LONDON-FRIEZE ART FAIR BRIEF REPORT

21 10 2010

Big bold art –  sober prices

By Georgina Adam, Charlotte Burns and Melanie Gerlis

LONDON. Dealers were delighted to see hedge-fund honcho Steven Cohen, one of the world’s biggest art buyers, at the preview of Frieze yesterday morning. “It’s my first visit to the fair,” Cohen said as he viewed the work accompanied by his adviser, Sandy Heller.

But Cohen wasn’t the first in. At the front of the line were Dallas collectors Christen and Derek Wilson. “This is my favourite fair,” said Christen, a member of Tate’s North American acquisitions committee. British collectors Frank and Cheryl Cohen sauntered past Tate supremo Sir Nicholas Serota, who was deep in conversation with über-collector Charles Saatchi outside Sadie Coles HQ (C15). Adding serious glamour, Russian collector Dasha Zhukova swished towards Marian Goodman (F16), while supermodel Claudia Schiffer eyed up Thanksgiving 1985 (Table) by hot US artist Roe Ethridge at Andrew Kreps (A7).

Fellow stars included rock’n’roller Keith Richards, photographer David Bailey and an assortment of artists: Ai Weiwei, a wheelchair-bound Tracey Emin, Gavin Turk and Mike Nelson. Early-bird collectors also included Chicago’s Stefan Edlis with Gail Leeson, Hong Kong’s Richard Chang and Brazil’s Ricard Akagawa.

Greeting them were dealers on stands that boasted bigger and bolder displays than in the last two downturn years. Not to be outdone by the usual powerhouses of Gagosian (D8), White Cube (F15), Hauser & Wirth (C12) et al, most galleries this year are ratcheting up their ambitions with larger pieces.
So why is big back? Dealers claim they aren’t driving the trend: “It’s not my ego,” said New York gallerist Friedrich Petzel (D3). “Artists are producing bigger works.” His sales included a large-scale John Stezaker—Untitled (Veil Tiger), 1982—for around £50,000 to a European buyer.

“There are a lot of ambitious collectors still out there,” says James Lindon, visiting the fair from New York’s Pace. He added: “Dealers might be slimming down in terms of production, but that doesn’t impact scale.” In line with today’s more sober mood, many of the materials used are humble: cardboard, paper, flags or found objects.

READ ON …….

 

Tsvetana Yvanova,The Art Chronicle

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