Taking place over four days in October, the Frieze Art Fair is one of the most important events on London’s art calendar. With 291 leading galleries, dealers and experts from across the world descending upon Regent’s Park, art lovers looking to view, experience or secure a new piece will find the quality of the fair makes it unmissable.
Our guide to the international art showcase is here to ensure you’re clued up when it comes to the most notable pieces on display at this year’s festival.
A tale of two festivals
If you’re looking for the latest contemporary pieces, Frieze London’s edit of new, dynamic collections from both up-and-coming and established artists means that it often grabs the headlines.
This year you can expect Frieze-commissioned special projects from the likes of the enigmatic Lutz Bacher, Jeremy Herbert and Asad Raza to be the talk of the town. Raza’s in particular typifies the subversive nature of the festival – an exhibition inspired by the caves of worship of the Greek god Pan that can be found through a door at the back of the Frieze London bookshop.
In contrast, Frieze Masters focuses on a selection of the best work made before the year 2000. This fourth edition of Frieze Master promises 131 leading galleries on display, so whether you’re interested in ancient, ethnographic or 20th-century art, there’s sure to be something to pique your interest.
Amongst the fifteen solo exhibitions in the fair’s Spotlight section, you’ll find New York’s Alexander Gray Associates solo presentation of work by Jack Whitten. Across his fifty year career, the American abstract painter and sculptor has become known for his use of colour and powerful meditations on topics ranging from the Vietnam War to the Civil Rights movement, so make sure you don’t miss it.
A new addition to this year’s Frieze Masters is the Collections section. To quote curator Sir Norman Rosenthal; ‘Each of these eight presentations by individual dealers, spanning millennia, contain within them germs of ideas for exhibitions that could easily take place at any of the great public institutions in the world.’ This inaugural show promises to bring pieces not previously seen at the Fair, ranging from Maiolica and Palaeolithic stones to Netsuke and Egyptian carvings, so as to demonstrate the highest level of creativity in all different periods of history.
If the London weather is favourable, why not make the short walk to Regent’s Park’s very own English Gardens to find the Sculpture Park? With new and historical work from both Frieze London and Masters as chosen by Yorkshire Sculpture Park’s Director of Programme Clare Lilley, your beautiful surroundings are sure to only compound the powerful effect elicited by the sculptures on show.
Victor’s Picks: London
1. Scotch of St James
Away from the Fair, the legendary Scotch of St James self-prescribed remit is to host the city’s most relevant events and personalities in music, fashion, film and the arts, so don’t be surprised to see Frieze’s biggest players gracing the club with their presence once the fair has finished for the day. Cocktails that play to the venue’s rock ‘n’ roll heritage are there to be enjoyed as you admire pieces by Julian Opie, Shepard Fairey and Judith Supine, whilst those who venture down to the basement will invariably find the A-list crowd enjoying a set from a celeb-turned-DJ or a visiting band.
When it comes to places to stay, there’s no better place to rest your head than Claridge’s, Mayfair’s most iconic 5* hotel. From the moment you walk through the revolving doors into the hotel’s iconic art deco foyer, you’re sure to see why the historic hotel has its world class reputation.
3. The Sanderson
Fancy something a little more contemporary? Transformed by designer Philippe Starck into his vision of a ‘Cocteau-like dream world’, The Sanderson’s style credentials are off the scale. Its décor juxtaposes the baroque and modern with hand-carved African furniture and Salvador Dali’s iconic red lips sofa. It’s no wonder that both of these hotels are partners with this year’s fair.
4. Chiltern Firehouse
And to eat? Head to the Chiltern Firehouse, the dining destination for London’s A-Listers. Breakfast makes for the perfect time to grab a table and sample Chef Nuno Mendes’ offerings. In the comfort of your understated but glamorous surroundings, you can enjoy dishes ranging from the spiced crab omelette served with turmeric, potatoes and chervil to French toast with smoked bacon and spiced maple syrup. We wouldn’t blame you for coming back for lunch and dinner too.
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