The founders of Frieze don’t think or plan, they ‘conceptualize.” And because they are already the undisputed masters of art fairs in the world’s two greatest cities (not that they don’t get plenty of queries to consider blessing other less fortunate settlements with their magic) there is little left for them to do in the art fair realm. As such, Matthew Slotover and Amanda Sharp are handing over Frieze to a trusted lieutenant so they might survey greater prospects.
The above sounds like parody but is barely a gloss on Georgina Adam’s description of today’s announcement that Victoria Siddall is now in charge of Frieze:
She is also a board member of the very tightly run operation, which still belongs to Slotover and Sharp and has a simple structure with two companies, one for publishing and one for events. As part of the changeover, the chairman of the board and collector of African art Robert Devereux has stepped down, and another chairman is soon to be appointed from within the business world.
“We have had no external investment for the last 23 years,” says Slotover. “We control the whole thing. Some of our ideas for the future could be very capital intensive, so we might look for partnerships – but I don’t want to jump in.” Nor will he be drawn further on what their plans might be.
One thing is for sure, he says: “The handover to Victoria doesn’t mean that we are going on holiday. Frieze is still what we do, we have been in the art world for almost a generation, and that’s not about to change.”
A nicer version of this press would simply have been for the founders to state that Victoria Siddall had proved herself exceptionally capable at her job and had earned a well-deserved promotion. Congratulations, to her!