The 9th annual Frieze Art Fair opened on Wednesday morning…scattering the VIP entry times avoided the uncomfortable crunch witnessed at the opening of Art Basel in June. Frieze hosted 173 of the world’s leading contemporary galleries, representing 33 countries and presenting works by over 1000 artists. There are also satellite fairs including Pavilion of Art & Design. Many galleries continue to impress and titillate the senses. Here are a few of my favorites: Emmanuel Perrotin’s booth showing a life-sized morgue wall and dead body sculpture by Elmgreen and Dragset, Thomas Dane’s booth showing Michael Landy’s kinetic sculpture, “Credit Card Destroying Machine” and White Cube’s Marc Quinn “Zombie Boy.”
Wednesday evening kicked off the contemporary auctions. Bonham’s, which opened on New Bond Street in their renovated premises, joined the auction brigade this season to become the fourth auction house to hold contemporary sales in London. The results of the evening sales varied as follows:
Christie’s sale totaled GBP 38,000,000 with 89% sold, Sotheby’s totaled GBP 17,800,000 with 77% sold, Phillips de Pury totaled GBP 8,200,000 with 67% sold and Bonham’s totaled GBP 2,042,000 with 70% sold. The Christie’s auction had the best quality and therefore had the best results. The lackluster works offered at the other auction houses did not attract lots of bidding, thus works went on the low side or did not sell. Quality always prevails!
On the way to the airport, four galleries caught my eye.
Pilar Ordovas’ exhibition, “Irrational Marks: Bacon, Rembrandt” in her new space on Savile Row, shows how Rembrandt’s “Self-Portrait with Beret” from 1659 influenced Bacon. This can be seen in a video of Bacon discussing Rembrandt on the lower level of the gallery.
The Luxembourg-Dayan gallery inaugurated their new space on Savile Row with part I of “Grisaille” curated by Alison Gingeras, part II opening in New York on November 7th. Works inspired by the absence of color included the workshop of Durer, Picasso, Richter, Leger, Rob Pruitt and Twombly.
On view on Mount Street at Modern Collections, the new secondary market gallery is, “Walker Walker Guyton Guyton” under the directorship of Iniigo Philbrick. It features Kelly Walker and Wade Guyton who met many years ago and who are the darlings of the art world at the moment.
My last stop was a visit to my friend Wim Delvoye’s first solo exhibition at Robilant+Voena on Dover Street. This Belgian conceptual artist’s work ranges from intricate steel sculptures to tattooed pig-skins. The Louvre will have an exhibition of Wim’s works in the near future, many of which I saw in his studio in Ghent this summer.
Off to Heathrow!