Just like every October, the global art circus gathers also this year in London for the 10th edition of Frieze Art Fair.
There is an interesting development: Earlier this year, Frieze launched Frieze New York and now they have a second tent at Regent’s Park: ‘Frieze Masters’ with all sorts of art and antiques from Stone Age up to the year 2000.
Frieze Masters looks a lot like the elegant TEFAF in Maastricht, but without the flower decoration. Due to a rigid vetting committee the quality of the works at Frieze Masters was very high and quite comparable to TEFAF.
Clearly, Frieze wants to encourage the cross selling of older art to contemporary collectors. For years, many of these antiques dealers looked with envy at the high price increases of contemporary art. I think a collector of contemporary art is likely to buy a modern classic, like a Calder, rather then a medieval Madonna sculpture.
At the opening it was obvious that there were more and more collectors form the Americas. Especially from booming Brazil, but there were also many US collectors coming back to London.
Greek artist Andreas Lolis had an excellent installation at Frieze Sculputure Park: '21st Century Relics Composition in 9 parts' of 2012. It looked like empty carbord boxes and other thrown away wrappings of consumer products. But they were all made of the classic Greek marterial marble. A perfect comment about the sad situation in Greece today!
Frieze New York was quite boring to me, as the usual suspects showed up with their usual artists. It seems to be a sad fact that the art market, such as the luxury brand market, is more and more dominated by globally operating dealers with their similar brand name products. At Frieze there is also a section for the younger galleries, but for years it had been a lot less appealing to me than Art Basel or Liste Basel or Volta.
I have the feeling, in the long run Frieze will need fresh art or it will itself become Frieze Old Master.
By Chris Neuschler
Through 14th October 2012