London art bonanza looks to past to bolster future

Tue Oct 9, 2012 10:02am EDT
Email This Article |
Share This Article
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
| Print This Article | Single Page
[-] Text [+]

By Mike Collett-White

LONDON (Reuters) - The most surprising thing about this year's Frieze art week, which puts London at the cutting edge of the contemporary art world every October, is that there is so much old art around.

The annual Frieze Art Fair will go ahead as usual in a giant marquee in Regent's Park, a grid of 175 galleries teeming with potential buyers and thousands of contemporary art lovers keen to keep up with the latest trends in a fast-moving world.

And there are the spin-off events across the capital designed to lure the world's wealthiest buyers - auctions, rival fairs, parties, gallery openings, exhibitions and discreet viewings far from the hullabaloo.

But unlike previous editions, the October 11-14 fair this year comes with a separate Frieze Masters event featuring 96 galleries offering works from across the last 4,000 years.

The reasons for the shift are both commercial and cultural.

Organizers and exhibiting galleries are hoping for more crossover business between contemporary art collectors and those more interested in older works.

They also want to explore art's relationship with the past, representing an acceptance that what came before should be appreciated as well as challenged by iconoclastic young artists.

"I suppose what makes it interesting is what's come out of conversations with contemporary artists," said Victoria Siddall, director of the new fair. "It becomes apparent that a lot of them are looking at works that were made a long time ago.   Continued...

Visitors look at Raphael's "Auxiliary cartoon for the Head of a Young Apostle from 1519-1520 which has an estimated value of £10 to £15 million (US$16 - $24 million) at Sotheby's London October 8, 2012. REUTERS/Suzanne Plunkett