Guy Trebay does his best to epater la haute bourgoisie in his New York Times piece on Frieze NY 2013 with the obligatory darkly threatening reminder that all of this fascination with art and the money that drives it will surely end soon…and in tears. Nonetheless, Trebay is a very talented depicter of scenes:
It is well established that over the last decade the seasonally migrating creatures at the top of the economic food chain have turned the pursuit of contemporary art into a defining marker of wealth and social status. They move across continents and oceans — Frieze this week, Venice later in the month for the Biennale, Switzerland in June for the august Basel Art Fair, granddaddy of them all — in a pack, showing all the signs of what the collector Don Rubell on Thursday termed “a herd mentality.” They browse and they forage. They consume voraciously.
“I bought already a Piotr Uklanski and a Jeppe Hein,” Joanna Przetakiewicz, a collector based in London and St. Moritz, said early Thursday afternoon, tapping open her smartphone to check the details of an hourlong shopping spree during which she had spent close to a million dollars on just two works.
“I am going to buy as well an Anish Kapoor,” Ms. Przetakiewicz added, referring to a wall-mounted stainless steel disc with an asking price she said was 650,000 British pounds. “But I want it in pink.”
This is surely what Jed Perl had in mind when he wrote:
Art collectors used to be inclined to be secretive. Now they’re pretty much all publicity hounds.[…] The bleached-chic style can make ignorance and mendacity look pretty. At a time when the people with the heaps of money are terrified of anything that isn’t “curated,” whether it’s their Louboutins or their Warhols, Frieze is so finely curated that it becomes its own conceptual art work, annihilating whatever art happens to be on display. […] Henry James would have savored the drop-dead elegance and seen straight through to the corruption, although you might want a little help from Marx or Keynes (take your pick) to explain exactly how it all works.
At Frieze, The Elite Browse and Forage (NY Times)
Frieze New York, a VIP Art Fair for Our Gilded Age (The New Republic)