Through Culture+, we are exploring different off-the-shelf avenues to promote Dorset’s creativity nationally and internationally. Laura visited the London Design Festival recently to see how others do it in that arena, and I visited the 15th London Frieze Art Fair.

I entered the English Garden side of Regent’s Park, where you can see sculptures from galleries across the world chosen by Clare Lilley the Director of Programme, Yorkshire Sculpture Park. This part of the fair is free to enter, and people can wander around the park freely to see the sculptures. My favourite is KAWS’, FINAL DAYS (2013) from Galerie Perrotin.

If you want to see all the sculptures displayed there visit

I then entered the enormous heated tent that hosted more than 1,000 works from 160 of the worlds ‘leading’ galleries from Lisson to Hauser & Wirth. Despite its size, it still felt packed, full of people, the kind of numbers you would see in a popular London attraction on a weekend (oh, wait, it is a London attraction, and it was the weekend).

Map of Frieze London 2017

The first thing you see is Jeff Koons’ Glitter Ball Judas that is a reworking of a 700 year old work by Giotto. You then see a range of white boxes representing galleries’ ‘newest’ or ‘future’ work. Displayed within them are a plethora of paintings, mix media, sculptures, installations and more. I found it too busy both with people and work; I find it really hard to concentrate and look at any piece properly in environments like that. I wondered whether this is somewhere real collectors would go or is it for people just to be seen?

Jonathan Jones‘ (Guardian Art Writer and Judge of 2009 Turner Prize) answer as to why people are there is because there is a perception that the fair defines the new in the art world. But he thinks; if this the new, the new is starting to look old and jaded. He then continued to say that “It’s not just boring, it’s meaningless. This is the overriding trouble with Frieze. It wants to be seen as so much more than it really is…” Jones also sees Frieze’s highlight on Feminist work to “be a desperate attempt to make this hyper-capitalist event look radical”.

I agree with him in some respects, especially because I feel that I have seen quite a chunk of the work or concepts presented before. I also agree to the fact that this is a hyper-capitalist event, where tickets are sold for £37 for the ability to see work that is sold from £6,000 upwards.

That said, I disagree on his view about the Hauser & Wirth stand, perhaps because I wasn’t lucky enough to have seen Damien Hirst’s: Treasures from the Wreck of the Unbelievable; Jones thinks this is what Hauser & Wirth is trying to replicate on a lesser scale. I actually found Hauser & Wirth Bronze Age c. 3500BC – AD 2017 stand, where they recreated a old style museum of the bronze age, refreshing. In the context of having seen multitude white boxes with highly contemporary work, and after wondering whether there was anything you can buy here that is under £10, I found myself in front of an faux vintage museum shop that sells pencils and rubbers; it was different and fun.

Hauser and Wirth Stand at Frieze 2017

You may have noticed that I seemed to have only enjoyed seeing cheap pencils and rubber from a fake museum shop in my visit so far. So here are the works that caught my eye:

The ingenious Olafur Eliasson’s Hinged View – spheres that changes from transparent, block colours then to black as you walk from one side to the other.

(This video is from youtube by Chris Maddenz)

Another work I thought was interesting was Jenny Holzer’s Hopeful – although I have seen this in the Tate, I still enjoyed it:

And finally Chalk Fresco by Pascale Marthine Tayou.


Have you been to Frieze or any other international art fair? What do you think about them?

If you are an artist, would you consider selling your work in a Frieze or to a gallery that has stands in the fair?