‘August 6, 1945’ by Matthew Day Jackson at Hauser & Wirth
‘Crush’ by Andra Ursuta at the Ramiken Crucible gallery in the Frame area of Frieze
The Box Gallery from LA reignites the work of Judith Bernstein
‘Norman Foster’ by Xavier Veilhan at the Galerie Perrotin stand
Elmgreen & Dragset’s untitled piece suggests a woman in a morgue
Untitled by Ahmed Alsoudani, on show at the Haunch of Venison in Mayfair
The White Cube chose Frieze week to launch its third London gallery in a 1970s warehouse on Bermondsey Street. Retrofitted by Casper Mueller Kneer Architects, the building’s 780sq m South Galleries opens with ‘Structure & Absence’, a group show that uses the Chinese concept of a scholar’s rock as a motif. It features several veterans of White Cube and Frieze alike: Andreas Gursky, Brice Marden, Sterling Ruby, Gabriel Orozco and Damien Hirst
Photography by Ben Westoby, courtesy of White Cube
- ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT
- October 14, 2011
All’s Fair in London
Artists, collectors, critics, curators and dealers have descended on London through Sunday to take part in the seventh annual Frieze Art Fair (www.friezeartfair.com), a key marketplace for contemporary art globally, with 173 galleries from 33 countries, showcasing more than 1,000 artists. Frieze’s success has inspired an autumn art jamboree throughout the city, stimulating satellite fairs, auction sales and shows in other galleries.
Started in 2003 by Frieze Magazine editors Matthew Slotover and Amanda Sharp to sell contemporary art to a growing cohort of international collectors, fair participants are vetted by a committee of their peers to attract blue-chip galleries, as well as a high-spending, contemporary-art-loving audience. “We provide a focused contemporary art fair—that is our appeal,” Ms. Sharp says.
Almost since its inception, Frieze stole contemporary thunder from those old ladies of the art market—Tefaf in Maastricht, strongest in Old Masters and antiques, and Art Basel, which spans both modern and contemporary. The appeal of Frieze, says art consultant Tanya Gertik, is “the energy and the buzz. It’s very sociable.”
Since Frieze first opened, international art fairs, alongside their cousins—the biennials—have proliferated: Art Basel spawned Art Basel Miami Beach, which then generated Design Miami and, in turn, Design Miami Basel, set up to achieve the same market intensification for contemporary design that the mother fair had achieved for art. Older fairs, like Art Chicago and the Grosvenor House Art & Antiques Fair, have ceded some priority to newer fairs, such as Art Hong Kong and Masterpiece London.
But some collectors find the blockbuster model overwhelming, preferring a more intimate environment. “The minute a fair gets too large, the enjoyment goes out of it,” Ms. Gertik says. Bernard Hartogs, a collector of art and design, adds: “I don’t go to Frieze. It’s too big.” This is one reason why Frieze Week has also, quietly, become PAD week.
It was in 2007 that DesignArt first opened in Hanover Square, with just 19 galleries. Hoping to benefit from the seasonal delirium, French antique dealer Patrick Perrin and modern- and contemporary-art specialist Stéphane Custot, the founders of the successful Pavillon des Arts et du Design in Paris, launched a complementary fair to Frieze, offering one-off and limited-edition contemporary design mixed in with classic European modern design. A year later, the fair was offered Berkeley Square, a prime location, and the charmingly Continental mix of decorative arts, with modern and contemporary design, began to gel. By 2009, the duo felt confident enough to introduce modern art to the mix, experimenting in London with the formula pioneered in Paris. The renamed Pavilion of Art & Design London would invite galleries who specialized in fine art, decorative art or design that post-dated 1860—made after the advent of industrial mass manufacture, but without the contemporary art that is so well served in Regent’s Park.
Running through Sunday, PAD (www.padlondon.net), is small and selective, with only 58 galleries. The genial mix of art, design and fine craft—Cristina Grajales’s stand this week offers two striking cabinets by Christophe Côme and Sebastian Errazuriz, while Jousse Entreprise has a classic Jean Royère sofa—promotes a way of living with art as much as the buying of it.
Gérard Faggionato of Faggionato Fine Arts in London, says PAD “is comfortable, and people come back two or three times during the week.”
Like Frieze, PAD doesn’t issue an overall statement of sales, arguing that since sales often aren’t concluded until months after the event, such statistics are misleading. Instead, it points you to the quality of the exhibits. Andrew Duncanson from Modernity has rare pieces by Alvar Aalto; Todd Merrill, an outstanding 3.5-meter sculpture of a dandelion (circa 1960) by Harry Bertoia; and Bernard Jacobson, some magnificent Robert Motherwell canvases. “The material is very good,” Julian Treager, a collector of fine art, design and jewelry says. “Last year, I bought a vintage Cartier necklace from the 1970s. The year before, some pieces by Studio Job from Carpenters Workshop Gallery.”
For the past five years, these two very different fairs have flourished in a finely balanced symbiosis. Next year, however, things are set to change when Frieze launches Frieze Masters, a second fair that will partly encroach on PAD’s territory by exhibiting works of art from antiquity through 2000. Frieze Masters will occupy a marquee specially designed by New York art-space specialist Annabelle Selldorf, on the other side of Regent’s Park from the contemporary fair, with its own program of events. Ms. Sharp explains that they are “bringing a contemporary approach to historical art—we will bring this art to new audiences.” This initiative has been inspired by her recognition that “the past is present in every decision contemporary artists make. This is an opportunity to explore those connections more imaginatively.” Meanwhile, in May, Frieze hopes to recreate its London achievement in New York, with a contemporary fair on Randall’s Island Park, overlooking the East River.
PAD, however, remains unintimidated. Full of confidence in their concept, and with a line-up of loyal galleries, PAD too is launching a New York edition, Nov. 11-13. As Frieze and PAD continue in full swing, there is competitive tension in the air.
Mr. Perrin hopes his prime location, in Berkeley Square, will keep his modern dealers away from Frieze Masters. “If you bring the right collectors in front of the right booths, the dealers will trust you,” he says, adding that “Frieze had no interest in modern painting. The people from contemporary art have almost no interest in the past.”
by J. J. Charlesworth
October 16, 2011
Frieze Art Fair
Was the lack of booze a sign? Previously on opening night in the big tent, waves of waiters would set out at a given time to distribute a slow flood of Pommery, gradually inebriating a crowd of revelers.
This year change is afoot. After a hard afternoon of strolling the boulevards of the fair, we started to wonder when the sparkling wave would hit us. So it was a shock to notice that bottles of Pom were being quietly distributed to each gallery stand, to be served at the discretion of the dealers. This year then, getting a drink depended on how much a gallerist decided they liked you. The horror of a critic dependent on a gallerist for a free drink!
But to be fair to the fair, rationing the booze was a good move; after all, as various gallerists I spoke to pointed out, opening night in recent years has tended to get a bit messy. And for sure, the more subdued, polite atmosphere this year seemed to demand more seriousness and consideration from the VIP crowd. But turning down the fizz-quota seems to reflect the broader sense of caution and unease in this year’s edition: with economic uncertainty and the threat of a further worldwide recession casting a shadow on the art market, the mood was definitely downbeat.
Money was clearly a preoccupation and not in a good way. One gallerist in the Frame section (the “emerging” gallery section) brooded over the hike in stand fees; and that, combined with the grinding increase in VAT imposed by the government this year, made turning a profit tougher than ever. Throughout the fair, the need to cover costs appeared to determine how gallerists filled their stands. In good years, you tend to see stands with less work, bigger work, or single-artist presentations. This year, however, clutter and density was the rule, with dealers presenting often-smaller works across a greater range of their artists. Large sculpture, apart from the biggest galleries who can still afford to hold sizeable spaces, was notably lacking. And by and large, dealers were playing it safe with the kind of work on offer: swathes of uncontroversial, positive, and colorful paintings and sculptures, easy for collectors to like, gave the fair a weirdly lurid visual buzz, but little punch.
Was it anxiety over sales that gave this year’s fair too much of the pile-it-high trade-fair vibe? Or was it the changes to the layout of the fair? It seems trivial, but the cafés and drink counters, previously located throughout the fair, had been tucked away in separate wings of their own. Not so trivial perhaps, as the same shift out from the main spaces was also imposed on those special artists’ commissions that art fairs nowadays like to indulge in, and which has often been a highlight of a visit to Frieze. Frieze Projects, curated for the second year by London curator Sarah McCrory, seemed this year almost invisible, with the bulk of them either offsite, web-based or shifted into discrete spaces on the periphery of the fair. Pierre Huyghe’s unnervingly dreamlike aquarium, Recollection—with its bemused hermit crab inhabiting a replica of Brancusi’s bronze Sleeping Muse (1910) and creepy spider crabs grazing on Mars-like pinkish rocks—was tucked away in a space behind the restaurant. Meanwhile, at the opposite end of the tent, Peles Empire (Katharina Stoever and Barbara Wolff) put up a vodka bar in a shared space with LuckyPDF (London internet-art hipsters) whose video studio was situated in a dark anteroom.
This only left Christian Jankowski’s bombastic and profoundly stupid The Finest Art on Water to occupy a space alongside the conventional stands. Jankowski’s project consisted of a 10m luxury motor yacht, being sold as a motor yacht, for €500,000. Alternatively, you could also buy it “as a work of art” for an extra €125,000. As far as “critical” gestures go, Jankowski’s insight into the vacuous intangibility of art-value displayed all the fatigued, witless cynicism of an art world now profoundly uncomfortable with the ethics of its relationship to private wealth, yet inertly incapable of doing anything about it. How else, also, to appreciate Michael Landy’s naively raging intervention at Thomas Dane’s stand? Visitors queued to have their credit cards shredded by a Tinguely-like credit card-munching machine, in return for various scrappy drawings by Landy. His bizarrely moralizing obsession with the ascetic rejection of consumer capitalism—at an art fair—seemed like a bad case of having your cake and not eating it.
Ironically, all this whining about the corruption of the art world by money accompanied a bit of belt-tightening when it came to the Frieze Projects and Frieze Talks themselves, with fewer projects and talks than in the last few editions—suggesting a budget cut, or at least a desire not to distract the punters too much from the urgent business of buying stuff, with or without their credit cards. It also starts to throw up the uneasy question of what kind of event Frieze Art Fair really is, especially when one considers that Frieze projects, for example, continues to receive public subsidy to put on artists’ commissions in what is essentially a trade fair for rich collectors, and where the entrance fee for members of the public unlucky enough not to have a VIP pass is now a dissuasive £27.
So the gloss, the glamour, and the fun of the fair have all faded a little. Frieze Art Fair needs to pay the bills and get ready for its leap across the Atlantic for its impending, Armory-busting edition next May in New York. On its Eastern Front, Frieze needs to stave off the increasing threat of the FIAC in Paris—and the danger that some galleries will opt for one over the other: already this year Barbara Gladstone and Friedrich Petzel have opted for FIAC without Frieze—perhaps a sign of things to come. In an art market no longer quite as fizzy and bubbly as before, the days of free-flowing champagne may not be back for some time.
1Frieze Art Fair 2011.
2Pierre Huyghe, Recollection, 2011.
3Peles Empire, Noroc, 2011.
4Live from Frieze Art Fair this is LuckyPDFTV.
5Gagosian, Frieze Art Fair 2011.
6Christian Jankowski, The Finest Art on Water, 2011.
7Marine Hugonnier, Art For Modern Architecture Glr GuardianIranian Revolution/Hostage Crisis, Max Wigram Gallery.
8Michael Landy, Thomas Dane Gallery, 2011.
9Frieze Talks, 2011, Shooting Gallery: The Problems of Photographic Representation. Frieze Talks 2011.
- 1Frieze Art Fair 2011. Photo by Linda Nylind. All images courtesy of Frieze Art Fair.
- 2Pierre Huyghe, Recollection, 2011. Commissioned and produced by Frieze Foundation for Frieze Projects 2011. Frieze Art Fair 2011. Photo by Polly Braden.
- 3Peles Empire, Noroc, 2011. Commissioned and produced by Frieze Foundation for Frieze Projects 2011. Frieze Art Fair 2011. Photo by Polly Braden.
- 4Live from Frieze Art Fair this is LuckyPDFTV. Commissioned and produced by Frieze Foundation for Frieze Projects 2011. Frieze Art Fair 2011. Photo by Polly Braden.
- 5Gagosian, Frieze Art Fair 2011. Photo by Linda Nylind.
- 6Christian Jankowski, The Finest Art on Water, 2011. Commissioned and produced by Frieze Foundation for Frieze Projects 2011. Frieze Art Fair 2011. Photo by Linda Nylind.
- 7Marine Hugonnier, Art For Modern Architecture Glr GuardianIranian Revolution/Hostage Crisis, Max Wigram Gallery. Frieze Art Fair 2011. Photo by Linda Nylind.
- 8Michael Landy, Thomas Dane Gallery, 2011. Frieze Art Fair 2011. Photo by Linda Nylind.
- 9Frieze Talks, 2011, Shooting Gallery: The Problems of Photographic Representation. Frieze Talks 2011. Commissioned and produced by Frieze Foundation for Frieze Projects 2011. Photo by Polly Braden.
October 16th, 2011
Yves Klein all photos by Caroline Claisse for Art Observed
This year marked the 2nd iteration of the House of the Nobleman, a privately sponsored exhibition which took place at the Boswall House, 15,000sqft mansion at 2 Cornwall Terrace, overlooking Regent’s Park and the Frieze 2011 Art Fair. Art Observed was on site for the private viewing. On view were works by Claude Monet, Auguste Rodin, Peter Paul Rubens, Edgar Degas, Max Ernst, Damien Hirst, Marlene Dumas, Yves Klein, Lucio Fontana, Sigmar Polke, Christian Boltanski, Anish Kapoor, Nick Hornby, Matthew Day Jackson, Cecily Brown, Lucian Freud, Peter Fischli and David Weiss, Yayoi Kusama, Robert Longo, Alexander Calder, Eugenia Emets, Francesco Clemente, Salvador Dali, Peter Doig, Olafur Eliasson, George Condo, Takashi Murakami, Hiroshi Sugimoto and Gerhard Richter.
Monet, Claude “ Chemin dans le brouillard”, (1879)
more images after the jump…
Boltanski, Christian “Reliquaire”, (1990)
Shaw, Raqib “Portrait of Dorothea Kannengeisser”, (2008)
Doig, Peter “C+ W (Country and Western)”, (1983)
Hirst, Damien “Who’s Afraid of Red, Yellow and Blue”, (2000). Calder, Alexander “Enseigne de lunettes”, (1976)
(left) Richter, Gerhard “Entwurf fur Grund (Basic Draft)”, (1972)
(right) Ernst, Max “Fleurs sur Fond Vert”, (1928)
Ho Ji Yong, “Wolf 4”, (2007)
Rolf Sachs, Pullus Domesticus (2010)
Bouke de Vries, Like a prayer (2011)
Anish Kapoor, Untitled (circle), (1996)
Stefano Curto “Evolution Involution”, (2011)
House of the Nobleman – Exhibition Site
October 13th, 2011
Doug Aitken, Now (2011) at 303 Gallery NY. All photos for Art Observed by Caroline Claisse.
AO is on site in London for this week’s Frieze Art Fair. With 173 galleries selling an estimated $350 million worth of art, a level of anxiety pervades as the week’s results will be indicative of the overall international contemporary art market. Works like Christian Jankowski’s droll The Finest Art on Water and Michael Landy’s Credit Card Destroying Machine directly comment on the world economic state, while the overall demeanor remains upbeat, with art world moguls and A-list celebrities enjoying the festivities.
Michael Landy’s Credit Card Destroying Machine (2011), Thomas Dane Gallery
More text and images after the jump…
Christian Jankowski, The Finest Art on Water (2011).
Retired fashion designer Valentino was photographed on the smaller of two infamous Christian Jankowski boats. Priced at €65 million while simply a boat, the 204-foot yacht jumps to €75 million once deemed a piece of art—as approved (with certificate) by Jankowski. When the Guardian asked Jankowski how the global recession is impacting art, to which he replied, “I don’t see the effect. I’m not one of the people who ever made much money.” No buyer information has been released thus far.
The Financial Times reports that the Tate team has been buying with its £120,000 budget, seeking mostly familiar artists. Among others, they have acquired works by two important woman artists: the yellow Tumour (1969) by Alina Szapocznikow is a wall-based polyester sculpture in toxic yellow from Broadway 1602 of New York, and a portfolio of Portuguese artist Helena Almeida spans four decades of the artist’s drawings and photographs from Madrid’s Galeria Helga de Alvear.
Iwan Wirth, at Hauser and Wirth
Ida Applebroog Modern Olympia (after giotto) (1997-2001), Louise Bourgeois Untitled (2005) at Hauser and Wirth
Paul McCarthy at Hauser and Wirth
Thomas Houseago, Hermaphrodite (2011). In Regent’s Sculpture Park
Other major sales include the purchase of Haus des Lehrers (2003) by Neo Rauch, sold by David Zwirner to an American collector for $1,350,000. Thomas Houseago has also been selling well, with his sculpture Hermaphrodite (2o11) reported at $425,000 and his Earth Mask II (2011) sold through Hauser & Wirth.
Artist Michael Landy with his Credit Card Destroying Machine (2011), Thomas Dane Gallery
Despite the platform of optimism and glamor, Thomas Dane’s presentation of Michael Landy’s latest work draws attention to the contradiction of this year’s fair. Credit Card Destroying Machine (2011) does what its name suggests: in order to make a drawing, Landy’s odd conglomeration of rickety wires and dead animal heads destroys a credit card. The work on paper is then given freely to the viewer who volunteered a now ruined credit card.
Landy supervised the showcase on Wednesday, telling onlookers that the machine is intentionally “very human”—sometimes it breaks, sometimes it gets caught on things. The analytical and journalistic consensus is that the work speaks to the underlying tension of Frieze this year: although upbeat and enthralling, the financial complications paired with human error are an undeniable, often unspoken presence at the fair. Landy’s work successfully targets the mixed emotions via disseminating sensationalism. The work is on reserve for $189,000.
Tom Dingle, Gallery Director at Thomas Dane of London, confirmed that spirits were high. “I feel no looming dread,” he told AO, “Frieze is always good fun and all our friends are here.”
Pierre Huyghe, Recollection (2011).
Another popular work is Pierre Huyghe’s Recollection (2011). Crowds discussed the hermit crab living inside a Brancusi Muse replica (originally 1910) with adoration and fascination. The work is reminiscent of Brancusi’s work during Art Basel, which was juxtaposed with Richard Serra’s more contemporary black paintings at Fondation Beyeler.
Art dealer Jay Jopling at White Cube booth.
White Cube Bermondsey is the gallery’s third space in London at a very large 58,000 sq ft, with the full site totaling 1.7 acres (74,300 sq ft). Prior to its renovation, the building was a warehouse. Its inaugural exhibition, Structure & Absence, is on view through November 26th, which includes Chinese scholars’ rocks, and comments on the work of living artists Andreas Gursky, Damien Hirst and Gary Hume, among others. At the new space, White Cube includes an auditorium to host lectures and other programs. Founding dealer Jay Jopling was on site at Regent’s Park, speaking animatedly near Damien Hirst’s fresh pastel dot paintings.
Hirst features heavily in this week’s contemporary auction sales, which thus far have proven successful. A standout example is art star Jacob Kassay, whose work exceeded its estimate at Phillips de Pury by $147,000, officially selling at $257,000. Just two years ago, Phillips de Pury had priced him at $8,000, surprising everyone with an actual selling bid of $86,500. Tomorrow at Christie’s, Gerhard Richter’s Kerze, or Candle (1982) has a high estimate of nine million pounds.
Anish Kapoor at Lisson Gallery
Although powerful gallerists traditionally dominate the crowd on site and by reputation, this year was one for the artist and activist. Correspondingly, Art Review announced the 100 most powerful people in the art world, and Chinese artist and activist Ai Weiwei ranked number one, with gallery tycoons Larry Gagosian and Ivan Wirth at numbers 4 and 8. Ai Weiwei’s designation follows his recent release from arrest and detainment by the Chinese government earlier this year.
Asian influence on the fair has been hotly debated by art critics and journalists. The Chinese economy has been largely accepted as a global powerhouse, and so too as an art market one. In 2011, White Cube and Lehmann Maupin both sought to open galleries in East Asia, and Galeri Perrotin and Lehman Maupin continue to seek space. Gagosian Gallery has a showroom in Hong Kong, as inaugurated by Damien Hirst’s diamond-covered baby skull in the Forgotten Promises exhibition. Many of the galleries at Frieze now also show at Art HK in Hong Kong, which was purchased by Art Basel Miami.
Along with the Asian presence, South America stood out as well with works such as Brazilian gallery A Gentil Carioca’s Visiting Portraiture by Laura Lama. For 50 pounds, visitors can purchase a professional ‘makeover’—a portrait of the visitor at a much older age.
Urs Fischer, Untitled (2003), Gagosian Gallery
In a crowd of friends and notables, celebrity sightings were numerous. Musician Gwen Stefani, and models Natalia Vodianova and Elle Macphearson were counted in the crowd alongside collectors like Princess of Sharjah Hoor al-Qasimi, Sir Nicholas Serota of Tate, and the Serpentine Gallery‘s power duo Hans Ulrich Obrist and Julia Peyton-Jones (fresh from talks at Tuesday’s Bidoun Auction).
Ultimately, art, parties, and economic confidence largely diverge. Hesitations at the fair have yet to reveal booming sales results, and while the auction hammer prices are high, this does not fully quell fears. As the fair continues through the weekend, only time will tell.
Elmgreen & Dragset, The Fruit of Knowledge (2001), Victoria Miro Gallery
Art Dealer Thaddaeus Ropac at his booth.
Tony Cragg sculpture, Thaddaeus Ropac Booth
Erwin Wurm, Cajetan (2009), Thaddaeus Ropac Gallery
Antony Gormley at Thaddaeus Ropac
Bice Curiger, curator of the Venice Biennale
Artist Wim Delvoye
Pace Gallery’s Nicola Vassell
Chantal Crousel at her booth
Tacita Dean, More or Less (2011), Marian Goodman Gallery
Anri Sala, No Window No Cry (2010), Marian Goodman Gallery
Tara Donovan at Pace Gallery
Zhang Huan, Tara Donovan and Chuck Close at Pace Gallery
Jonathan Meese, Bortolami Gallery
Will Ryman, Rose (2011), Paul Kasmin Gallery
Jack and Dinos Chapman, The Milk of Human Weakness II and God Does Not Love You O.M.F.G., (both 2011), White Cube
Julian Opie, Modern Tower (2001), Lisson Gallery
Grayson Perry, Map of Truths and Beliefs (2011), Victorian Miro
Ali Banisadr, Time for outrage (2011), Marc Quinn, Shell sculpture (2011), Jason Martin Witch (2008), Jason Martin Witch (2008)
Sadie Coles Gallery
Sarah Lucas, Something Changed Raymond (2000), Sadie Coles Gallery
Tracey Emin, Sex Drawing Syndey Three (2007), Lehmann Maupin
Do Ho Suh, Cause & Effect (2007), Lehmann Maupin
Josiah McElhecny, Crystalline Landscape after hablik and Luckhardt III (2011), Donald Yound Gallery
Donald Yound Gallery
Mark Handforth, Coat Hanger (2010), Gavin Brown’s Enterprise
Nate Van Woert, Not Yet Titled 7 (2011), Galerie Yvon Lambert
Lehmann Maupin Gallery
Tracey Emin, And I Said I Love You! (2010), Lehmann Maupin
François Ghebaly Gallery LA
Darren Lago, Mickey de Balzac (grand) (2009-2011)
Darren Almond, Perfect Time 8×7 (2011), Matthew Marks Gallery
Paul Simon Richards for Live from Frieze Art Fair this is LuckyPDFTV. Photo by Polly Braden. Courtesy of Polly Braden/ Frieze
As many of you probably know, i love contemporary art fairs. Yes, it’s pure porn art and there’s too much to see, most of which is quite frankly bad. But there are good surprises as well and i don’t mind spending hours in front of painted horrors if at some point i stumble upon a piece that will move me. I’m that easy. Besides, art fairs expose me to works and artists i would otherwise never have accepted to look at.
That’s how in mid-October i found myself in Regent’s Park, London, clutching my hard earned press pass (did they make bloggers sweat to get an accreditation!), expecting to be blown away. Year after year, i had read about the Frieze art fair in mags and newspapers. It looked extravagant and fearless. It looked like an art fair i would enjoy.
Alas! What the 173 galleries exhibited inside the gigantic pavilion was a bit uneventful.
Maybe the euro crisis had compelled gallery owners to be cautious and somewhat conservative in their selection of art works. Maybe my expectations were too high. I walked from corridor desperate for some excitement to photograph.
I was keen to see Pierre Huyghe’s crab living inside a Brancusi head but i never managed to locate it. I didn’t manage to miss Christian Jankowski’s 65-metre yacht though. Made by a specialist boat builder, the luxury ship could be purchased at the merchant’s prize for €500,000. Or for €625,000 if you fancied having the artist sign it. The references were obvious (Duchamp, financial crisis, bling culture, etc.), the whole point not so much.
Of course it wasn’t all pain and gloom. The PM3 of the talks are online, there was Nathalie Djurberg! there was Nathalie Djurberg!, i ended up in The Guardian (albeit in a photo gallery showing people who confuse art fairs with fashion shows) and i did find works that make this post worthy of a quick scroll down:
Michael Landy, Credit Card Destroying Machine, 2010 (Thomas Dane gallery). Photo by Linda Nylind. Courtesy of Frieze/ Linda Nylind
Michael Landy was showing a Tinguely-inspired eccentricity that shred your credit card in exchange of a drawing by the artist. You might remember that 10 years ago Landy spent 2 weeks destroying all of his worldly possession in an empty store on Oxford Street.
Over some 20 years, street photographer Igor Moukhin chronicled rallies and protest marches across Russia.
Igor Moukhin, Resistance (XL gallery)
Seb Patane, Untitled, 2011 (China Art Objects Galleries)
Brian Griffiths, Bear Work Wear (black), 2011 (Vilma Gold gallery)
As i screamed earlier, there was Nathalie Djurberg! there was Nathalie Djurberg!
Nathalie Djurberg, Woods, Gio Marconi. Photo by Linda Nylind. Courtesy of Linda Nylind/ Frieze
Nathalie Djurberg, Woods, Gio Marconi. Photo by Linda Nylind. Courtesy of Linda Nylind/ Frieze
Nathalie Djurberg, Woods, Gio Marconi. Photo by Linda Nylind. Courtesy of Linda Nylind/ Frieze
In Encounter(s), Tejal Shah collaborated with artist Varsha Nair. Wearing a straightjacket, outstretching their bodies, they wrapped themselves around pilars, across stairs, through gates and against other pieces of architecture. The work amplifies the paradox of our highly networked reality wherein technology variously connects, only to ironically distance us.
Tejal Shah, Encounter(s), 2006
Marina Abramovic, The Levitation of Saint Teresa, 2010 (Lisson Gallery)
Probably my favourite painting at the fair:
Miriam Cahn, Herumstehen, 2005 (Elizabeth Dee gallery)
In case you were wondering ‘how much does the work below cost?’, i found some figures online: In Frame, the section in the fair for young galleries showing solo artist presentations supported for a second year by Cos, sales were also substantial. François Ghebaly sold out their Patrick Jackson booth, selling Dirt Pile on Table (roots&glass) (2011) priced at $9,000; two versions of Heads, hands and feet (2011) for $15,000 and 3 dirt pile sculpture for $20,000 all to significant international collectors.
Patrick Jackson, Head, Hands and Feet (black) + Head, Hands and Feet (red), 2011 (François Ghebaly Gallery)
Wolfgang Tillmans. Faltenwurf (Grey), 2011 (Galerie Chantal Crousel)
Dawn Mellor, South African Gallerist Kristen Scott Thomas is showing neo-institutional critique works by Zurich based artist Chaz Bono, 2011 (Team Gallery)
Ken Okiishi, Manhattan Transfer (Alex Zachary gallery)
Tobias Zielony, Yet Untitled (#14), 2009 (KOW Berlin)
Tobias Zielony, Powwow, 2009 (KOW Berlin)
Alex Hartley (of the Nowherisland fame) was showing what looked like a photo of the Unabomber cabin. Close (very close) inspection revealed that it was a sculpture with the architectural model carved and built into the photography of the landscape itself. The series is on show at Victoria Miro this Winter.
Alex Hartley, Waiting for Daylight to End (Kaczynski Cabin), 2011
Cinthia Marcelle, O Cosmopolita, 2011
This is the billy-goat costume that Paweł Althamer wore to travel the world on the footsteps of a Polish children’s-book character.
Pawel Althamer, The Billy-Goat, 2011
Glenn Ligon, Negro Sunshine, 2006
No art fair is conceivable without at least one work from Elmgreen and Dragset (i spotted 3 at Frieze):
Elmgreen and Dragset, The Fruit of Knowlege, 2011
Taryn Simon, The Wailing Wall, Mini Israel, Latrun, 2007
Cornelia Parker, 30 Pieces of Silver (with reflection), Frith Street Gallery
Matthew Brannon (Casey Kaplan Gallery)
Oleg Kulik, Kulik vs. Koraz, 1997 (XL gallery)
Sorry i have no title nor author for the following works:
Photo on the homepage: Paul Simon Richards for Live from Frieze Art Fair this is LuckyPDFTV. Photo by Polly Braden. Courtesy of Polly Braden/ Frieze.
FINANCIAL TIMES LONDON
Five-day event will showcase $350m worth of art displayed by 173 galleries
London’s Frieze Art Fair opened its doors to VIP guests on Wednesday in an optimistic mood, defiantly showcasing the beautiful, the bohemian and the bizarre despite the volatility in world markets and concerns over the impact on the art world.
High-profile collectors and celebrities such as Russian entrepreneur Evgeny Lebedev and model Elle Macpherson gathered in Regent’s Park at London’s leading fair for the sale of contemporary art, which traditionally sees millions of pounds change hands.
This market has enjoyed several years of strong growth, especially at the top end, but amid global economic uncertainty and in the wake of a few weak London auctions last week, dealers are anxious to see if sales of contemporary art will hold up.“The market feels sound. For people who have accumulated wealth contemporary art is, in a way, one of the most sophisticated ways of enjoying it…But people do say that the middle part of the market is suffering,” said Nicholas Logsdail, owner of London’s Lisson Gallery, which made five sales in the first three hours.
The White Cube gallery reported brisk trade, selling Antony Gormley’s “Spy”, a rusted steel standing figure, for £300,000 as well as Andreas Gursky’s “Cocoon II” for €600,000. An untitled 2011 painting by Mark Bradford also sold for $400,000. New York’s David Zwirner Gallery, meanwhile, sold a 2003 work by the German painter Neo Rauch for $1.35m to a US collector.
Hiscox, the insurers, have estimated that the five-day event will showcase $350m worth of art, $25m less than last year, displayed by 173 galleries from all round the world, including dealers from Colombia, Peru and Argentina for the first time. As in previous years, the fair also includes a sculpture park.
Many of the pieces on display use the internet and social networking to examine the role of information. A project by the German artist Oliver Laric will exist online only – he is filming the fair and creating an archive of slow-motion footage.
Matthew Slotover, co-founder of Frieze, said: “More galleries applied than ever before to take part. When the markets turned down in August we were worried but good art always sells. This is about getting quality works through the door.”
Laurence Tuhey, associate director of the Timothy Taylor Gallery, said there had been significant interest in the New York-based artist Kiki Smith. Her stained glass piece “A Behold” sold in the afternoon for $125,000. “We had expected doom and gloom but the energy at the start of the fair was really good,” he said.
Among the more experimental pieces of art on display yesterday included Beijing artist Liu Wei’s video installation called “The 400 Blows” in which 400 men pull down their trousers and show their bottoms to the camera. French artist Pierre Huyghe created an aquarium featuring a hermit crab
The fair’s “Frame” section, dedicated to young galleries displaying solo artists, was bigger than in previous years. “This is the younger more experimental side of the market. But the work sells if the work is good,” said Francois Ghebaly, owner of the Ghebaly gallery.
Mr Ghebaly was displaying American artist Patrick Jackson’s work. Within two hours he had sold Mr Jackson’s “dirt piles” – tables piled with dung-like dirt, for $9,000.
Auctions at Sotheby’s Christie’s, Bonhams and Phillips de Pury will be held at the end of “Frieze Week” including Bonhams’ first “Contemporary One” sale on Thursday.
“People are generally quite nervous in the contemporary art market after the collapse of Lehman’s when the market fell off a cliff. That could easily happen again,” said Robert Read, fine art expert at specialist art insurer Hiscox.
“There is a hell of a lot of cash held by the uber wealthy that is looking for a home to go to. There are not that many investment opportunities generally at the moment. So the purchasing power is there but whether they will be tempted by the contemporary art market is another matter.”
Stefan Ratibor, director of the Gagosian gallery, which sold seven pieces in the first three hours said: “Sometimes we sell more sometimes we sell less but it is really too early to comment on the state of the market. We need to wait and see what happens in the auctions at the end of the week.”
The Frieze Art Fair takes place each October in central London, under a very big tent in Regent’s Park. The 2011 edition, the fair’s ninth, accommodated 173 galleries, and from the Oct. 12 VIP preview through the Oct. 16 close, 60,000 visitors passed through. It’s anyone’s guess how much money changed hands — with those numbers, presumably quite a lot. Despite the sinking global economy, there is money for art in London. There is also art for money.
What a difference a decade makes. Landy brought a new, more Tinguely-like machine to London dealer Thomas Dane’s stand at Frieze. This crowd-pleaser, a 12-foot-tall assemblage of saws, animal skulls, hand puppets and countless gears, destroyed credit cards proffered by game collectors. In return, each received a drawing in marker made on the spot by the same machine, but signed by the artist. (The machine was priced at $189,000. No word on any takers.)
Jankowski’s readymade sculpture was even more absurd. One of nine commissions for Frieze Projects, a nonprofit (ha!) program curated by the Frieze Foundation’s Sarah McCrory, it was actually an Aquariva Cento speedboat that was dry-docked beside the model of a Ferretti super-yacht, the kind super-rich collectors parked in front of the Giardini during opening week of the current Venice Biennale — Jankowski’s inspiration for the project.
Both boats were for sale, either as personal sailing vessels or as Christian Jankowski artworks — lusting collectors had their choice. (For the speedboat, the price was £500,000; as an artwork, it went up to £650,000. The built-to-order yacht was going for €65 million; as a certified Jankowski, it would cost €75 million.)
A salesman from Ferretti, trained by the artist, was on hand to make the pitch either way. “Only by completing the deal does the artwork exist,” Jankowski said. At this writing, it is still a boat. And Frieze is still a marketplace, though I did appreciate the attempt to provide commentary and context for the fair’s vast expanse of art merchandise. And humor is always welcome when serious money is afloat.
Still, salesmanship is the name of the game at an art fair, where the best art is the art that sells itself. Evidently, that was the case at the front-and-center Gagosian Gallery stand, which was wrapped in posters gathered by Franz West. The artist was also represented by a pink, raised-finger bronze, a smaller version of the one he made for Venice. It sold early on, as did a Dan Colen painting that featured a supermarket cart and went for a good six figures.
Dealers trade in information, and like everyone else, I went not just to look at art but to talk about it. Conversation is what rules an art fair, which is just another word for social networking, allowing people who might envy or despise each other in normal circumstances to bond over art. The passion grows in the aisles and spreads via daily after-fair dinners and inebriating parties, where the discussion continues, and deals are consummated, alliances are created, and opportunities for further discussion crop up.
Talk, as the one of the Sunday papers would note, is the new art form, and London was full of it. The fair hosted its own series of artist conversations, while at the ICA, Paul Chan had a face-off with Museum Ludwig director Kasper Koenig. Artist and filmmaker Duncan Campbell appeared at Hotel Gallery’s new Herald Street space (Wolfgang Tillmans‘ former studio) for a discussion of European economic theory with author John Lanchester that was as stimulating as Campbell’s postcard-based film about German economist Hans Tietmeyer was engrossing.
And at the Serpentine Gallery, co-director Hans Ulrich Obrist hosted his annual Frieze weekend marathon, an avant-garde variety show of brief lectures and performances. It really should be televised, though I’m not sure that Rodney Graham‘s lobbing of potatoes at a gong would be as edifying on the small screen as it was in person.
In fact, what Frieze has going for it is London, where exhibitions in museums and nonprofit spaces opening at the same time lend some welcome depth to the homogenizing effect of sheer commerce.
If I had been a buyer at Frieze, I might have gone for an untitled abstract painting by Glaswegian Cathy Wilkes, a beauty that The Modern Institute sold easily for £15,000. I also liked Ryan Gander‘s Self-Portrait, a spread of palette-like glass discs bearing paint smears, that Lisson Gallery sold for £60,000.
No such issues came up at Hollybush Gardens’ booth, where a long scroll of cheap paper marked with council-flat coal dust by Knut Henrikson was selling to DIY-minded collectors who relished the chance to recreate it themselves as soon as the paper disintegrated.
That and the Landy and Jankowski gestures aside, however, daring was not in the fair’s character. Not that it ever can be when the stakes are high, though that seems all the more reason for dealers to be bold.
But who cares about prices when there are discoveries to be made? That was the draw for the Sunday fair, Oct. 13-16, 2011, an unpretentious satellite show of 20 young galleries organized by Limoncello Gallery director Rebecca May Marston. As the fair was located in the bowels of a university basement, finding it alone was an adventure. Inside, its open plan strongly resembled New York’s Independent fair, with overlapping presentations and friendly young dealers eager to do the required duty — talk about the art.
But what brought it all back home were the four elevating gouaches of plastic bottles and glassware by Allyson Vieria offered by Lower East Side dealer Laurel Gitlen. For me, they were the art highlight of the week, exciting enough to make me wish for $4,500 to burn.
Just goes to show: when it’s truth and beauty you want, look first in your own backyard. Come May, that’s where Frieze reappears next — on Randall’s Island in the East River. How well it makes the transfer to the shores of New York is open to question.
LINDA YABLONSKY is an art critic who writes for Artforum.com, the Art Newspaper, T: The New York Times Style Magazine, W and other publications.