April 21 2014

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15 posts tagged "Frieze Art Fair"

Londongrad Calling


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


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


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


blasblog from frieze: crowded houses


You would think when there were literally half a dozen parties going on last night in this town (a Sotheby’s opening, a Gagosian Gallery party, a Cartier dinner, etc. etc.), that space wouldn’t be an issue. Are there even that many people in London that can fill this many parties? Well, the answer, I found out the hard way, is yes. After schlepping all the way to East London—and I mean EAST—for the Fantastic Man party at Bistroteque, the man who opened the door of our taxi was polite enough to tell my and my fellow revelers (I had both Scarry sisters with me) to not even bother getting out of the car. They were at capacity, he explained, and weren’t letting anyone in, no exceptions. Fine. We stayed in the taxi (it would have been impossible to find another one) and headed to the next party: Lily Atherton and Gavin Brown’s shindig not far away. Same thing. But here, the lovely man at the door was running a one in, one out policy. Despite the queue and the (gasp!) pay bar, it was worth the wait. The lighting was dark—a good thing when you’ve been traipsing from party to party—and the performance from Man Like Me was just what the crowd wanted to hear. Said Adam McEwen, “I had a feeling this would be the party to be at. Gavin always does a good one.”

Photo: Derek Blasberg

blasblog at frieze: official after hours: automat


Starting last week, there has been talk about which London haunt would be the unofficial go-to destination for Frieze. Would it be Amy Sacco‘s Bungalow 8? (It could be, as Sacco is in town, often on the arm of Eva Mendes.) Would it be somewhere in East London, where all the cool kids hang out? Or, hell, would it be the Shadow Lounge, a sparkly jewel of a gay club in Soho? Well, if Wednesday night was any indication, it might just be the restaurant-by-day/super Euro-social dance haunt-by-night Automat on Dover Street in Mayfair. Dan Macmillan, Alexia Niedzielski, Tyrone Wood, Dan May, Eugenie Niarchos, Dasha Zhukova, and Barbara Wilhelm filed down into its wood-and-leather basement to engage in activities that I probably shouldn’t describe if I want to be allowed back (they ain’t legal, guys). I’m sure by tomorrow night a few things will change—there wasn’t a doorman or a secret knock last night, so any old Tom, Dick, or Gagosian could walk in, and some of the furniture will need to be replaced since someone, presumably accidentally, stomped a stiletto through one of the glass tables—but it still seems that Automat is winning for hottest nightspot right now. But don’t worry that you’ll miss out on new developments: I’m following this story closely.