Matthew Slotover has some good quotes in The Independent’s story on the opening of this year’s Frieze fair in London. In them, Slotover addresses some of the backwards logic that has so many critics assuming that an interest in art is nothing but an excuse to indulge in some conspicuous consumption:
“Most don’t see art as purely a display of wealth. For many, there is a genuine engagement and they want to support the culture, and enrich their lives and engage in lifelong learning,” Mr Slotover says. “They could go and buy planes or yachts or cars, which wouldn’t do any of those things. It’s a minority of the wealthy that decide to buy art. If you look through the Sunday Times Rich List, most are not art collectors.”
Nor are the average punters. As Slotover remarks, the fair is primarily a venue for displaying art to a substantial public that never buys:
The majority of visitors to the show do not buy art, Mr Slotover says. “They don’t think of it as a commodity. They just want to see what’s going on. We sell out all our tickets in advance.”
Finally, the self-confident Slotover makes pains not to conflate the success of Contemporary art or the growth of London within the global art economy as a product of the fair:
“London’s status has increased but I wouldn’t put it down to the fair. We provide a focal point but there are bigger macroeconomic reasons,” Mr Slotover says.
“We’re lucky that the fair has lived through a period which has seen London grow. There have been changes in other cities as well, but London started from a much lower base. It had further to go. It is so much more international than it used to be.”
Frieze Co-Founder Defends ‘Ikea for Millionaires’ (The Independent)