The Frieze Art Fair 11th edition is taking place this week in London, opening its doors to the public in Regent’s Park on Thursday. For a week, London becomes the epicentre of contemporary art. If Frieze’s 11th edition promises to be an event in itself, it comes with a plethora of events across the city from fairs to museums via art centres and galleries. Auction houses are also taking part. At the entrance of Chritsie’s Post-War and Contemporary Art exhibition, held on King Street, visitors are greeted by a bright pink “Frieze Week” sign. The tone is set.
The Post-War and Contemporary Art exhibitions at Phillip’s, Sotheby’s and Christie’s were a great part of my day. They are the essence of the art market and a great place to discover and understand the trends and interests of the moment. It was therefore not too surprising to find artworks by the London-based Columbian artist, Oscar Murillo, 27, who is currently showing at the South London Gallery. As recently explained by Bloomberg, two years ago, the artist cleaned offices to put himself through art school and his paintings sold for less than $3,000. In June, one his 2011 painting sold for over $380,000.
Aside from the likes of Jean-Michel Basquiat, Anselm Kieffer, Lucio Fontana or Gerard Richter that have become quasi-permanent features, I thought that Yan Pei Ming, Vik Muniz or Barbara Kruger were quite present. As far as these artists are concerned, I would favour the red Mao by Yan Pei Ming at Chistie’s over his golden Buddha at Phillips or the Prince of Wales at Sotheby’s.
Face It by Barbara Kruger at Phillips would get my vote as it would be an entertaining daily warning.
Should I pick one work per auction house? It would be an extremely tricky game but I may go for the following:
Luxe Populaire (Le Monde), 2001
Red Joy, 1984
Should I be asked to avoid the utterly famous, I would chose:
As far as Christie’s is concerned, my pick will have to come at a later date. Christie’s is planning no less than 5 exhibitions this week in three different locations. One of them is the first comprehensive exhibition dedicated to British Pop Art to be held in London while another is a charity auction for Gasworks. I will therefore have to come back to you. So I could not do everything within a day and only viewed the 55 lots that will go on auction at the prestigious Evening Sale on October 18th. I could not see the Day Sale works shown on King Street. Why? Because I stayed longer than I expected at S|2.
S|2 is the new gallery opened by Sotheby’s on St George Street (for more information, click here). The inaugural exhibition is dedicated to Joseph Beuys, a prominent figure of Fluxus. The works gathered were part of the set created by the artist when he performed How to Explain Pictures to a Dead Hare at the Alfred Schmela Galerie. I was mesmerised by the video documenting the performance that propelled the artist’s career internationally.
With the closing doors of Christie’s behind me, I decided to head to the opening of PAD on Berkeley Square. The fair is dedicated to 20th Century art, design and decorative arts and with just over 60 galleries is a pleasurable format. A great number of galleries are coming from Paris where the fair originated. Downtown had a stunning presentation of wall lamps while Hamiltons were showing feminine nude in an intriguing boudoir. If the quality of the fair cannot be discussed, exhibitors may have felt the fierce competition since everybody seemed to be holding their breath for the opening of the second edition of Frieze Masters tomorrow.
Nobuyoshi Araki, Grand diary of a Photo Maniac, 1994/2013 at Michael Hoppen
And off to Tate Modern for the opening of Paul Klee, an event that legitimately deserves its own post.