AO On Site – London: Frieze and Frieze Masters Art Fairs at Regent’s Park, Through October 14th

October 12th, 2012

Toby Ziegler‘s The Cripples, image via Art Observed

Back in 2003 in Frieze’s first year, no major international art fair had ever been hosted in London before. Frieze Art Fair, organized by Matthew Slotover and Amanda Sharp, has helped take London from being a city without a focused art scene to its current state at the center of the European art market. Now in its tenth year, Frieze Art Fair in London’s Regent’s Park has seen around 60,000 visitors, with 264 dealers from 35 countries hoping to sell work (valuing an estimated  £230m) created by more than 2,400 artists within 175 of the world’s leading galleries.

An Aaron Young motorcycle burn out work at Massimo de Carlo in Milan, photo via Art Observed

Jason Rhoades, Shelf (Mutton Chops) with Unpainted Donkey (detail), 2003 © The Estate of Jason Rhoades Courtesy of Hauser & Wirth and David Zwirner, New York, Stefan Altenburger Photography Zürich

David Zwirner Gallery’s booth, with Donald Judd works, photo via Art Observed

This year, the activity has expanded outside the main tent. The biggest addition to Frieze – nearly overshadowing the main fair – is the introduction of a sibling-fair happening simultaneously: just a 10-minute walk to the opposite end of Regent’s Park, Frieze Masters is a second (less boisterous and eccentric – more intimate, hushed and exquisite) tent with 101 stands, 22 of which are solo presentations by singular artists, with art ranging from the late 13th century to 2000.

Notable works at Frieze Masters included “A Vanitas,” a human skull sitting on top of a tome, sculpted from 17th century Italian marble priced at £350,000 at Daniel Katz and Poussin’s “Apollo and Daphne” (ca. 1620), rediscovered by Louvre curator Pierre Rosenberg  in the 1990s, priced at $1.75 million.

Frieze Masters via Art Observed

Frieze Masters via Art Observed

Buyers at the Frieze Masters have tended to be liberal in spending but conservative in choices, quick to buy (Rupert Wace, dealing in ancient Egyptian and classical art, who was selling megalithic axeheads sold four works in the first 36 minutes of the VIP hour), but leaning towards name brands and easily recognizable value. For lesser-known artists, the outcome has been on the disappointing end.

Nicolas Poussin, “Apollo and Daphne” courtesy Robiland + Voena Gallery

Hauser & Wirth (among others) had booths at both fairs. At Frieze Masters, the gallery dedicated an entire room to museum-quality works on paper by Eva Hesse. It also exhibited works by Alighiero Boetti, Yves Klein, and Atsuko Tanaka of the Gutai Group. At Frieze it presented a radical overview of sculpture by three artists: a sculptures in silicone by Paul McCarthy, Jason Rhoades’s massive neon pieces and a series of smaller, intimate reliefs from the 70s and 80s by Hans Josephsohn.

Nan Goldin, Skinhead Dancing, London Courtesy Matthew Marks Gallery

Matthew Marks Gallery presented a special installation of Nan Goldin photographs, as well as a group of five Fischli/Weiss flower photographs, new paintings by Gary Hume, and an installation of Ken Price drawings and sculptures, among other works by artists the gallery represents.

London is also full of off site exhibitions to keep fairgoers busy: Toby Ziegler‘s “The Cripples” located 14 floors below street level in a concrete parking structure features herds of dimly lit horse legs, and in the Malborough Contemporary down the street is Angela Ferreira‘s “Stone Free,” an installation in a variety of media, comparing the Cullinan Diamond Mine in South Africa with the Chislehurst Caves in South East London.

Claire Fontaine at Galerie Chantal Crousel via Art Observed

Nicholas Serota, director of the Tate Gallery, commented that “Frieze continues to be a fair in which we can all make discoveries of emerging and re-emerging artists.” The Tate collection has benefited from these discoveries, receiving 4 works as gifts from The Outset/Frieze Art Fair Fund, whose budget this year was a record-high £150,000 ($240,000).

At the Frieze Fair image via ArtObserved

The works include Hideko Fukushima‘s Ko 8, 1963; Nicholas Hlobo‘s Balindile, 2012; Caragh Thuring‘s Arthur Kennedy, 2012; and Jack Whitten‘s Epsilon Group II, 1977. Since 2003, the Tate has acquired 86 works from the fund – a project in which an international panel of curators annually selects pieces by emerging artists participating in Frieze London to contribute to the gallery’s national collection.


Jean Dubuffet sculpture at Waddington Custot Galleries, image via Art Observed

There is a marked difference this year in more academic thoughtful curation over attention-getting pieces. Matthias Merkel Hess’ glazed porcelain oil cans (Bucketry, 2011-12) sold well at ACME; Jean Luc Moulène’s glass sculptures were in high demand at the Thomas Dane Gallery.  Fairgoers may remember Christian Jankowski‘s  “superyacht” from last year, which was an artwork and a commodity – it cost €65m to buy as boat, and €75m to buy as an artwork, authenticated by the artist himself. This year in its place “Frieze Projects”showcased experimental performative works. The Yangjiang Group and Grizedale Arts built ‘Coliseum of the Consumed’, a structure of food kiosks and performance art, stating that “art should be useful”.  The Telegraph spoke to one of the stall owners who was selling juniper juice in plastic baggies and had raised £40 for Youth Group UK doing so.

Anri Sala, Clocked Perspective, 2012 Courtesy Marian Goodman Gallery, New York; Hauser & Wirth, Zurich/London

The Sculpture Park at Frieze London 2012 features Anri Sala‘s Clocked Perspective seen for the first time this summer at Documenta (13), and a group of Hans Josephsohn‘s reclining figures and torso.  Art Observed will feature a follow up photoset of the Frieze 2012 sculpture park in a later post.

Gillian WearingSelf Portrait at Twenty Seven Years Old, 2012 Courtesy Maureen Paley Gallery

An Anselm Reyle work at Kujke Gallery, Seoul: Tina Kim Gallery, image via Art Observed

The main fair, image via Art Observed

Carsten Holler sculpture at Gagosian Gallery, image via Art Observed

A sculptural work, image via Art Observed

Chris Ofili work at Contemporary Fine Arts, Berlin via Art Observed

Sanja Ivekovic work, image via Art Observed

A work by Tomas Saraceno at Tanya Bonakdar at Frieze, image via Art Observed

Darren Lago (a reference to a Mondrian in Lego) at Annely Juda, image via Art Observed

Doug Aitken work at 303 Gallery, image via Art Observed

Rachel Garrard work (left) and a Jessica Rath scultpure at Jack Hanley Gallery

An Eric Wesley work at Bortolami, image via Art Observed

Gavin Turk neon work at Almine Rech Gallery, image via Art Observed

An Angela de la Cruz  sculpture at Galerie Krinzinger Vienna, image via Art Observed

Grayson Perry tapestry at Victoria Miro, image via Art Observed

Jason Martin sculpture at Lisson Gallery, image via Art Observed


John Chamberlain sculpture at Gagosian Gallery, image via Art Observed

Jonas Wood work at David Kordansky Gallery, image via Art Observed

Katharina Fritsch sculpture at Matthew Marks Gallery, image via Art Observed

Marcel Eichner painting at Contemporary Fine Arts, image via Art Observed

– E. Baker

Related Links:
[Frieze Art Fair]
The Wall Street Journal [Cutting Edge Frieze Art Fair Embraces the Past - With Caution]
New York Times [V.I.P.'s, and a Few Buyers, at Frieze Art Fair]
T Magazine [Loud and in Tents | Frieze London]
The Guardian [Shock of the old: Frieze Masters art fair puts contemporary sibling in the shade]
The Guardian [Frieze art fair 2012: video review]
The Art Newspaper [On a Roll: Frieze at ten]
Blouin Artinfo [Frieze Rap]
The Telegraph [Frieze Art Fair 2012: busier and buzzier than ever before]
BBC News:  [In pictures: Frieze London 2012]