ORGAN: Frieze is vast, art excites, a first bite (not a snipe) at what’s on offer this weekend..

FRIEZE LONDON 2016 -

FRIEZE LONDON 2016 –

A first day fractured look: Frieze is vast, almost overwhelming, Frieze is exciting, going to Frieze is exciting, Frieze is awful, hatefully so, some of it brilliant, some of it really is soul-sucking, some of it dreadfully so, who are these people? What kind of world do they come from? Not very friendly are they? Don’t try to talk to me, you can’t afford the art, don’t waste my time with conversation, I really don’t care – doesn’t he know who I am? he doesn’t know how much I have in my back pocket, I might be some dressed_down bass player just back from a world tour looking to add to my already extensive collection – like him over there, he’s doing just that, I won’t name him, not by business to expose what dressed-down heavy metal stars do with their cash.

FRIEZE LONDON 2016 -

FRIEZE LONDON 2016 –

Easy to snipe at Frieze and everything it stands for, a world completely out of touch with most people’s reality (most artist’s reality) a world oblivious, you might say almost offensively so. I do like Frieze thought, I do like going, the good bit is the actual art, art excites, as we’ve said several time already this week – well some of it does (some of it in here really isn’t so good and you do wonder who on earth thought giving that one wall space was anything like a good idea?), most of it, as you would expect from some of the top galleries from around the globe, is rather good, occasionally something genuinely thrills, oh wow!  Now and again a piece really does excite – something over there demanding immediate attention.  The good bit of Frieze is the actual art, the rest of it? Well, the rest of it, I really don’t know what to make of the resat of it, how much for a cup of tea? Seriously? You’re having a giraffe lady?  It is very very easy to snipe at Frieze and all it stands for, but it does excite, art does excite, and once again we’ve been invited to come along and do just that, well no, I doubt they invited us to come and snipe, once again Frieze have invited us along to cover the four-day event, it would be rude not to take up the offer really, let’s go explore some art and see what the world’s high-end galleries have to offer…

FRIEZE LONDON 2016 -

FRIEZE LONDON 2016 –

“How much is that one priced at?” said the rather conservatively well-dressed woman with the slightly North American sounding accent, “that one is priced at thirty-five thousand dollars” replied the gallery woman in that matter-of-fact way a shop assistant selling you a thirty pound pair of shoes might react, “I rather think I might have that one says rather conservatively well-dressed woman with the slightly North American sounding accent as I’m stood next to her thinking…. well it doesn’t really matter what I was thinking, but that is the kind of thing you overhear when standing looking at a piece of art…

FRIEZE LONDON 2016 -

FRIEZE LONDON 2016 –

What to make of the first full day of 2016’s Frieze London then? What to make of the whole idea of art fairs? This is more of a trade fair for the elite galleries of the world isn’t it? The kind of galleries run my middle age men in expensive suits and open neck shirts, middle age men rebellious enough to forego the tie – almost the uniform in here.. The crowds are rolling in for the first day midday opening, the lift at the tube station abuzz with European voices, the taxis decanting expensive looking designer labels, people dressed for the occasion (or maybe just in their everyday clothing, who knows?). And yes there is a buzz in the air, does art excite them as well? Or is it the occasion? Wimbledon last month, the London art season this month?

The Frieze Art Fair has taken over a large part of Regent’s Park as it does every year, satellite events are jousting all over London and hoping for some fall out, all wanting a slice of the action, hashtagging Frieze in an attempt to grab a slice of the pie. This is the big one though, Frieze is where the serious stuff is happening, this is the mother of all London art fairs. What’s he doing here? Aren’t England playing this week, shouldn’t he be training? Taking Malta for granted?  Oh, it is oh so very easy to snipe at Frieze and all it stands for, to have an even bigger chip on that over-burdened shoulder than usual – but art does excite and there is so much of it in here and look at that painting over there!  Oh yes, have to admit to a slight feeling of excitement along with my cynical smile and my sniping sneer as I join the crowd leaving Regent’s Part tube station, art excites.

FRIEZE LONDON 2016 -

FRIEZE LONDON 2016 –

There’s a couple of artists setting up on the railings outside, “Micro Frieze Fair” read the sign, official logo, they won’t get away with that for long, seems like a cheap shot, this isn’t the time and place for a stunt – they’ve either given up or most probably been moved on by the time we leave dome four hours later. Four hours and it still feels like things were missed, feels like there still more to be explored. Frieze is vast, overwhelming, a lot of it really isn’t that friendly, clearly I don’t look like I have art-buying wedge in my back pocket. There’s beauty in here amongst it all though, there’s some beautiful art, some cleaver art, some provoking art, the price tags might be much (much) larger and I’m really not that convinced that there’s anything better in here than the art we encounter in the back streets, studios and basements of East London most week but there is some fine fine contemporary art in here. But is that reclining figure as intriguing as Rosso’s down that basement gallery the other day, or Bruce Lovelock and his bananas? Are those womanly words over there as mischievously barbed and cutting as say Julia Maddison’s would be? Are those statements there as powerful as Megan Pickering’s Breadline piece that was up on that wall last week? Or that Emma Harvey Boys Suck circle? Agata Cardoso paintings with camera? Or is that precise piece there as pin-point quite as good as say a Clive and Hanz piece would be?  Is there anything as good as a Ben Fenton painting in here? Didn’t we say this same thing last year? It is still the case this year, actually more so this year. Strange worlds, never the two to meet, and no that is not a broke-ass East London artist snipping jealously and firing bitter pills at the establishment, it is simple fact.  Yes there is some exciting art in here, some brilliant art, but nothing anymore exciting than say Aida Wilde or….  Well it isn’t, give us one of these booths and we’ll fill it with the energy sadly lacking from most of there white cubes.

FRIEZE LONDON 2016 -

FRIEZE LONDON 2016 –

And talking of white cubes, there’s a black sheep in a tank, didn’t look at the price, it is all about the price of those animals in the tanks isn’t it? is that all he’s got? A black sheep in a tank, surely that’s just an old piece dredged up? Must be, oh yes, 2007. The Magnus Plessen piece of the White Cube white cube wall was rather impressive though, that as a small pocket of painterly charcoal and oil energy.  There’s no real real sense of energy in here though, no real altitude, nothing that feels like it might kick start something, outrage somebody, annoy a tabloid or two (the tabloid journalists in the press room are looking and sounding bored, must have missed the footballer).  When there is an exciting piece, then that piece politely exciting…

FRIEZE LONDON 2016 -

FRIEZE LONDON 2016 –

New York’s P.P.O.W gallery politely excites, There’s some strong charcoal plant drawings (more charcoal) and that collection of pink from Portia Munson can’t fail to excite – looks like she’s turned most of Instagram pink this morning.  The Juan Araujo pieces over in the Stephen Friedman Gallery cube excite, Donna Huanca does as well, Galeria Luisa Strina has some stand out pieces, the Raymond Hains 1971 torn poster piece Galerie Max Hetzier (Paris) are showing excites, the totem pole with the table football game in the middle of it – from ShanghArt gallery (Shanghai) – that kind of excites, that broken bell over there, that red painting on that wall – hey look, lots to see, lots to explore, some of it really exciting, although mostly politely so. Off for another look today, we’ll be back here with more words, some proper reactions, some names and those all important links – not that any of these galleries give a flying flip about any of what we have to say.  Some of their art does excite, most of it politely so, I get the impression they couldn’t care less what anyone outside of their price range thinks of any of it….  Part two coming up later, a closer look at the best of it and some names and well….  Friday morning, I’m off for some more once I;ve done a bit of work here, art excites. (sw)

Click on an image to enlarge or run the fractured slide show (we’ll be back later to add some names and place – but no prices – to the images)

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2 thoughts on “ORGAN: Frieze is vast, art excites, a first bite (not a snipe) at what’s on offer this weekend..

  1. Pingback: ORGAN at FRIEZE: Back for more – pink is for boys, blue is for girls, seconds out, round two… | THE ORGAN

  2. Pingback: ORGAN at FRIEZE: The ten artists or galleries who really did stand out at Frieze 2016…. | THE ORGAN

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