Linda Yablonsky covered Frieze for ArtForum’s Scene & Herd column. This is who she saw; below is what she heard:
Frieze opened in its Regents Park tent as if the recession had never happened. The energy emanating from within was noticeable even before I got through the door. Sales began at 9 AM, prior to the VIP opening—but well, you know, in London there are VIPs and then there are VIPs. Some buyers were even museums, and not just Roman Abramovich or Norman Foster, who bought a large-scale version of the fabulous Grayson Perry tapestry on offer at Victoria Miro. Perry was in the booth, too, decked out in a Bo Peep bonnet and blue and white dirndl. Art stars (Tracey Emin and Kapoor among them) outnumbered celebrities like Gwyneth Paltrow and Alexander McQueen, but remarkably, it was art itself that carried the day.
And it was flying off the walls. Every single dealer I saw, among the 160 participating, was beaming. It was like the old days, everyone said, except for the discounts. “15 percent is the new 10 percent,” reported David Maupin, who was having little trouble finding takers for Emin’s offer to make a custom-neon portrait for those willing to pony up ten thousand pounds and answer fifteen personal questions ranging from “Do you talk when you make love?” to “Who is your favorite poet?” American collector Beth Swofford was debating whether to buy a Sigmar Polke painting with a higher price tag than she’d reckoned. “I was hoping not to fall in love with anything big and expensive,” she said with a sigh.
Walker Art Center curator Peter Eleey, a member of the committee awarding a ten-thousand-pound prize from sponsor Pommery Champagne to the best booth, let on that New York’s Salon 94 was the hands-down winner. “I could have sold the Barry X Ball pieces ten times over today,” said Jeanne Greenberg Rohatyn, the gallery’s owner, pointing to two alabaster busts, both carved by hand and with a diamond-cutting machine from the artist’s scan of Corradini’s La Purita (Veiled Woman). “Isn’t that cheating?” asked an onlooker new to the ways of contemporary art.
Different Class (ArtForum)