Jonathan Monk sculpted in bent neon read; do Not Pay More Than $20,000. A stand from Bucharest displayed a banner stating in red, “Long Live And Thrive Capitalism” and another gallery displayed a series of paintings exclaiming, The Days Of This Society Is Numbered in collage ripped from consumer advertising in the Sunday newspapers. Perhaps, you might think this was the sentiment of the “Frame” section sticking their middle finger up to the establishment. It would be an easy conclusion to surmise but this continued into section one with Dan Colen’s work, No Sex No War No Me. I suppose a bit of nihilism thrown in for good measure.
If I were an archaeologist unearthing the remains of the Frieze Art Fair, preserved in a Pompeii style excavation, I would conclude that society in 2009 was in the throws of a looming disaster. The message, at least from many of the artists was a clear affirmation of last years western banking collapse. Lets face it many buyers of high end art are in financial difficulties. Art has always been an area reserved for the wealthy patron or the shrewd aesthete. It is a commodity with no intrinsic value, unlike gold and silver; it’s simply worth whatever anyone is prepared to pay for it. Art goes up and down in value like stocks. It is, dare I say, a fashion, which has trends. Some artists overcome trends but others are obliterated and are erased from existence. After years and years of prices being pushed by the auction houses, Art is in for a reality check. I am a collector I don’t have a lot to spend, but I actually buy art with my disposable income. There was affordable art at the fair especially in the Frame section and although tempted by a number of items I left empty handed for the moment. Let us hope that some of the Goldman Sachs boys and girls came, as they announced profits of 3 Billion dollars this quarter and are set to dole out healthy bonuses this Christmas. See ArtLyst virtual tour of Frieze on: http://www.youtube.com/user/ArtLyst
Zoo 2009 was rather a different atmosphere entirely. The crowd was a lot younger and they were wearing far less Marc Jacobs and Prada. The stands were more in keeping with patron, Anita Zabludowicz 176 Gallery and that is to say, rustic and earthy. The 19th century stable/warehouse buildings were in keeping with the art on display and it especially suited the video works, as the buildings were dark and spacious. I also enjoyed the enthusiasm of the less jaded and commercial galleries who had plenty of time to discuss the work on display. Some big names were on hand including the Chapman Brothers and an impressive floor piece by Richard Woods. Held within a new multi-site location situated in the East End, the producers of Zoo Art Fair created an event to rival Frieze. The adapted structures brought together over fifty contemporary arts organisations and practitioners, through a series of curated exhibitions and stand presentations including a section curated by Rob Tufnell. The collectors, curators, critics, dealers, artists and art enthusiasts were not disappointed. Zoo 2009 remains a considered introduction to the next generation of art professionals. See ArtLyst virtual tour of Zoo on: http://www.youtube.com/user/ArtLyst
Pavilion of Art and Design opened on 13 October to the public in Berkeley Square, London. This was defiantly the fair for high-end “Modern” rather than “Contemporary” art. Pavilion, also held in a white marquee featured paintings and sculpture by some of the leading names in blue chip 20th century art including Picasso, Calder Leger and Egon Schiele. The fair also had a number of stands featuring the best of modern design including furniture, and object d’art. There was also some fabulous contemporary and modern jewellery designed by Arp, Ernst, Fontana and Calder at, Didier, who also has a gallery in Kensington Church Street. London lacks an international modern art fair to compete with France and the US. Frieze is a magnificent opportunity to simultaneously mount one. Such is the pull of Frieze that the art world now orbits around it for a few days in October. Sotheby’s and Christie’s also arrange their auctions to coincide with the fair season.