Liesl Schillinger pulls the whole Robert Fraser story together in one great Wall Street Journal piece that asks the question, did he matter?
“He was cooler than cool…. His shows set the tone for all the shows in London,” says the New York gallerist Tony Shafrazi, who was an art student in London in the ’60s when he met Fraser. Several other Londoners attempted the same feat—including John Dunbar (who was married briefly to Faithfull), with Indica Gallery, and John Kasmin, whose namesake gallery specialized in color-field paintings—but Fraser, Glimcher says, was the “ringmaster.” […]
Op artist Bridget Riley once said of Fraser that he “did have great potential, he did have gifts, he could have made a contribution. As it was, he was just a flash, a promise not fulfilled.” Arne Glimcher firmly disagrees. “His career was very successful. It wasn’t just a brief flash; it was a lasting flash. It changed the scene in London,” he said.
Shafrazi, who knew Fraser both in the 1960s and in the 1980s, pauses to reflect on Fraser’s legacy. “Let me give you a nutshell,” he says. “Robert was my hero; he was everybody’s hero. He was one of the most colorful people in the whole history of the art world. Certainly in the 20th century.”