The duo who have pushed the envelope and succeeded in developing Frieze into the successful art fair that it is today, taking over London each October, have expanded across the ocean with Frieze New York, which launches today. Amanda Sharp and Matthew Slotover, with artist, Tom Gidley, founded Frieze magazine in 1991 and launched Frieze Art Fair in London in 2003.
Having just missed Frieze last fall in London, and now missing the launch of Frieze New York, we are understandably green but coping through the help of great art fair online material these days that allow you to live vicariously. For now. Frieze New York is taking place on Randall’s Island with 180 of the leading contemporary galleries worldwide as exhibitors, an impressive Sculpture Park curated by Tom Eccles and Frieze Projects, which launches annual artists’ commissions for the fair.
Art Newspaper estimates that art worth a total of $2 billion has been brought to the city for Frieze New York, falling quickly on the heels of the sale of Munch’s The Scream on Wednesday night at Sotheby’s NYC, creating an auction record at $119 million. Signs that the art world is the canary in the gold mine, as this market appears to be rebounding to pre-recession highs? Perhaps. But what it does do is push the increasingly loud debate of investment vs. obsession to the fore, which often distinguishes the rise of art investment as distinct from the acquisitions by art lovers. As Barbara Kruger’s 2012 work, Too Big To Fail, queried the financial system’s stability, so too can the same question be poised at the secondary art market for art masters. Across the Frieze exhibitor list, it is by far the secondary market pieces that will be making up the biggest portion in terms of dollar figures of works brought to New York this weekend. In this, Frieze will take its place amongst the list of international art fairs where the same level of deals take place in what may be one of the only truly burgeoning markets at the moment.
Feeding one of our favourite trends in the art world, Frieze has a virtual component, of course: Frieze Virtual New York 2012, where you can search by terms such as the artist’s age, price, etc. amongst 1560 artworks represented by galleries at the fair. http://virtual.friezenewyork.com/
One of the best, but sometimes overlooked, aspects to any art fair: the lectures. On this, it doesn’t look like Frieze NY will miss the mark. Of course, no art fair lecture series would be complete these days without a nod to the man, Gerhard Richter, having just had his retrospective at the Tate Modern. Sunday afternoon’s talk, On Land Occupation, should be a relevant discussion about art and practice moving beyond the walls of institutions with artists and writers looking at land occupation and different ways to reimagine borders. It will be interesting to see what reviews follow Friday’s Expanding Museums discussion about the contemporary art museum’s role in the way that we experience our cities and cultures which is to be held by a panel of directors and a chairman of only the biggest stalwarts in the NYC scene. Being francophiles though and avid readers of Andre Malraux’s work, we are green with envy to be missing Georges Didi-Huberman’s discussion of Malraux’s Le Musee Imaginaire.
And for the celebrity car crash that no one seems to be able to turn their eyes away from already? Courtney Love’s first ever art show entitled And She’s Not Even Pretty by Frieze exhibitor, Fred Torres Collaborations. While her watercolours and works on paper are said to be surprisingly good and even giving Frieze darling, Karen Kilimnik, a run for her money, is it necessary for her to clutch a photocopied Art and Culture by her great-uncle, Clement Greenberg as her invitation into this world, as she apparently did at Wednesday’s opening. We are not entirely sure what the granddaddy of modern and contemporary art criticism would have thought of her work and, perhaps her most notorious work, her life – but we’ll see what the critics continue to say at least of Love and the fair.
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