"Merete Kristiansen and Kate Barron may be on the verge of revolutionizing the Canadian art world."
- anne watson, the vancouver observer
October 11, 2012
Ten years on and Frieze Art Fair, London's international contemporary art bazaar, is just one organ in what is now a city-wide festivity, an excuse for galleries to flaunt their best new art in a heady long weekend that brings collectors, dealers, scholars and all the glamour of the art world to the capital.
One of the most exciting things to observe on VIP day at Frieze, apart from the intoxicatingly light-handed exchange of cash and Tatinger, is the pace of the changing mood. One always notices the changes, and this year there are many. In typical austerity-defying fashion one New York gallerist told me yesterday that the first day this year was “busier and buzzier” than she had ever seen it, another told me that there was quite a different crowd than normal - and an unusual number of new collectors.
The biggest change is in the presentation of the wares themselves. On the whole, galleries have opted for restrained curation and honestly crafted pieces over big statements. Bombast is out, and art on a domestic, thoughtful scale is in. Precious Objets d’Arts with a contemporary twist were the order of the day; Matthias Merkel Hess’ glazed porcelain oil cans (‘Bucketry’, 2011-12) were selling like hot cakes at ACME; the French artist Jean Luc Moulène’s vase-sized gorgeous ornamentally entwined glass sculpture that requires three highly-skilled glassblowers in a costly high-risk process, was barely visible for the mob at the Thomas Dane Gallery. There was plenty of tapestry, crochet, gold, jewelry, a painting simply called ‘Baskets’, 2012, by Sigrid Holm Wood, painted in natural dyes all naturally sourced by the artist in Chinese healing plants.
Perhaps this conservative shift is in part due to the advent of the first Frieze Masters, which takes place across Regents’ Park this week (Ed Miliband has been among high profile guests), and the rising popularity of rival design fair, the Pavilion of Art and Design. This week sees the opening of more heavyweight satellite events than ever too, among them a major exhibition of new works by the master of refashioned formalism Anish Kapoor, at Lisson Gallery, and the crowd-pleasing “outsider” art wagon Museum of Everything which has landed at Frieze Masters.
But shifting interests reflect the times too. Last year, one of the artworks getting the most attention was a private "superyacht" (it cost €65m to buy as boat, and €75m to buy as an artwork, authenticated by the German artist Christian Jankowski). This year, in the same spot was erected one of the more memorable of this year’s “Frieze Projects”, experimental audience-participatory artworks designed to punctuate and enliven the monotony of the aisles. The Chinese artist collective, the Yangjiang Group, have teamed up with Cambrian organization Grizedale Arts to erect ‘Coliseum of the Consumed’, a plywood scaffold for food stalls and performances, which operates on the simple basis that “art should be useful”. I spoke to one of the stall owners who was selling juniper juice in plastic baggies and had raised £40 for Youth Group UK doing so.
via the telegraph