|Grizedale Arts, Colosseum of the Consumed, performance by William Pope 1|
So after a gruelling few hours I made my way with a heavy heart to Frieze Masters which as I’m sure everyone knows by now is the grown up, old art, version of Frieze. Officially described as ‘an opportunity to see and buy work ranging from the ancient era and old masters to art of the 20th century’ it promised to make the link between old and new art. I was cynical but as soon as I stepped into the huge Masters tent the atmosphere was different. The masses had thinned, the isles were wider and the colour scheme was a calming grey instead of the glacial white cube of Frieze.
|Frieze Masters, 2012|
Frieze Masters was in fact a revelation, full of museum quality art that was also incidentally if you were interested, for sale. Each booth seemed to have been thoughtfully curated, many of them had exhibitions themed around a single artists or movement. Lots of work, even if I had not seen it before was very familiar.
Looking at extensive displays of Morandi, Klimt and Schiele, early Warhol Drawings and Dorothea Tanning was as enjoyable and soothing as stepping into a warm bath.
Photography was also very strong with whole stands devoted to William Eggleston (Victoria Miro), Richard Avedon and Diane Arbus. As well as these familiar friends there were also new discoveries such as a display of very strange looking 16th Century wooden horses by Juan Chaéz at Coll & Cortés Fine Arts which were a nice counterpoint to some ancient Chinese pottery horses at Ben Janssens Oriental Art.
The link between old and new art was also much in evidence – a wall of Picabia ink drawings at Galerie 1900 v 2000 a direct predecessor to Raymond Pettibon’s work.
The Spotlight section featured single-artist shows by lesser-known artists – mainly from the 70s. One of the highlights Lygia Pape’s thread installation at Galeria Graça Brandao was beautiful, and flagged up a technique and aesthetic that is being revived in many contemporary works.
There were some blurred lines between the two fairs – Alice Neel for instance was in evidence at Frieze proper while surely she would have made more sense at Masters, while the only Luc Tuymans I saw was at Frieze Masters. This aside Frieze Masters was an enriching experience and a fun place to play the ‘if I had the money what would I buy’ game (in a bit of a left field choice I’ve decided to go for one of Natalia Gontcharova’s 1930’s drawings of Tudor-style ladies at Galerie 1900 v 2000). Roll on Frieze Masters 2013.
Frieze London and Frieze Masters
11–14 October 2012