Frieze London 2017

October is the very best time of year to see art in the capital. The city is abuzz with the latest blockbuster shows – 2017 brings Jasper Johns as well as Duchamp / Dali to the Royal Academy, Jean-Michel Basquiat comes to the Barbican and Rachel Whiteread is showing at the Tate. The commercial galleries have pulled out their biggest names – there are Jean Dubuffet at Pace, Jake & Dinos Chapman at Blain Southern and Anselm Kiefer & Robert Longo at Thaddeus Ropac. Meanwhile all the big names auction houses stage their autumn contemporary sales.

Olafur Eliasson Frieze Art Fair London 2017
Olafur Eliasson

Frieze of course also comes to London, not only with the contemporary focused Frieze Art Fair, but the thriving Frieze Masters event just up the Regents Park footpath. The great and the good of the art world come together with a smattering of celebrity names to see the latest that the art world has to offer.

Matthew Ronay Frieze Art Fair London 2017
Matthew Ronay

Our annual visit to Frieze is always highly anticipated. Not only to admire some great art but to also to discern new trends, see what the big names have on offer admire the most spectacular works – after all this is the biggest fair in the greatest city in the contemporary art world.

Cecily Brown Frieze Art Fair London 2017
Cecily Brown

Yet still, and perhaps because of the anticipation, there is again a tinge of anti-climax. Are we expecting too much or could Frieze do better? Their gallery selection process doesn’t help – preferencing worldwide galleries means we seem to get mediocre work from perhaps Peru or Burkino Fasso at the expense of many excellent local galleries (is this not a London art fair after all?).

Ryan Mosley Frieze Art Fair London
Ryan Mosley

Gone are the bigger artists names and the spectacular and expensive works that graced earlier shows and we now seem to get more mid level and affordable (?) pieces – even from the big name galleries. One is left with the niggling impression that much of the best work is hidden away and that most of the deals are done back at their base.

Cristina Iglesias Frieze Art Fair London
Cristina Iglesias

The curated ‘Sex Work’ exhibition spread through the show failed to stir us and was rather tame. Still, this is the very best contemporary art fair in Britain, there is plenty of good art to be found and new names to be discovered. There is always something to surprise, people to meet and in the end, where else could you for example pick up a free Passport to Antartica?

Billy Childish Frieze Art Fair London
Billy Childish

Amongst our selection of what we noticed at this years fair were: Olafur Eliason whose colour-shifting balls drew a large crowd whilst Eddie Peake was eye-catching as usual. We loved Ryan Mosley’s newest works, rather more colourful than usual and Mathew Ronay’s curious pastel-coloured and tactile sculptures. On the other hand Jeff Koon’s Glitterball Jesus and Hauser & Wirth’s Bronze Age pseudo museum display failed to inspire.

Eddie Peake Frieze Art Fair London
Eddie Peake
Ai Weiwei Frieze Art Fair London
Ai Weiwei
Kiluandi Kia Henji Frieze Art Fair London
Kiluandi Kia Henji
Anne Hardy Frieze Art Fair London
Anne Hardy
Hauser Wirth Frieze Art Fair London
Hauser & Wirth Bronze Age
Jonathan Gardner Frieze Art Fair London
Jonathan Gardner
Jeff Koons Frieze Art Fair London
Jeff Koons

So, will we go back next year? Of course we will – and we’re looking forward to it already!

CELLOPHANELAND* were guests of Frieze London

For more information visit www.frieze.com

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