Frieze Art Fair (5th October 2018)
To be honest I never heard about this fair before but when Janja told us that we are going to this fair. I just wondering it must be a cool fair and I need to know what this event is ….
Frieze Art Fair is an international contemporary art fair in London and New York which organized by Frieze (media and event company). This event takes place every October since 2003 at Regent’s Park London and every May since 2014 at New York.
(More information about Frieze on https://frieze.com/)
Branding and positioning issue
There are many art fairs in this city, London. Why we have to go to this fair? Why Janja make us go to this event instead of other free events? What make this event special?
Then I searched for it… for answering my why. I found out that elements which make Frieze Art Fair different from others is that this fair focus only on contemporary art and living artists. It presents only works which are created in post-2000. There are many art galleries around the world in this event which has been selected from Frieze team to showcase their art pieces and sale it. Therefore, it’s not only galleries owners present in this event but also real artists who came to explain their idea in their own works. So, it’s such a great opportunity to talk with a real artists and exchange ideas and perspectives with them. Moreover, the wide range of the art pieces such as painting, performance, sculpture, photography, typography and innovation practice which made this event more interesting.
While I was walking in the fair I didn’t expect that there will be a lot of people like this. And the way all the visitors dressed made me feel like wWhoooooa… Am I in a fashion week or something? …. To be honest I have no idea that what the nationality visitors are. Anyway, I will make it easier by using my face (Asian appearance) to be a measurement to diving them into two groups: Asian appearance (They could be Asian or not Asian) and non-Asian appearance (It could be British, American or European) From my observation, most of the them are non-Asian visitors like I could say 90% and only 10% is Asian. Similarly, those galleries are mostly from Western countries.
Frieze takes place at the heart of London, one of the royal parks, Regent’s Park. It’s so convenience for visitors because it’s near the tube station. Right at the entrance, we received a welcome from staffs in black suits. They checked our tickets and gave us map and magazine of the fair. In the area, there were 2 main sections: showcases and relaxing areas (reading and café area).
“The annual non-profit programme includes Frieze Artist Award, presenting new, site-specific works by contemporary artists; Frieze Film, new film commissions premiered at the fair; Frieze Music, the fair’s off-site music programme; and Frieze Talks, a dynamic series of panel discussions, conversations and keynote lectures. In the curated gallery sections, Focus features presentations by galleries aged 12 years or younger and Live is a space for performance and participation works.”
Walking inside the building, the space in this fair is quite big. With a good planning and managing, it’s easy to walk through all the galleries without confusing. Interior space is all white and It comes with a high translucent ceiling. So overall it made the atmosphere wide, bright and airy although there were a lot of art pieces. They separated each gallery by the high white panels (around 3.5 meters height). Most of art pieces presented on the floor in each galleries’ space but some pieces were hung on the panels and some pieces were hung down from the structure of the ceiling. Even though there were a natural light passing through the ceiling in daytime, they also provided lights for spaces and every art pieces. I could say that the architecture, structure and interior space are not only perfect for the art fair but also the visitors.
When I left the fair, I got a lot of questions pop-up in my head.
What Frieze will get from this fair?
What the galleries will get from this fair?
What the audience will get from this fair?
How they evaluate the art pieces?
How it works?
…after I’m done with the reading. I understand more about it, art fair.
Frieze has created Frieze art fair which use one of two network structures. The structure which connected art to market: artists/ galleries with dealers, collectors, media and professionals.
Basirico (1986) stated that some people use art fair to build their own reputation. This, in turn, joining in the art fair is like being in the same pack of similar galleries and building up their reputation in the same time. Furthermore, it’s also help galleries to set up price for art pieces. There are many elements to building the reputation (many more than I thought): for example, a galleries’ location in the fair, an identity among the similarity, a corpus of artists or art pieces’ selling price. All of those elements could bring all attention from media and people to those galleries who has them.
It can be seen that gathering of artists or galleries will always attract media and people who interests in same specific field, such as artists, professionals, collectors and curators. Once the galleries can attend to each fair, it means that those galleries have enough quality or enough creativity to join in the fair. Therefore, there are many galleries around the world sent their profile in order to joining in Frieze. However, it’s not every gallery can be in this fair. Frieze team has to choose only galleries that being out-standing or reaching their standard. This, in turn, it proved that people who believe and trust in Frieze will also trust in the quality of each gallery.
“A poet needs a printer to publish his writings; a photographer involves technicians to develop her images; and musicians require someone to craft instruments. Because every art rests on such a division of labor, collaboration and cooperation”
Howard C. Becker (1982)
To sum up, from my perspective, ‘Art fair – Network’ is working in a circle.
Galleries/ Artists: building a reputation, selling art pieces, getting connection
Art Fair: being well-known in specific field of art fair, getting a profit (all fees), promoting their organization
Visitors/ Dealer: buying art pieces, building a reputation for themselves (like if they bought with the highest price, media will pay attention in both gallery and dealer), appreciating arts, getting connection
Art fair is working like a network, a network of cooperating people (Becker 1982).
This is a story from me,