Nationalities from the four corners of the globe descended. 60,000 bodies were anticipated to gravitate towards a national treasure between Wednesday and Sunday. It was that time again, the phenomenon of Frieze Week hit town. Glamourous parties, dosh and more arty talk than you can shake a stick at.
In it's eighth season, it's hard to believe that we ever lived without the whirlwind of auctions and exhibitions that has gained legendary status globally, and in such a small amount of time. The progression of Matthew Slotolver and Amanda Sharps monthly art magazine has really transformed the mark London has on art; and now the event encapsulates the global nature of the market, from which it has derived such strength.
With 2010's Frieze being the largest yet, 173 galleries and 29 countries set up stall in the bespoke temporary structure in Regent’s Park, the fair is now firmly established, despite rocky times, and is considered to be an unmissable stop-off between Basel and Miami on the global art calendar.
This years focus was about consolidating the fair's unique reputation as a creative hub, as well as important market place. Alistar hicks, curator at Deutshe bank noted, 'London needs this vital injection of new art from around the world. The city's sucess lies in its ability to be one of the great showcases of what's new. We can take nothing for granted. The artists are showing us how quickly the world is changing. Today's hudcan be tomorrows heap'.
Keeping up with the art world Joneses, Frieze introduced its own, free, i-Phone app. Allowing visitors to navigate the area, browse items for sale, by size and price, even pointing out the closest bar. Moreover, in the attempt to impress the greenest of art fans, the event bid to cut emissions by 30 per cent, running the marquees on biodiesel, despite grumbles by insiders that suits would smell of chip fat.
Interactive art was another subtle theme for the week, including a game showww with Spartacus Chetwynd, and poetry and Yoga Haven with Ei Arakawa and Karl Holmqvist. Playing on the idea of art as a commodity, Matthew Darbyshire redesigned the ticket office in lurid pink, a statement act topped only by Gavin Turks bicycles designed for weary walkers at the fair.
With around £230 million worth of art sales estimated to have been made at Frieze, the market appears to be flourishing and buoyant. This stand out fair has captured the attention of press and art dealers world wide. In my opinion this is for 2 reasons; Regents park as a location benefits from having a natural light source which avoids the atmosphere of a trade show, increasing the energy surrounding the event, and, arguably, more importantly, this year at Ryans bar (run by artist Ryan Gander), one could sup a cocktail invented and mixed by art sensations Fiona Banner, Bob & Roberta Smith and Liam Gillik, which proves, that whatever reasons one had to attend, there was art to be found to suit all tastes, and wallets.
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