July 31 2014

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17 posts tagged "Frieze Art Fair"

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.


blasblog at frieze: blondes and birkins at the VIP preview


The description VIP is thrown around quite liberally these days (personally, I think a true VIP needn’t require a stamp or a wrist band, but that’s besides the point). So even though I managed to wrangle myself a VIP pass to the Frieze Art Fair and its haughty preview day, my hopes weren’t that high for the turnout. But even in a recession, it seems, the fancy-pants art set take their VIP-ness quite seriously. In the pavilion in Regents Park on Wednesday, you couldn’t spit without hitting an Oscar winner or a fashion legend. There were the three famous blondes: Sienna Miller, Kate Bosworth (who said she was particularly fond of the wares at the Barbara Gladstone and Gagosian booths), and Gwyneth Paltrow (who gave Rivington Arms co-founder Melissa Bent quite the kick when she asked, “Haven’t we met before?” Yes, they had, and kudos for remembering, Gwynnie). Valentino filed in with Carlos de Souza and Giancarlo Giammetti, sending tongues wagging about his perma-tan (is it spray or sun? Only his aesthetician knows for sure). Young art aficionados Alex Dellal and Tyrone Wood said, tongue in cheek, that they were just “out shopping for something for the walls,” and Suzy Menkes shuffled between booths—notepad in hand, of course—before settling at the Lehmann Maupin Gallery. W‘s Dennis Freedman was there seemingly all day (already working on next year’s art issue, perhaps?), artist Marco Perego told me he had just come for the soup, and Jacquetta Wheeler swung by in the afternoon (she’s still got the white-blond thing going on). So while Gavin Brown observed that this year’s VIP day wasn’t as packed as last year’s (“People are just freaking out,” he said about the financial crisis), I think art will survive. At least at this fair. As Jean Pigozzi said, there are still people coming to the art fair and they still have Birkin bags—”but they don’t look like new Birkins.”

Photo: Dave M. Benett/Getty Images

frieze art fair: cory arcangel’s ticket to ride


Cory Arcangel is best known for digital art projects—hacking into Nintendo game cartridges, erasing everything but the clouds in Super Mario, slowing Tetris down to an excruciatingly torpid pace. But for this year’s Frieze Projects, curated by Neville Wakefield, Arcangel is hacking into the art world’s biggest high-stakes game: the Fair itself. Using Willy Wonka as his muse, the 30-year-old Brooklyn-based Arcangel hid one golden ticket, good for a free exhibition booth, among hundreds of chocolate bars sent to galleries that failed to gain acceptance to the 2008 Frieze Art Fair. Here he talks about his game theory for driving the fun at the fair.

Who’s the lucky winner?

Studiò di Giovanna Simonetta from Italy.

Were there galleries in the running that you personally wished hadn’t been rejected?

The process was completely confidential. I didn’t mail the tickets, Frieze Foundation did that on my behalf. Therefore, I never knew who was unsuccessful in their application.

Was it your decision to do it that way, or did the Frieze Foundation require confidentiality in order to accept your project?

Frieze does their application process entirely confidentially, therefore this had to be a part of my process as well.

Does the gallery get to keep their ticket? Did they win both an opportunity and also one of your original works?

They get both the booth and a unique signed silk screen on gold Mylar by myself—as well as, of course, a “Frieze”-branded candy bar.

Do you consider this project a critique of the popularity contest aspect to art fairs? Or were you just being nice and giving a gallery a lucky break?

I was interested in creating an artwork using only the mechanics and structure of the contemporary art fair, and I will be experiencing it along with everyone else when I go to Frieze and see Studiò di Giovanna Simonetta’s booth. I think what the project is about will become clear during the fair.

How does this piece relate to your previous work?

Most of my work is about the structure of the materials I have appropriated to create the work. Traditionally, I have focused on the moving image and sound, but this was a great opportunity to use the “art fair” as the materials. So it is quite in line with my other things, although in a completely different medium.

What do you forecast will be different about this year’s fair, considering the global credit crunch and everyone’s overall anxieties?

Maybe people will remember that artworks and ideas can transcend economics.

Do you feel that all the media focus on the art market hurts art and artists?

When I’m in my studio (a.k.a. my desk in my apartment in Brooklyn), the media attention toward the market doesn’t faze me one bit. I don’t think the media attention makes any difference.

Does critical response to your work ever influence your thinking about what you do, what it means, and why?

Yeah, totally. If someone whose opinion I respect says something about my work, I do listen, and this can change my thoughts about certain things. I need all the help I can get sometimes.

Do you enjoy art fairs?

I don’t think anybody “enjoys” art fairs. They’re loud and stressful. But I do respect them because they are, I think, the most honest part of the commercial art industry. A lot of galleries have gotten so big they pretend they’re museums, but at an art fair they can’t pull this switch and cover.

You often play with the structure of games. How do you define a “winner” in the art world?

Good question. Any way I answer this, I am going to sound like a hippie, but I guess being a winner in the art industry as an artist is just staying one step ahead of yourself, and keeping yourself challenged. It is also worth noting that “winning” has nothing to do with the outside. It’s a personal thing.

Photo: Courtesy of Frieze Art Projects

free art! well, almost


For aspiring art collectors who find that money is no longer no object but are still craving a culture fix, London’s premier artist/curator, Jasper Joffe, has a solution. Billed as “the Art Fair for the Credit Crunch,” Joffe’s Free Art Fair, which opens today, presents works by 50 artists. “Contrasting with the recent Damien Hirst auction and the millions of pounds of sales of the Frieze Art Fair,” Joffe declares, “the Free Art Fair is about valuing art for art’s sake not just its price.” Works on offer for a pittance will include prime pieces by emerging talents as well as million-dollar names such as Gavin Turk, James Jessop, and Stella Vine. Seems like the best things in life are once again (nearly) free.

Photo: Stephen Farthing, Study for a Possible Portrait of the Queen of Alaska, 2008