Ben Luke reviews the London Art Fair in the The Evening Standard. Before Frieze, this was London’s Art Fair and Luke points out that it remains a more practical and broad-based fair than its flashy Contemporary counterpart:
The main part of the event is dominated by fair-to-middling modern British painting by the likes of Ivon Hitchens and Roger Hilton — plenty of plodding figuration and polite abstraction but not much to grab the attention. Occasional highlights leap out, like Patrick Caulfield’s deep blue Girl on a Terrace (1971) at Whitford Fine Art, and various prints by modern masters like Matisse and Picasso. Good recent works, including relatively affordable editions by Julian Opie and Ian Davenport at Alan Cristea, also offer a break from the mediocre morass.
The art projects section, which brings together young galleries from London and elsewhere, is refreshingly experimental. Here, Bearspace of Deptford has brought together some 93 works, mostly by emerging artists, though some are by notable figures like David Shrigley. Meanwhile, New York’s Foley Gallery presents just one artist, Thomas Allen, who takes photographs of sculptural collages made from the covers of pulp fiction novels. The Photo50 section nearby is similarly strong, bringing together 13 photographers selected by art-world luminaries such as the ICA’s Ekow Eshun and Anita Zabludowicz, founder of 176 gallery — Dan Holdsworth, creator of epic, atmospheric landscapes, is my favourite.
These two subsections are the real highlights of a fair which I otherwise find a little staid, like the London art world used to be, before it upped its game and entered the big league.
Where’s the Fund of the Fair (Evening Standard)