5 November 2018 § Leave a comment
As soon as Frieze makes its annual appearance in Regents Park everyone knows that it is time to check out the London art scene. The annual schedules of the galleries – both commercial and public – are all heavily weighted towards the Autumn and the most important names carefully lined up for exhibition. This is the time when anyone can get an all-round view of global trends without leaving central London.
With the twin clouds of Brexit and falling market confidence hanging over the art world, it was good to arrive at Frieze to receive a David Shrigley newsflash accompanying the Art Newspaper – NEWS: PEOPLE GATHER IN LARGE TENT. It helped to lighten the mood – for more of Shrigley you could visit Stephen Friedman where he took over the whole stand and showed some witty neon works alongside his more usual sketches and bonkers animations.
Also lightening the mood were US artist Julia Scher’s pink-clad pensioner security guards who were regularly seen patrolling the fair.
As seemingly has been the trend for several years now the big institutional-type works were largely absent from a show that was dominated by smaller and mid-ticket works. An ugly and rather pointless exception was Tatiana Trouvé’s The Shaman which nevertheless apparently sold on the first day. Many other big name – big ticket items were perhaps held back for gallery events or even Frieze Masters.
Swiss artist Urs Fischer dominated the show entrance at Gagosian with a suite of iPad paintings printed on to reflective aluminium panels. All show his New York home with the image disintegrating across each set as if digitally erasing itself.
This years #metoo angled theme was Social Work, exploring how women artists looked at political activism within their work. With artists including Faith Ringgold, Sonia Boyce, Helen Chadwick, Nancy Spero and Berni Searle it was however somewhat underwhelming and could easily be passed largely unnoticed.
As usual though there was plenty to enjoy and here are a few of the other works that caught our eye:
Last but not least, as you leave the fair in Regent’s Park, perhaps to venture up to Frieze Masters, some twenty five different sculptures were dotted throughout the greenery and included Kimsooja (above), Rana Begum , Tracey Emin, Conrad Shawcross and Elmgreen & Dragset. They will remain until the end of Frieze week.
CELLOPHANELAND* were guests of Frieze London
For more information visit www.frieze.com
This post was also published at CELLOPHANELAND*
10 October 2017 § Leave a comment
October is the very best time of year to see art in the capital. The city is abuzz with the latest blockbuster shows – 2017 brings Jasper Johns as well as Dali/Duchamp to the Royal Academy, Jean-Michel Basquiat at the Barbican and Rachel Whiteread is showing at the Tate. The commercial galleries have pulled out their biggest names – there are Jean Dubuffet at Pace, Jake & Dinos Chapman at Blain Southern and Anselm Kiefer & Robert Longo at Thaddeus Ropac. Meanwhile all the big names auction houses stage their autumn contemporary sales.
Frieze of course also comes to London, not only with the contemporary focused Frieze Art Fair, but the thriving Frieze Masters event just up the Regents Park footpath. The great and the good of the art world come together with a smattering of celebrity names to see the latest that the art world has to offer.
Our annual visit to Frieze is always highly anticipated. Not only to admire some great art but to also to discern new trends, see what the big names have on offer admire the most spectacular works – after all this is the biggest fair in the greatest city in the contemporary art world.
Yet still, and perhaps because of the anticipation, there is again a tinge of anti-climax. Are we expecting too much or could Frieze do better? Their gallery selection process doesn’t help – preferencing worldwide galleries means we seem to get mediocre work from perhaps Peru or Burkino Fasso at the expense of many excellent local galleries (is this not a London art fair after all?).
Gone are the bigger artists names and the spectacular and expensive works that graced earlier shows and we now seem to get more mid level and affordable (?) pieces – even from the big name galleries. One is left with the niggling impression that much of the best work is hidden away and that most of the deals are done back at their base.
The curated ‘Sex Work’ exhibition spread through the show failed to stir us and was rather tame. Still, this is the very best contemporary art fair in Britain, there is plenty of good art to be found and new names to be discovered. There is always something to surprise, people to meet and in the end, where else could you for example pick up a free Passport to Antartica?
Amongst our selection of what we noticed at this years fair were: Olafur Eliasson whose colour-shifting balls drew a large crowd whilst Eddie Peake was eye-catching as usual. We loved Ryan Mosley’s newest works, rather more colourful than usual and Mathew Ronay’s curious pastel-coloured and tactile sculptures. On the other hand Jeff Koon’s Glitterball Jesus and Hauser & Wirth’s Bronze Age pseudo museum display failed to inspire.
So, will we go back next year? Of course we will – and we’re looking forward to it already!
akickupthearts were guests of Frieze London
For more information visit www.frieze.com
4 November 2014 § Leave a comment
Visiting one of the big art fairs, such as Frieze or art Basel, it is quickly self-evident that many of those visiting are not always particularly interested in the art. Naturally many are, but around this highly moneyed core orbit the people-watchers, hangers-on and parasites in a desperate see-and-be-seen dance, different groups each with their own specific agenda.
“The big collectors try to get in and out before anyone buys what they are after and certainly before the hoi polloi gets to look. And then you’ve got people who are just there for the social scene. So you have people texting or not paying any attention at all. It is as if the art is not there, or that they think it has no effect on them. But when you stop the moment you can see this weird world that is taking place” say Fischl
It is this world – which he usually desperately avoids – to which Eric Fischl has most recently turned a keenly tuned eye. As a starting point he took hundreds of photographs from which he selected, before editing and manipulating in Photoshop to construct an image to ultimately translate into paint.
As the series has grown so has the complexity of the resonances of the images, individually and in relation to each other. The paintings are a sharp social satire as much as they are a loving tribute to the world the artist knows best: the international art scene.
A keen observer of the relationships between people, and between people and their surroundings Fischl here demonstrates his acute observation of body language and the small details that reflect social relationships. Art fairs are notoriously busy, and these paintings give a sense of the energy and bustle as visitors move amongst the stands, apparently giving as much attention to each other – and to their mobile phones – as to the artworks on display.
Fischl has described this effect: “The space in these paintings is collapsed, cluttered, irrational and aggressive. Those depicted in the scenes seem oblivious to the mania of their condition. What I’ve discovered as I moved into this work is the essentially abstract nature of the art fair spaces. They are nearly cubistic in their flatness and their jarring collaged constructions. Layers of consciousness on top of layers of cross-purposes.”.
Also on show in Victoria Miro’s downstairs gallery are new works from the excellent Wangechi Mutu.
For more information on bothe exhibitions visit http://www.victoria-miro.com/exhibitions/current
18 October 2012 § Leave a comment
Another uninspiring Frieze his year. I suppose that once the art world has – like every year – built it up to be the London event of the year there is only one result: some degree of disappointment. Despite this Frieze of course remains the best UK contemporary art fair and a must visit to try at catch a whiff of the zeitgeist of the contemporary art market. Here are a few of the things that caught our eye this year. No particular reason. No particular order. No analyses of who sold what. And most definitely no ‘who was seen where’ nonsense.
A melting Paul McCarthy White Snow Head at Hauser & Wirth.
A Gavin Turk neon door.
Julian Opie‘s rather neat sculptures – and a mosaic.
One of a few large and impressive Wolfgang Tillmans images.
Something made of some substance made by somebody South American (I think?)
And outside, in the rain a pretty Yayoi Kusama from Victoria Miro.
11 April 2011 § 2 Comments
I enjoyed the sunny weather in the garden this morning with the latest copy of Frieze. I also took along with me this month’s Empire as back-up just in case the ‘Design and Architecture issue’ became too heavy going – which inevitably it did.
Interestingly I closed Frieze at Grand Theft Auto where Christopher Bedford looks at the way (chiefly) car advertising borrows from contemporary art. Not only do their graphics steal from artists (witness Honda ZDX’s theft of Protrude, Flow from Kodama & Takeno and IBM’s of Mehretu) but they use gallery style presentation to create and enhance value and just as galleries seek to produce reverential spaces where essentially value-less objects can be seen as having prestige and actual value, so the advertisers are using these very same environments to create value systems for supposed technological advancements for their latest models. Kinetic installations in uber-cool surroundings; the aesthetic values of the art gallery spaces used as a ready-made marketing formula.
Opening Empire I found myself at The Rise & Fall & Rise & Fall of Charlie Sheen – the latest installment of the car crash that is Charlie Sheen (except of course he is not – he is actually Carlos Estevez). This is the man who recently stated that ‘I am on a drug. It’s called Charlie Sheen. It’s not available. If you try it once you will die. Your face will melt off and your children will weep over your exploded body.’
A quote from Jim Abrahams from 20th Century Fox concludes the article: ‘It’s almost a completely unique piece of performance art. I think that’s the really interesting thing. Some guy going though a hard time, that’s not news – but he’s transformed this in to something else.’
But how much of what we see of Sheen is ‘real’ – even if his latest tour is called ‘The Violent Torpedo of Truth’? Before his most recent, and most bizarre, appearances – such as a machete-wielding rooftop appearance, drinking from a bottle labelled ‘Tiger’s Blood’ – he had signed up for a $1m promo deal with Ad.ly and another with Live Nation. Performance art, PR, product placement and personal breakdown all rolled in to one?
Are we living in a society where the boundaries between art and life, marketing and PR are rapidly ceasing to exist? Is Charlie Sheen really perhaps just a Joseph Beuys or Ana Mendieta for the modern age? In a modern day environment where we are told that Emin’s unmade bed, Creed’s on and off light or Phillipz’s subterranean warblings are all art how will we be expected to discern the difference between anything at all in the increasingly confused and media dominated world of the future? Will we want to? And will anyone care?
14 December 2010 § Leave a comment
Ida Ekblad is a young Norwegian artist who, despite being based in Oslo seems to manage to pop up all over the shop. Last year she had no less than nine solo exhibitions covering seven countries, and was involved in a similar number of group shows that also included multi-media collaborations. This year has been almost as frenetic and one somehow doubts that her obvious enthusiasm will wane next year either.
Her first solo show in Paris in 2009 received a strong review from David Lewis in Frieze magazine who raved ‘it is not every day that one comes across so expansive a talent’ whilst Saatchi likes her enough to have purchased five works, including ‘Drink a Glass…’ (illustrated) which are to appear in the forthcoming ‘Paint’ exhibition (dates tba).
Ekblad’s earlier work combined free and spontaneous painterly gestures with graffiti culture – she is clearly quite at home among popular and street culture. However, without breaking stride she has effortlessly moved through more traditional styles of painting and sculpture.
Her most recent London solo show was at Herald Street this summer, where, as usual she moved freely between expressionistic abstract paintings, multimedia installation and sculpture – moving off the wall, into the room and back again. There is a liberating playfulness in Ekblad’s work in which her artworks perhaps represent a synthesising connection between society and art, past and present and the street and the white cube gallery.
Her work is developing rapidly and her reputation should no doubt grow accordingly. Look out for her next exhibition.
- spotted at frieze – artists to watch (akickupthearts.wordpress.com)
19 October 2010 § Leave a comment
It seems rather superfluous to note that once again that Frieze is the event of the UK art world calendar – but, there you go, I have just done it anyway. The game that everyone plays around the time of the fair is trying to spot the trends. Which artists are up, which are down, who is hottest, who is buying, who is not buying, and so on. It is a game that not only takes place in Frieze itself, but in the, ever-increasing, multiplicity of private views, auctions, exhibitions, parties, openings and satellite fairs that clog up the middle of October.
Amongst other complications dealers and galleries will do their best to confuse the issue by talking up their own artists and increasing their perceived desirability by hanging work that is already sold (or not for sale) or keeping you holding for work that they had already planned to sell elsewhere.
It would take weeks to try to analyse all of the trends and even then, as I have suggested, it is far from clear. What is perhaps easiest to spot is which young artists seem to be on the up. I mention prices, despite a frequent feeling in the art world that it is somehow vulgar to do so. My feeling is that if you have a ‘shop’ and sell objects it is rather pretentious not to. I also note them as a kick up the arts aims to look at investing in art as well as aesthetics – to create a collection, sadly, you need to pay! Revealing my preference for painters and oil, here are my top six:
6. William Daniels. Hardly ’emerging’ but his stock is rising well with a nice selection of paintings selling out at Vilma Gold gallery. Some questions of whether he is a little ‘stuck in a rut’ with his style and subject very much the same over the last few years. Not greatly prolific however, so the market is not flooded. Prices creeping up from a few £k in to the tens.
5. David Smith. Already has had three solo shows in the last four years at the good-at-spotting-upcoming-talent Carl Freedman Gallery just round the corner from White Cube Hoxton. Mesmerising paintings that drip with feeling. All works sold quickly at about £12-14k
4. Simon Fujiwara. You could not help seeing his Frozen ‘intervention’ which you would, almost literally, trip over throughout the Fair. Based on the conceit that the fair was built over a newly-discovered Roman city, mini ‘excavations’ were exposed around the site. One ‘important’ section of the dig even had a resident ‘archaeologist’ busily working with towel, tweezers or magnifying glass on the latest discovery. Priceless.
3. Lesley Vance. Reputable LA gallery David Kordansky devoted a large section of their stand to a display of Vance’s modestly sized abstracts. Working back from photographs of still lifes she creates dense and atmospheric works. Needless to say – all sold at over £10k
2. Jessica Dickinson was exhibited in the Frieze Frame section showcasing young artists. Shown by NY gallery James Fuentes Dickinson’s airy, pastel-coloured abstractions involved layering and reworking to reveal a sense of time or even timelessness. The works reminded me of Makiko Nakimura at the small Albemarle Street Gallery – John Martin – also worth a look . Both must be seen in real life as images fail to show the depth of work. Price of Dickinson £?, Nakamura £3 to 9k.
1. Simon Fullerton. Another Carl Freedman artist who has had a recent solo exhibition at the charitable Chisenhale Gallery space. Fullerton’s enigmatic, undeniably attractive, portraits each have a hidden story. The stories are usually of loss, sadness or exploitation. Just over £12k, and no doubt rising soon, for the portraits.
- Artifacts | Fair Trade-Off: Frieze Week in London (tmagazine.blogs.nytimes.com)
- How to succeed at Frieze (newstatesman.com)
- Frieze week exhibitions round-up, reviews (telegraph.co.uk)
- Art dealers encouraged by early sales at London’s Frieze (cnn.com)
12 October 2010 § Leave a comment
I highly recommend dropping in to SUNDAY this week. With no exclusive preview, no snobbery and no entry charge it is a new art fair that should provide a pleasant change to the big-name, big-ticket FRIEZE fair. SUNDAY’s first outing was in Berlin during the 2010 Gallery Weekend where it was so well received the organisers decided to bring it to London during Frieze week. It is being held at Ambika P3 on Marylebone Road – a 14,000 square foot, triple height subterranean space. Just down the Marylebone Road from Frieze it is also easy to add to your Frieze itinerary.
Organised by three of the participating galleries: Limoncello (London), Croy Neilsen (Berlin) and Tulips and Roses (Brussels) and sponsored by the Zabludowicz Collection, the stated aim of the fair is to provide an easy-going and accessible temporary platform for young galleries to exhibit their artists’ work. An international, gallery-led art fair it will be showing a selection of about twenty young galleries which will be exhibiting work by over 60 international artists.
Refreshingly entry to Sunday is free – compare that to Frieze’s astonishing £25 charge – and talking of refreshment five artists (Fiona Banner, David Batchelor, Liam Gillick, Christian Jankowski and Bob and Roberta Smith) have been asked to design a cocktail for the bar. The artists will be mixing, shaking and serving them for customers at allotted times – I shall look forward to it!
SUNDAY will be open:
Thursday 14th October 12pm – 8pm
Friday 15th October 12pm – 8pm
Saturday 16th October 12pm – 6pm
For more information visit SUNDAY
Among the artists on show will be: Jesse Ash, Edwina Ashton, Francesco Barocco, Michael Bauer, Luca Bertolo, Armin Boehm, Wolfgang Breuer, Sophie Bueno-Boutellier, Liudvikas Buklys, Nicolas Ceccaldi, Kit Craig, Gintaras Didžiapetris, Chris Evans, John Finneran, Zipora Fried, Aurélien Froment, Simon Fujiwara, Ryan Gander, Andy Holden, Judith Hopf, Takaaki Izumi, Jessica Jackson Hutchins, Thomas Kratz, Deborah Ligorio, Anissa Mack, David Mackintosh, Joseph Montgomery, Rosalind Nashashibi, Dominique Petitgand, Riccardo Previdi, Ruth Proctor, Matthew Smith, Jack Strange, Megan Francis Sullivan, The Hut Project, Richard Wilson, Richard Woods and Katarina Zdjelar.
Independent contemporary bookshop and publisher Aye Aye Books (Glasgow) and publishing house Archive Books (Berlin) will also be there as will the Zabludowicz Collection who will present a selection from their limited edition sculptures, photographs and prints.
- Frieze week in London: gallery spaces are blossoming (telegraph.co.uk)
- Art market news for Frieze week (telegraph.co.uk)
- Frieze Art Fair 2010: Get ready for British art’s biggest week (independent.co.uk)
19 August 2010 § Leave a comment
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There is litle need to introduce Frieze – now firmly established as the premier art fair in the London calendar – the 2010 Fair should be inked in to your calendar for the 13 – 16 October. However, year on year an increasing number of events are piggy-backing on the fair looking to take advantage of the temporary influx of potential buyers. Last year’s satellite Zoo Art Fair is not taking place this year clearing the field for these new entrants. Here is what we know:
Deep down in the bowels of the University of Westminster the subterranean Ambika P3 is hosting Sunday (14 – 16 October), a fair for young international galleries. It is being organised by London gallery Limoncello, the Brussels-based Tulips & Roses and Croy Nielsen from Berlin and will feature about twenty galleries, some of which appeared in the Frame section in last years Frieze which hosted galleries under six years old. Initially launched as a one-day event in Berlin it here seems to be a competitor to the Frieze ‘Frame’ section for solo shows from young galleries. Henrikke Nielsen of co-organiser Croy Nielsen Gallery notes that “Frame does not have the capacity. The focus in London will be more international, with galleries from New York “. Participants are selected on an invite-only basis. The low-cost has parallels with the Independent fair held during the NY Armory Show. Nielsen says “There are similarities, such as having open stands, but Independent is a bigger project.”
Over at Christies in South Kensington they are taking advantage of the move of the October Contemporary sale’s move to King Street by launching Multiplied – ‘an exciting new fair in the field of contemporary art’. The fair will be held 15-18th October ‘providing a platform to promote emerging talent in two and three-dimensional contemporary editions’. According to Richard Lloyd, Head of Christie’s Print department, when he attended the Editions and Artist’s Book Fair in New York last winter: “I was inspired to stage something similar in London and help to create a buzz and a platform for the very best in contemporary publishing”. He states that Christie’s are not taking any percentage of the sales; stands are competitively priced and fair entry to is free.
To assuage worries that they are in true competetion to the dealers at Frieze he adds “Previous divisions between the primary and secondary market are no longer particularly relevant. There will be no direct competition between participating galleries and Christie’s. Only five to ten per cent of what will be on show at the fair would have come up for sale at a Christie’s auction.” He says that “We will benefit simply from people visiting South Kensington. It is now a great space in which to view contemporary art, and we want people to feel comfortable just dropping in to see what’s on.”
Despite his comments Christie’s action is sure to put the backs up of the dealers at Frieze who will feel that they are, since buying Haunch of Venison, further intruding on dealer’s traditional ground.
Meanwhile, way over east at Village Underground there is a new urban art event, the Moniker International Art Fair (14-17 October). The fair ‘highlights the work of a generation of artists often overlooked in British mainstream fairs. These artists, extensively collected transcend various genres, readily exploring high and low aspects of visual language.’
Their spokesman says “The event will consist of six international galleries and six project spaces showcasing individual artists that will reflect the finer side of urban art with artists who have shown in major institutions and galleries.” Participants include New Image Art of Los Angeles and Galleria Patricia Armocida of Milan and admission is free.
There will be other smaller events and gallery tie-ins. Last year the wonderful Museum of Everything had a great pop-up exhibition – no doubt there will be more initiatives from the galleries year yet to be anounced… I will keep my ear to the ground and letyou know in due course!