Here it comes. Next week, Oct. 14-17, 2010, is London’s time to shine like the diamond it is in the international art-market sun, as Frieze Week bows in the British super-city. With dozens of events and most of the best galleries making the trip, the whole thing is exhausting just to think about.
Here, then, a quick-and-dirty summary of some of the highlights. We’re sure we’ve missed a few, but this’ll do to start:
Of course the centerpiece, as usual, is the Frieze Art Fair itself, going up in Regent’s Park. The selection is top-notch, with some 173 exhibitors on board, including most of the top dealers you’d expect.
A highlight this year looks to be a sub-section known as "Frame" (Frieze / Frame. . . get it?), devoted to single-artist shows by relatively new galleries (under six years old). The selection of galleries for the 2010 "Frame" program was done by Daniel Baumann and X-Initiative mastermind Cecilia Alemani. Expect solo shows by the likes Shannon Ebner (via San Francisco’s hip Altman Siegel Gallery), Naeem Mohaiemen (from Kolkata’s Experimenter), Jessica Dickinson (at Lower East Side powerhouse James Fuentes), and the duo know as Aids-3D (at Berlin’s Gentili Apri).
Frieze brims over with good ancillary stuff, too. Specifically, look out for an installation by Simon Fujiwara, winner of the fair’s 2010 Cartier Prize. Fujiwara promises to spin art out of the "fictive premise that an ancient lost city has been discovered beneath the site of the fair." Bring your fictive spelunking boots.
Many more whimsical projects are featured as part of "Frieze Projects," curated by Sarah McCrory. Most promising of these -- for the casual thrill-seeker at least -- is a series of séance sections masterminded by L.A. goofball Jeffrey Vallance, who promises to put fairgoers into contact with the spirits of Pablo Picasso, Jackson Pollock and other dead legends. A test session channeling the spirit of Salvador Dali last month was described as "quite mad."
Finally, if you get tired of all the walking around, well, Frieze’s outdoor sculpture section offers some solace. Artist Gavin Turk has created 15 "art bicycles" for visitors to ride around Regent’s Park.
Missing this year from Frieze Week is the Zoo Art Fair, the original Frieze satellite. However, several new fairs have leapt into the breach. The most notable of these is the Multiplied Contemporary Editions Fair, Oct. 15-18, which is an initiative of the auction house goliath, Christie’s, and promises "to promote emerging talent in two and three-dimensional contemporary editions." By our count some 39 spaces are exhibiting, including commercial powerhouse White Cube and the troubled nonprofit London ICA, as well as Damien Hirst’s personal publisher Other Criteria and Tracey Emin’s officially branded multiples arm, Emin International. Multiplied goes down at Christie’s space at 85 Old Brompton Road. Admission is free.
Bringing the street heat is the Moniker International Art Fair, Oct. 14-17, at the Village Underground, 54 Holywell Lane, London. Moniker says that it "focuses on the finer side of the street art movement," and street art fans might side with Vandablog writer R.J. Rushmore, who speculated that Moniker "is going to kick Frieze’s ass." That seems extreme to us, but it’s sure to bring its own crowd, and the galleries involved are among the best in that particular scene: Patricia Armocida, New Image Art, Choque Cultural, CircleCulture, Carmichael Gallery, Campbarbossa, Black Rat Press (also at Multiplied, incidentally) and Anonymous Gallery.
Moniker boasts a strong list of artists contributing to a series of "Project Spaces": New Yorker Steve Powers, of "Dreamland Artists Club" fame; Ben Eine, who became an unexpected star recently when prime minster David Cameron traded an Eine work to Barack Obama for an Ed Ruscha; Polly Morgan, "credited with helping to bring taxidermy up to date"; and other stars. Looks good.
Also new to Frieze Week is Sunday, Oct. 14-16, at P3 Ambika on Marylebone Road ("a 14,000 square foot, triple height subterranean space"). This "international, gallery-led art fair" presents a selection of some 20 youngish exhibitors. The fair is an initiative of a team composed of London’s Limoncello, Berlin’s Croy Neilsen and Tulips and Roses from Brussels, who first teamed up during "Berlin Gallery Week" earlier this year, and apparently got enough positive feedback that they are doing it again in London. Other galleries involved include New Yorkers On Stellar Rays and Laurel Gitlen.
Especially notable is Sunday’s cocktail bar, masterminded by artist Ryan Gander. At specifically scheduled times, various artist-volunteers -- Fiona Banner, David Batchelor, Liam Gillick, Christian Jankowski and Bob and Roberta Smith -- are to be on hand serving their own arty cocktails for the crowd, at a reported £50 a pop. What do you get for that money? Here’s Gillick’s recipe, as reported by Spoonfed: "One small straight glass filled with ice / Fill entire glass with decent vodka / Squeeze half a fresh lime into already filled glass / The drink should spill over the edge of the glass."
PAVILION OF ART AND DESIGN
Even as all this is going down, a staggering 93 more exhibitors come out for the Pavilion of Art and Design, Oct. 13-17, in Berkeley Square (the event was formerly known as DesignArt London, and renamed last year). Focusing on "Art and Design from 1860 to Today," the fair promises a host of great exhibitors: Paris’ Galerie Downtown; London’s Faggionato Fine Art; New York’s Friedman Benda; Stellan Holm, also of New York; and many more. A prize from champagne house Moët Hennessy sponsors the acquisition of one object from the fair by the Victoria & Albert Museum.
Take The Future Can Wait, Oct. 13-17, the fourth installment of an annual exhibition for Frieze week, courtesy Simon Rumley and Zavier Ellis, self-described "curators extraordinaire with a taste for the Goth and grotesque." Expect "a disturbing selection of works" by some 30 artists, all displayed "in the dark and gloomy interiors of the basement of Shoreditch Town Hall." Also: "All work is for sale and collector previews can be arranged."
Or what about the The Museum of Everything in Primrose Hill, which was "regarded as the most successful new addition to the Frieze scene last year" (according to the Independent). For the third exhibition at the space, opening Oct. 13, Pop art pioneer Peter Blake curates a show of "outsider" art and artifacts, including pieces by Morton Bartlett, James Castle, Henry Darger and Martin Ramirez. During Frieze Week, contemporary art stars like Bob & Roberta Smith, Polly Morgan and Jeremy Deller are scheduled for various tours and talks at the Museum. Worth a swing by.
Then there is the mysterious House of the Noble Man, Oct. 12-20, at 2 Cornwall Terrace, an 18th-century building off Regent’s Park, near Frieze. What exactly this show is remains unclear, but it is some kind of conceptual selling exhibition, sponsored by the Russian billionaire who owns the property, and curated by artist Wolfe von Lenkiewicz with Russian curator Victoria Golembiovskaya. Lenkiewicz, for his part, describes it as "a curatorial concept playing with the idea of commerce, mirroring the [art] market with irony." The Art Newspaper reports that some £20-million in art will be for sale, including works by Picasso and Cézanne, as well as a selection of works from Charles Saatchi’s "New Sensations 2010" roster of emerging artists, and the holdings of the Iraqi-born industrialist Ragdan El-akabi.
On an altogether different register, don’t miss Whose Coat Is That Jacket You’re Wearing?, Oct. 2-23, at Walker’s Tailor. As Artnet News has previously reported, this odd show consists of a selection of some 200 coats stolen from pubs by Welsh artist Mike Ballard over a ten-year period. The items have been meticulously catalogued, and if you happen to have been the unlucky target of Ballard’s guerrilla art over the years, you can claim your coat -- if you can describe what you lost and when. Asked the meaning of the gesture, Ballard likes to quote Picasso: "Good artists copy, great artists steal."
Finally, in the "so perfect it’s almost weird" category, the New York artist Haim Steinbach is opening a show at the Louis Vuitton Maison store on New Bond Street, Oct. 12-26. Steinbach, of course, is known for works that evoke retail settings -- essentially he makes shelves, laden with inscrutable arrays of merchandise. These displays are sleek and sometimes have been reviewed as a critique of the commodity form, a theme that should be taken to a whole other level when displayed in an actual boutique.
AND ONE FOR THE ROAD
Last but not least, Frieze Week marks the coming-out of A Hedonist’s Guide to Art, edited by Artnet Magazine’s own correspondent Laura K. Jones, and hitting shelves Oct. 14. With 90 stories of art-world excess by the likes of Charles Saatchi, Mat Collishaw, Anthony Haden-Guest, Sarah Lucas, Genesis P-Orridge, Will Self, Keith Tyson, Richard Wilson and many more, the book promises to take the reader "from the art fair to the gallery to the auction house to the studio visit, then right on up to the rooftop swimming pools of the most debauched after-show parties that have ever been." Should be the perfect reading for the ride home.