The Cultivist’s guide to Frieze
As Frieze and Frieze Masters open again this year in Regent's Park, we get the inside take from Marlies Verhoeven and Daisy Peat, co-founders of global arts club The Cultivist
Frieze annually host visual art fairs in London, New York and Los Angeles that are some of the most prestigious events for buying art in the world. The programming is diverse and exciting, with curated gallery presentations, exhibition unveilings, as well as talks and lectures. London is the only city so far to also host Frieze Masters, a separate tent dedicated to antiques, old masters, modern and impressionist art from dealers across Europe.
Frieze is a real highlight in the London art calendar, if not the highlight, but even if you’re not buying it’s a great opportunity to see the best contemporary art in the world at that moment, to spark creativity, and to participate in debates and discourses about what's going on. Not to mention that it’s fantastic for people watching - from sharply-suited gallerists and media-savvy artists, to well-heeled collectors and earnest critics, the other visitors can be just as interesting as the works on display.
How to tackle the main event
Both Frieze and Frieze Masters are big, and can be daunting, with thousands of works spread across a truly immense pavilion, but with proper preparation, you can get a lot done in a day
Bring a refillable bottle of water and some very comfy shoes.
Leave three hours for each fair with lunch in-between
Book a table for lunch at either fair, but make sure you do it in advance, walk-ins are hard to come by.
Stop and chat to the gallerists now and again to get an understanding of what you’re seeing, you’ll end up enjoying it much more if you know something about what you’re looking at.
One of the best things about the pavilion at Frieze is that you have no idea what will catch your attention until you get there. However, if you want to prioritise, we'd recommend heading for the section at the end of the Frieze tent named ‘Focus’, which brings together 32 galleries founded in or after 2004, presenting specially curated projects. Frieze Masters is a smaller fair and it’s honestly worth seeing everything there. In our post-conceptual moment, there seems to be a huge emphasis on the materiality of an artwork. The inclusion of Woven, this year’s curated section of Frieze, with its many textile works points to an interest in reclaiming overlooked materials.
Frieze Week inaugurates a whole host of satellite events–a slew of exhibitions open around this time to coincide with the influx of collectors and critics to London. Here are The Cultivist's picks for what to see in and around the city.
What to see in Frieze Week and beyond
Peter Doig’ at Michael Werner Gallery in Mayfair
Figurative painter Peter Doig, who hails from Scotland but now divides his time between New York and Trinidad, will exhibit a selection of his new paintings at Michael Werner Gallery, W1.
Albert Oehlen’ at Serpentine Gallery in Kensington Gardens
Contemporary abstract artist Albert Oehlen brings a series of paintings inspired by the Modernist painter John Graham to the Serpentine in a new, site-specific installation.
Damien Hirst: Mandalas’ at White Cube in Mason’s Yard
Hirst's first major show in London for seven years features large-scale works from recent concentric paintings inspired by the mandala, highly patterned religious images representing the cosmos or universe in Hindu, Buddhist, Jain or Shinto traditions.
Kara Walker: Hyundai Commission’ at Tate Modern
New York based artist Kara Walker has just opened Fons Americanus at Tate Modern, exploring the interconnected histories of Africa, America and Europe, the transatlantic slave trade and the ambitions, fates and tragedies of people from these three continents.
Gauguin Portraits at the National Gallery
There has never been a show of Gauguin’s portraits before. This exhibition will be a truly remarkable look into how Gauguin interrogated the subject of portraiture using different mediums over time.
Antony Gormley at Royal Academy of Arts
The largest exhibition of Gormley’s work in a decade. A superstar of British sculptor, Gormley has taken over the Main Galleries at the RA until 3rd December
1: 54 - the Contemporary African Art Fair at Somerset House
1-54 London 2019 will be welcoming 45 carefully-selected international galleries, showcasing the works of more than 150 multidisciplinary artists of established and emerging profile.
PAD design fair in Berkeley Square
The annual PAD London fair has once again taken up residence in Berkeley Square, W1, bringing with it an eclectic selection of art, photography and design from the 20th century. Museum-grade artwork from a range of galleries in Europe, Asia and North America will be for sale, including pieces from Vertes in Zurich and Helene Bailly Gallery in Paris.
Jonah Freeman + Justin Lowe’ s latest exhibition Colony Sound at Marlborough Gallery
A multi-room immersive installation by Jonah Freeman & Justin Lowe which engulfs both floors of the London gallery. This is the artists’ fourth solo exhibition with the gallery.
Es Devlin at Pitzhanger Manor
In this new large-scale work by the renowned artist and set designer, visitors are immersed within a vast chronological landscape mapping pivotal shifts in human perspective over 75 millennia.
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