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Frieze London (Oct 13th-17th)

Following last year’s hiatus during the pandemic, Frieze London finally returns to Regent’s Park this week (13–17 October). The Frieze fairs did not happen in person last year, save for a few select events, but were replaced by digital versions. Though the shows have now returned to the Regent’s Park, with Covid precautions in place in the two tent-like structures, they won’t snap back to their exact 2019 forms. “We’re going in two directions,” said Eva Langret, the artistic director of Frieze London. “We’re expanding the digital footprint, but also thinking about physical shows.”

Frieze’s online viewing rooms, like those for other fairs, are expected to be regular features from now on. What’s more surprising is that Frieze has also opened a physical gallery in London, No. 9 Cork Street, named for its Mayfair address. It will have three rotating shows put on by galleries from all over the world. The first shows, on view now, come from the dealers James Cohan, Commonwealth and Council and Proyectos Ultravioleta. “We want to support galleries year-round,” Ms. Langret said. “It’s premium space in London, which isn’t affordable for most dealers.”

With over 160 galleries from 35 countries taking part, it’s your chance to discover the world’s most exciting contemporary artists, from the emerging to the iconic. (Or, for more historical art, head to the nearby Frieze Masters.) Across the park, Frieze Masters has more than 130 galleries presenting older art. (Between the two fairs, dealers from 39 countries are represented.) Alan Cristea the gallery’s founder who has shown at both fairs, said that art in Masters dated to the start of time — “from God onwards” — and noted that softer lighting and wider aisles meant that the experience was more leisurely. “You can take time, and there’s less frenzy,” he added.

This year’s fair sees the addition of ‘Editions’, opening up the world of collecting to new audiences and offering the opportunity to buy amazing art at affordable prices. Don’t be put off if the closest you’ve got to collecting art is a dog-eared Athena poster from the 80s. The price range is roughly $1,500 to $25,000, “which for an art fair is cheap,” said the Mr. Cristea, who does seven or eight fairs a year, said that the pandemic had been a little easier to survive for print dealers. “It’s hard to imagine someone spending $20 million on a painting they haven’t seen in person, but with prints, as long as the client is familiar with the artist, they will spend money without seeing it in the flesh,” he said, noting that 2020 was a record year for the gallery “despite being closed half the time.”


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