Frieze is all over again, leaving just patches of yellowed grass and crumpled fluro pink/white litter to show it ever existed. It was downsized this year which made it a more manageable experience, more akin to going to Sainsbury’s than Ikea, as it was in the past. No doubt there were fewer works per pound for those that paid the £32 to enter but I’d be surprised if many people complained there hadn’t been enough to look at. If only because mirrored works were everywhere this year, adding to the amount of movement catching your eye.
Less desperate selfie bait this time too, although full walls of colour abounded, less artwork more backdrop for the euro-gorgeous in town to photograph themselves against. The projects were great as always – My mate Fred Gehrig activating Franz Erhard Walther's art works from the 60s at the Parisian gallery Joyclin Wolff was a breath of fresh air and I was sorry to miss Adam Linder at Silberkuppe in L5. As I peered into an empty booth on Saturday afternoon a staff member apologetically explained that they had finished because they were ‘really tired’. It sounded great though, a critic wandered around the fair making comments that were then translated into modern dance. I was lucky enough to get a bonus level of slippage as the modern dance was then described by an exhausted employee.
There was a nail bar of course, where a shattered, but very friendly nail technician would apply an advert for some gallery or other to your pinkie. A few works that took me by surprise that I rather liked: Gilbert and George’s Cycle picture, with laughing gas canisters as the new gingko leaves/turds of yore, attracted my attention. But maybe that’s because I ride a bicycle and I thought I might be in it. I also like the Pumas by Christoph Büchel hung on the Hauser and Wirth sign. Simple but strong. No one fucks with the branding.
I really liked wandering around in the sculpture garden. However, when pushed I had trouble picking out a standout work and had to concede that perhaps I just liked wandering around in a garden, and there were some sculpture there. A statue of a guy with his trousers down by Reza Aramesh and a crime scene by Harland Miller were satisfying though and everyone was having fun – all very instagramable, and free too.
I hear Freize Masters was fantastic but I still can’t get over the admin of it all. How do they climate control a tent? What kind of security do you need to get insurance? They’ve got Bacons, they’ve got Rembrandts; in a Tent! Private security firms are rubbish, look at the Olympics, they had to get the Army in. How could Frieze do this without bringing in the Army to protect it all? Who else could be trusted to do this properly? Surely this is the perfect target for a Master Criminal, with a tunnel digger or some chinooks?
Meanwhile back at Frieze (New Pretenders) they ask to look in your bag as you are leaving to see if you’ve got any ‘small sculptures or pictures’.
The 1:54 African Art Fair was a lovely event. There was dancing and it was in Somerset House, which is a superb venue for an art fair – a bit like when the Saatchi Gallery was in the London County Hall. And if you thought you were missing something the other half was just over the other side of the square, a brief jog through a fountain / drizzle and you were there. Fayçal Baghriche’s work stood out and there were beautiful masks made from petrol containers by Romuald Hazoumé. I love masks made from petrol containers.