Frieze Art Fair: Putting the spotlight on London

London’s biggest art fair kicks off today, don’t miss the highlights

Are you prepared for the chill? The tents have been pitched, the sculptures lovingly positioned and the little red stickers are ready. Frieze Art Fair has arrived and galleries all over London are bracing themselves for the influx of art lovers, investors and culture vultures from around the world.

Curators, artists, dealers, gallerists and critics from the far reaches of the globe will be in town for the next four days revelling in all the artistic blitzkrieg of Frieze and surrounding events.

Established in 2003, Frieze has quickly established itself as the artistic event in London’s calendar. Sixty-thousand art hungry visitors rush through the gates in Regents Park each year to see the collections on offer.

Specialising in living artists, the fair retains a voguish nature, revealing emerging talent as well as established contemporary artists. Some 173 galleries from 33 different countries will present new works by over 1,000 artists. The art on sale at the fair totals at an estimated price of £225m and all involved are hoping that the cloudy economic outlook won’t rain on Frieze’s sales.

Frieze Art Fair 2011

Frieze Art Fair 2011

Each year the fair grows, as does its influence. Amanda Sharp and Matthew Slotover, the co-founders of Frieze, announced the launch of two new art fairs earlier this year: Frieze New York, a contemporary art fair in New York City; and Frieze Masters, a fair in London that will give a contemporary perspective on historical art. Both fairs will launch in 2012 and will complement the existing October fair.

Sharp and Slotover said: “At Frieze Art Fair, our aim has been to create a unique destination with an atmosphere that is of cultural as well as commercial value.”

The benefits of Frieze don’t end with the fair itself however. London’s galleries, whether they are exhibiting or not, will receive a flood of potential customers over the next few days. The gravitational pull that the event has for the world’s art-scene is appreciated by many in the industry.

“Our tastes here in the capital have expanded to become a lot more global and that has a lot to do with Frieze,” Will Ramsey, founder of The Affordable Art Fair told

“They were instrumental in globalising the London art scene, bringing a wider market to London and moving the global compass to point at us.”

With that compass staring us squarely between the peepers we thought we’d give you a little run down of the fairest events both in and around the fair 2011.

1.       Frieze Sculpture Park

Regents Park

There’s nothing in this world quite so magical as wandering through a sea of sculptures, and each and every year Frieze facilitates such bewitchment with a vast scale, in the English Gardens of Regents Park.

13 to 16 October (

Frieze projects: Bik Van der Pol

Frieze projects: Bik Van der Pol

2.       Frieze projects: Bik Van der Pol

Auditorium at P1

A great Frieze tradition is the commissioning of several public pieces of work to be unveiled for the fair. One particularly interesting piece from this year is by Dutch artist Bik Van der Pol

He will make a full-size ‘live’ scoreboard, a project initiated by an interest in visionary architect Cedric Price (whose London Zoo Aviary is close to the fair). Drawing from Price’s interests in temporality and visibility, Bik Van der Pol’s scoreboard will be animated live by assistants who will constantly change the text to spell out a number of abstract idioms, quotes and maxims, providing a narrative for visitors to the fair.

13 to 16 October (

3.       The Museum of Everything  


If the display windows haven’t already caught your eye during a central London shopping spree then let me be the one to tell you about this year’s exhibition by The Museum of Everything.

The exhibition’s interior space Ultralounge is filled with over 400 pictures, all been created by self-taught artists and present an extremely fresh, delightful scene. But these may well be over shadowed by the gloriously quirky window displays that traverse the perimeter of the store.

Time Out say “The museum’s most ambitious enterprise yet.” We say, “get down there!”

The Museum of Everything at Selfridge's,Self ridges,Self-ridges,Selfridge,Eldridge's

The Museum of Everything at Selfridges

12 to 25 October (

4.       Tacita Dean

Turbine Hall, Tate Modern

Tate Modern always celebrates the launch of Frieze with the unveiling of their latest Turbine Hall offering. This year follows on from the somewhat doomed installation, Sunflower Seeds by Chinese artists Ai Weiwei with a video piece by British artist Tacita Dean.

Dean has created a giant film to be projected on the wall of the great hall. The 11-minute silent movie projection dwarfs visitors as they enter the blackened space.  

11 October to 11 March (

5.       Garden Marathon

Serpentine Gallery

This two day event is an exploration of the concept of the garden so polish off those green fingers and head town to Hyde Park over the weekend to witness the action.  

Jake Chapman, Charles Jencks and Paul Smith are among the diverse bunch of more than 50 artists, architects and designers lined up to appear in a specially constructed dome in the park ensuring the event will be a damn site more exciting than your average episode of Gardener’s World .

15 & 16 October (


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