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August 29 2014

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17 posts tagged "Frieze Art Fair"

Frieze Frame

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Artist Banks Violette’s massive graphite and gloss canvas at Team Gallery’s Frieze Art Fair booth says, “I would rather be killing my family.” But Valentino, Elle Macpherson, Gwen Stefani, Daphne Guinness, Tom Ford, Courtney Love, and the other attendees at the opening of the ninth Frieze seemed happy to mingle and peruse the art instead.

Even though sales are steadily increasing after the recession, frugality has replaced fashion as a dominant theme for the work on view. There are fewer references to pop culture and luxury, and a more low-tech crafty feel from work like LuckyPDF’s live radio broadcasts, Franz West’s enormous, roughly knotted phallus sculpture at Gagosian, and Dan Colen’s massive chewing gum canvas at Peres Projects Berlin. Mark Hix’s packed on-site canteen contained “credit crunch ice cream,” a conceptually rich dessert of vanilla and chocolate scoops mixed with gold honeycomb and topped with chocolate sauce, half the price of other puddings at just £4.50.

The fair’s most popular participant, however, was an industrious red hermit crab who dutifully carried a replica of Constantin Brancusi’s serene Sleeping Muse sculpture on its back, while navigating through Pierre Huyghe’s aquarium in the Frieze Projects section. The delight this recontextualization of iconic art gave viewers was reflected in Lily Cole’s summation of the Frieze experience while at Gavin Brown’s Enterprise stand, “Fairs or galleries, I really care less about the context,” she said. “I just love looking at lots and lots of good art.”

Photo: Dave M. Benett / Getty Images

At London’s Frieze With Raf, Hussein,
And A Few Giant Purple Horses, Too

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Why is London cooler than usual? Because it’s Frieze-ing. But, given that Germans seemed to be the dominant nationality on the opening day of the Frieze Art Fair, it made sense that it was Claudia Schiffer’s open-to-buy budget that was giving gallerists chills. Plus, she was appropriately emblematic of the fashion/art nexus that gives Frieze its special flavor. Case in point: The first person I saw as I sailed through security was Raf Simons; the last, as I headed for the exit five hours later, was Hussein Chalayan. And the day began with a press brunch given by COS, Europe’s favorite “masstige” chain, followed by a curators’ tour of Frame, the new art wing of Frieze, which COS is supporting.

Each invitation to the brunch was accompanied by a hand-penned missal from artists Michael Crowe and Lenka Clayton as part of a project called Mysterious Letters, through which they intend to communicate with every single person in the world. (Just two kids with a dream!) Still, the optimistic monumentalism of their scheme felt typical of Frieze 2010, especially after the flatness of last year’s fair. There was lots and lots of really big stuff, taking a cue from the scale of Frieze itself, with more than 170 of the world’s best galleries on display. Sadie Coles was showing a 13-foot-high fireplace cast in bronze by the Swiss artist Ugo Rondinone; Emmanuel Perrotin had Xavier Veilhan’s high-octane futurist-style sculpture of a carriage drawn by four horses. It was almost life-size. And purple, to make it even more inescapable. (That’s it, pictured above, at a previous installation in Versailles.)

If 2009 featured a strong handicraft subtext, 2010 resurrected that old standby, photo-based work. Chalayan’s favorite was Marlo Pascual on Casey Kaplan’s stand. The Tennessee native’s dramatically repurposed images also captured the imagination of Francesca Amfitheatrof and Carlo Brandelli—and enough museums and collectors that Pascual was a first-day sellout. That’s the kind of new-name success story that offers an uplifting alternative to all the grandstanding that takes place at the blue-chip booths. Not to say that that isn’t enthralling, too. In fact, I’ve got to get me back there tomorrow for some more.

Photo: Florian Kleinefenn/Courtesy of Galerie Perrotin, Paris

Londongrad Calling

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It’s not entirely out of place that the Kandinsky Prize event, the Russian equivalent of the Turner Prize, was relocated to London this year. Russians have always flocked here, and they show up in force during Frieze. On Friday night, after a frenzy of viewing and spending, the grandees of the Russian community converged at the rambling edifice that is the Louise Blouin Foundation headquarters to celebrate the nominations for the country’s most important contemporary art award. Blouin, the French-Canadian arts patron-cum-publisher, has hosted many a bacchanalian event at her HQ, but Friday night was the barn burner of Frieze. You could be forgiven if you thought that you had stumbled onto a pre-revolution scene since all the ersatz czars and czarinas were present. It was an electrifying environment, since surely nothing can create excitement in a room as much as high-net individuals on a spending spree. Continue Reading “Londongrad Calling” »

Blasblog: (East) London Calling

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It was a long trip to East London last night, both literally and metaphorically, for two fêtes: one hosted by a Spice Girl for a mobile phone, and the other hosted by Charles Finch and Elisabeth von Thurn und Taxis in honor of the Frieze Art Fair. Metaphorically, it was an aesthetic transition from my last moments in Paris at Eugenie Niarchos and Gaia Repossi’s swanky shindig at the Ritz Hotel to a cramped seat on the number 55 bus. As for the literal, well, Shoreditch is on the other side of the world from Notting Hill, where I’m staying. But after a few buses and a stroll through the dodgy bits of East London, I arrived at Shoreditch House and—voilà!—back to swanky city environs. The roof of the venue, part of the Soho House family, has been transformed into a music festival, complete with grass, tents, and a stage for the likes of VV Brown, Alphabeat, and Mr. Brown. But my personal highlight—and anyone that knows me will attest to my affinity for the underappreciated cinematic marvel that is Spice World—was meeting Mel B, who dropped a Scary bomb on me, alluding to upcoming Spice Girls projects.

Continue Reading “Blasblog: (East) London Calling” »

where there’s smoke, there’s a delinquent art dealer

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Daisy Lowe and Will Blondelle are among the people we’ve spotted queuing up for a fag at Norma Jean’s controversial smoking-booths installation, The Straight Story at the Frieze Art Fair. The anonymous artist, whose identity was born on the day Marilyn Monroe died and who’s got a reputation for outrageousness (making cheese from breast milk, for example, and staging orgies), furnished three booths with a single chair, a metal ashtray, and a watercooler, so that fairgoers could pretend to be cubical workers irreverently bucking the smoking ban. It was rumored that the installation, which is part of the Frieze Projects section curated by Neville Wakefield, was going to be censored by city authorities because it violated the ban. But some of London’s heavy-hitting art figures, including the Serpentine’s Julia Peyton-Jones and the Hayward’s Ralph Rugoff, came to Jean’s defense. The work was clearly a big hit with dealers jonesing for a break from the bleak task of trying to sell art. But after a while, we noticed that more than a few truly irreverent attendees were smoking away from the booths. Said one collector as she hid her Dunhill behind her back, “The line is too long, and I need a nicotine hit more than I need to be part of art.”

 

Photo: Dave M. Benett/Getty Images