And then after two days and many hours of probing and poking and now and again delighting at the vast (vast) vastness of the contemporary art fair that is Frieze London 2016, you kick yourself for wasting all that art exploring time when you really should have been in here from the b of bang. The whole of the four days of Frieze should have been spent in here, never mind virtual reality blue zone playgrounds or a Christmas shop window decoration deer or a black sheep in a tank, never mind the table of pretty pink things however exciting Portia Munson’s table was. never mind the disappointment of a football shirt hanging on a wall, all that pales in to little more than the conservative support act, all blown away once the main band comes on, all out of the window and out of your mind when you find yourself close up and intimate with that beautifully unbroken Egon Schiele line that’s hanging there, (right there!, And there’s another one!) Right there, just quietly hanging right there next to a delicately powerful Gustav Klimt drawing, look at that Klimt drawing! Never mind all that stuff in the other aircraft hangar of a tent, this is where it really is at this week! There are things in here we’re probably never ever going to get to see in the flesh again, there’s once in a lifetime opportunities everywhere you look, pieces from private galleries on the other side of the globe heading for private collections never to see the light of day again, that wonderful Schiele drawing there with the red “sold” dot on it, that it really really is a privilege to have been able to see for real (not reproduced in a book or a print or on-line and digitally devastated, the real leaving breathing thing actually there, to look at, to see the texture of the paper, to look at the marks (where are the guide marks? One take, really?!) and get a sense of it being made, to actually feel the artist handling the crayon and paper.
Now this really is where art excites, this is brilliant (on no museum rope or a million tourists passing through and heading for the gift shop, people like me never get close up like this… look at that Picasso just hanging there with no one much looking at it, is that another Basquiat right there in the flesh? Right there living and breathing, bumps and bruises, texture and scale – not on a poster or in a book or some retrospective show where you can buy the t-shirt and the souvenir colouring-in book before you leave – right there, one last chance before a collector buys it and locks it in a vault or some rap singer buys it, hangs it on his wall and shoots it… The more I see paint the more I like everything (to misquote the man).
And look at that fourteenth century calligraphy, that medieval illuminated manuscript, look how it glows in real life, or that Dali chair over there (okay, Dali never did it for me, but it is good ot see, red lips almost wanting you to sit on them), or that Warhol quietly serenely hanging there minding no one’s business, or that red and gold Hisao Demoto piece beautifully lit on that black wall, or that sixteenth century Gabriel De La Corte painting over there. I’m getting drunk in here, nurse, oxygen please!
If you can’t get excited in here with all these treasures then you’re just not alive, look at that Howard Hodgkin there, look at the paint, the colour, the yellow next to the red, look! Back of the neck indeed, and that room full of the big Paula Rego paintings and that big 1960 Shozo Shimamoto painting (what a nightmare to move that about, I want to go and thank the people from the gallery, I know that in reality this is a salesroom, but hey, thank you!) I know I could see one in the Tate, but not like this, right up like this, there, just me and Shozo and the paint and the movement – look at the texture, look at that movement, the layers, look at the thickness of the paint, the plaster, the pure pleasure and the forming of it, the reds, the flow, the yellows, the twist of the artist’s hand, arm, the movement of the artist’s body, and there it is in the flesh, hanging right there, how fast was he? So much grace, the dance of paint, right there, wonderful…
Oh look, last day of Frieze today, it opens in an hour, I don’t have time to be here writing this, I need more, I need to get back there, need to go explore Frieze Masters some more. There’s things we might never ever get to see in the flesh again, intoxicating things, brilliant things, intimate things, glorious things, beautiful things, painting alive, masters indeed – art excites, got to go….
Frieze Masters is the only place to really be this week and yes, I know I’m lucky to have a press pass that gets me in again and again, yeah I know, lucky me, sorry, perk of the job, all the time and sacrifice and hey, got to go, art really does excite, got to see those drawings again, got to see that paint again, one last chance before it goes forever (SW)
Frieze Masters is on for one more day today, Sunday October 9th, in Regent’s Park London (as is the contemporary version of Frieze) Midday until 7pm I think…
Click on an image to enlarge or run the fractured slide show (the names and such will be added later, got to go)