Play-by-Play, Day-by-Day: A Recap of Frieze and the Auctions


Every time you get on a plane prior to an international art event, it’s like participating in a communal crossing of a like-minded tribe. There are artists, private dealers, gallery workers and owners, auctioneers and museum curators. Oh, and collectors, better known today as spec-u-lectors.

On my last trip, returning from Miami Basel, I was confronted by a wild group of boozing collectors comparing drugs and gallerists, who were all banned prior to takeoff. Sadly I was too, though it was guilt by association: I had yet to have a glass. (Who said art has grown into a mature industry?)

My most recent trip took me to New York for Frieze and the auctions. Since moving to London 10 years ago, I’ve rarely returned to the city , other than for an exhibition I curated in 2008 for Zaha Hadid at Sonnabend, on the eve of the recession. And wow have things changed, and mightily.

My inauspicious welcome back was an incredulous taxi driver who was loudly mortified that I tipped less than 15 percent, whereas in London the knowledgeable drivers are grateful for anything. I’ve been away longer than I thought.

I checked into my hotel and dashed to the fair, which was like any glad-handing corporate function, as much about collecting people as art, though there were just as many that appeared to tuck in their chins and look away to avoid making eye contact with one another—or was it just me they were ignoring?

One standout was the overhead hanging of shabby chic gold leaf on found cardboard pieces by market darling Danh Vo at Marian Goodman. There were Budweiser boxes and flags (it’s hard not to be drawn to art with flags, post-Jasper), and shards of text. People are furiously hoarding Vo’s work ahead of his François Pinault show, which will run during next year’s Venice Bienniale: insider trading in the creative sector.

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The perfect pairing: Frieze-Gap

photo: courtesy Frieze New York
photo: courtesy Frieze New York

The perfect pairing: Frieze-Gap, soon to be known as the day the art world jumped the shark, the red flag, and the market top. "Frieze Art Fair Partners With Gap Inc. allowing shoppers to experience Gap product in a unique and exciting environment." Exciting environment? Unique? Another Frieze art fair? Surely such sentiment must have originated in marketing dept from someone whose never been.

New York Art Lobotomy (rough draft)


Fairs have come to take up such a signficant portion of how I view art that it can get confusing, though I admit that I prefer them to the far-flung, geographically diffuse galleries and auction houses at home in London.

One of the main reasons I took this trip to New York was to meet a prospective client, who recently—prior to having ever purchased a piece of contemporary art—decided to open a museum. But, just before takeoff, he called to cancel. Welcome to my world, where you are always at the behest of the wanton and capricious. And so it was once again at the second edition of Frieze New York. Here is a diary of my whirlwind four-day trip.  ... weiterlesen

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"Die Kunstwelt ist wie eine Mafia, es gibt ein ungeschriebenes Gesetz des Stillschweigens", sagt Kenny Schachter. Auf seinem Monopol-Blog bringt der britische Kunsthändler Licht ins Dunkle und macht die Mechanismen des Marktes transparent. In englischer Sprache