The Frieze Art Fair has rolled into town, offering us mortals the chance to witness the higher echelons of the art world at work. With its emphasis on sales, the fair is not a place for artistic contemplation but that doesn’t mean there’s no fun to be had. Here’s our pick of five things to look out for this year:
1. Gagosian’s stand
Frieze has in the past been described as a big playground, and this year’s stand from Gagosian is literally that: a series of artworks including a giant die and a rubber mushroom from Carsten Höller that children are invited to play with. What would Jake Chapman say?
2. Helly Naumad’s stand at Frieze Masters
Across at Frieze’s more sober sister fair, Frieze Masters, Helly Naumad Gallery has produced an impressive installation work which envisions an imaginary collector’s apartment set in Paris in 1968. The stand is curated by Naumad and designed by production designer Robin Brown in collaboration with senior producer Anna Pank. It is impressively detailed and absorbing.
3. The blurring of art and life
Part of the enjoyment of Frieze is the uncertainty about whether what you are looking at is an art exhibit or just an ordinary person going about their business. Art blurs with everyday life all over the place, with coffee shops looking like installations and installations looking like coffee shops. Elsewhere a sleeping security guard on the Hauser & Wirth stand turns out to be an art exhibit by Christoph Büchel (apparently he suffers from narcolepsy, rather than being drugged) while at Carlos/Ishikawa’s stand in the Focus section you can get your nails painted.
4. The Sculpture Park
Frieze is pricey – £33 for a day ticket or £15 for a two-hour visit between 5 and 7pm. But you can get a sense of the buzz without having to fork out any cash by taking a stroll through Regent’s Park and checking out the sculptures, which this year include a deflated-looking giant creature from Kaws and even a video piece featuring Martin Creed’s bottom.
5. Other people
From watching the very wealthy at work to looking out for art kooks, half the fun of Frieze lies in its opportunities for people watching. And this year, the architecture seems to actively encourage this, with the cafes designed with special windows that frame the inhabitants like artworks. So sit back, grab a coffee and watch the art world go by.
Frieze Art Fair and Frieze Masters take place in London’s Regent’s Park until Saturday and Sunday, respectively. More info is at frieze.com.