London Calling: Frieze Week London 2013

Images by Elena Gilbert

Coming out of ABC Berlin, and headed to FIAC Paris, we stop in London for one of the iconic art fairs that is part of the Frieze Foundation projects, Frieze Art Fair London.

The Frieze fair, celebrating its 10th anniversary, while still semi-resembling a fashion show (perhaps Chanel's art inspired S/S 2014 collection) even after its makeover to its massive tent in Regent Park, included 151 galleries this year from across the globe. It extended to include Frieze Masters, Frieze sculpture park, Frieze Projects, and Frieze Family Space (an interactive installation for school groups by Angelo Plessas titled "Temple of Play" this year). Also excitingly, the fair brought in a range of galleries and artists from South America, Asia, and Africa. Some of the works being shown seemed more to do with luxury and tropes, although not to be laughed at as some Jeff Koons sculptures and some works from Picasso and Rothko at Frieze Masters were selling for over $15 Million. Some highlights from the whole fair include Ilja Karilampi's installation at Sandy Brown, Dan Graham's spiraled Plexiglas pavilion at Lisson Gallery, Jonas Wood's paintings at David Kordansky Gallery, and The Approach's tableaux display featuring Alice Channer, Heidi Bucher, Evan Holloway, Rezi van Lankveld, Jack Lavender, Magali Reus and Amanda Ross-Ho.

Throughout the week, the VIP Frieze events included a range of breakfasts, talks on collecting, and such notable events as a music performance by Rodney Graham, a party at the Zabludowicz Collection, "Orpheus Twice" curated by Vincent Honore at the David Roberts Art Foundation, and the extremely posh, but not really that wonderful Damien Hirst butterfly-inspired collection at Alexander McQueen.

While many of our Berlin favorite galleries were showing at Frieze, some of them including Croy Nielsen, Tanya Leighton, and Kraupa Tuskany Zeidler were part of SUNDAY, in walking distance from Frieze, a fair more focused on emerging artists.

As part of London's hustle and bustle, if you want an excuse to see some strong shows, trade beer for champagne, and wear some of your more delicate outfits, London's satellite openings are definitely a plus. Unless you can tackle decentralized London with the classic black pricey British cabs, don't trade your nikes for heels.

The gallery and institution satellite exhibitions included Jana Euler at Cabinet Gallery, Sarah Lucas at Whitechapel, Oliver Michaels at Cole, Morag Keil at Cubitt, "GCC Transmission" at Project Native Informant, and Elmgreen & Dragset at the V&A. The British Museum is running "Shunga", an exhibition of beautiful and ancient Japanese prints dealing with sex and pleasure in Japanese art. One of the most recommended is "Reflections from Damaged Life. An exhibition on psychedelia" curated by Lars Bang Larsen at Raven Row. Also down in Peckham, new project spaces are running some interesting programs such as Arcadia Missa and The Sunday Painter.

The East End night was on Saturday, featuring a number of openings including Seventeen Gallery, Supplement, and the White Building launched the week off with the panel on a queer theory, a discussion lacking unfortunately in our home Berlin scene, "MARGINAL MODERNITIES: A DISCUSSION ABOUT QUEER MATERIALITY" including artists Jesse Darling, Maja Cule, Anna Zett, and Jaakko Pallasvuo.

And even while the days end much earlier in London than Berlin, Artreview and Mousse managed to throw two nice parties.

Due to traffic and transport interruptions, I visited two events by livestream, they almost seem a bit more appropriate this way. ICA in collaboration with Rhizome (NY) presented a panel "Post-Net Aesthetics" compromising of Harm van den Dorpel, Rozsa Farkas, Ben Vickers, Josephine Berry Slater, and moderated by Karen Archey. Serpentine Gallery hosted its annual Marathon series this year as the "89plus Marathon", bringing in more than 60 participants of everyone's favorite cast born after 1988 in addition to a few other participants.

So it seems London is definitely holding its own in terms of culture, especially its more high investment attitude to the arts, its public programming, and its funding in contrast to what one typically finds in Berlin. Although perhaps if you lived there, you would be too busy to making a living to enjoy it.

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