Helga De Alvear Gallery. Photo: Juste Kostikovaite

9th Frieze Art Fair – Bigger than Ever 0

Juste Kostikovaite

Frieze kicked-off this year with happy sunny weather and grand plans for 2012. Despite recession waves the big news are that Frieze is launching two more art-fairs – Frieze New York in May 2012 and Frieze Masters October 2012. Is this an optimism, or just establishing the positions there where there is still place, or, rather, diversification of the activities and not cannibalising the existing sales?

Frieze Masters promises to give the fresh view on the relationship between the old and the new art. The fair will present approximately 70 international galleries showing work made before the year 2000. But this all is going to happen in 2012.

This year at the main section of Frieze there are 173 galleries representing 33 countries, there are new galleries added: Galerie Chantal Crousel (Paris), Konrad Fischer Galerie (Dusseldorf), Johnen Galerie (Berlin), Yvon Lambert (Paris), The Pace Gallery (New York), Andrea, Rosen Gallery (New York) and Donald Young Gallery (Chicago).

Frieze is considered to be high quality art fair, and probably this implies that the fair does not allow for ultimate openness to the participants. Galleries complain, that it is almost impossible to get into the main section of Frieze even for very good ones. But some have been admitted to the club: Andreiana Mihail Gallery (Bucharest), Project 88 (Mumbai), Rodeo (Istanbul) and Micky Schubert (Berlin).

The Frame section of the fair is dedicated to galleries under six-years old, showing solo artist presentations. This year Frame features 25 young galleries and is supported by COS fashion brand. Very wise step for the minimalist quality clothing with clever twist.

As for the overall impression, in 2011 Frieze’s booths, as usually, achieve conservative appearance with least conservative artists with few exceptions of the Standart(Oslo) gallery, Gagosian gallery. Although Guardian’s art critic Adrian Searley during the preview of Frieze felt very old and was counting bananas, at least he did not feel like dying: the theme of death and destruction was definitely in the air and in the booths. One of those is Emanuel Perrotin with Elmgreen & Dragset installation 2011 of the corpse lying on a morgue freeze shelf, then Romanian born new-yorker of Ramiken Crucible Gallery with Andra Ursuta’s grey lifesize sculpture lying on the floor, decaying and covered with fake glistening semen.

Death is there, as the reverse and inevitable end point of life, but money has no life, does it? General atmosphere was that crowd is no longer limited to one type of buyer. There is no age limit. Ultra rich buyers in the wheelchairs were looking for art together with young relaxed art lovers you could spot in one of the Brick Lane bars on Saturday night.

According to the Bloomberg source, this year’s fair was not so different from the last two years after the economic recession started. Slower purchasing, as many people are thinking first, then buying. However, paintings by Neo Rauch, Rudolf Stingel and Luc Tuymans sold for as much as $1.4 million on the pre-view day. 

Andra Ursuta at Ramiken Crucible gallery

Anton Kern gallery

David Lieske work

David Shrigley at Galleri Nicolai Wallner Copenhagen

Francesco Vezzolli at Francesco Noero Gallery

Franz West installation at Gagosian gallery

Frieze 2011

Frith Street Gallery

Kurimanzutto gallery

Matias Faldbakken at Standart (Oslo) gallery

Media attention

Simon Starling (with Yasuo Miichi) at Francesco Noero gallery

XL Gallery

Photos: Juste Kostikovaite