A Round Up of Frieze Art Fair 2009

It has been remarked that Frieze Art Fair is pretty much like the circus coming to town. It’s extraordinary that this Fair, in its seventh year, has such a massive global impact. Everyone I speak to says, “it’s so hectic, but what do you expect from Frieze Week.” Fair enough. I’ve never had any direct dealings with the Fair or the Magazine, but as someone who founded and directs a contemporary art magazine, I have a lot of respect for Matthew Slotover and Amanda Sharp.

Everyone’s been talking for over 18 months about the recession, hard times ahead, hard times behind, this is the end, and this is the beginning. The contemporary art world has felt the affects without a doubt. But, at the close of the seventh edition of Frieze Art Fair, sponsored by Deutsche Bank, participating galleries reported clear evidence of renewed confidence in the contemporary art market.

Fair directors, Matthew Slotover and Amanda Sharp were delighted with reports of significant sales from new and established galleries exhibiting at the 2009 fair, as well as the enjoyable and positive atmosphere engendered at the event and commented: ‘We have been extremely pleased by the extent of the sales successes reported by major US, European, Latin American and UK galleries as well as the younger galleries in our new Frame section. The strong museum shows in London coinciding with the fair helped to attract the world’s most important collectors, curators and museum directors. The galleries have rewarded UK and international visitors by bringing great pieces of the highest standard to Frieze Art Fair this year and everyone involved has commented on the great atmosphere this week.’

Frieze Art Fair 2009 presented 165 of the world’s leading galleries from 30 countries. The fair welcomed 29 new galleries under 6 years old as part of Frame, and 24 further new galleries. Over 1,000 artists were showcased. Visitor figures once again reached 60,000 making attendance comparable to the last two years.

Sales at Frieze Art Fair 2009 reflected the breadth of artists and works on show. Hauser & Wirth sold a Louise Bourgeois sculpture, The Couple, to a European collection for $3.5 million, Neo Rauch’s Harmios sold for $1 million at David Zwirner, a Baldessari Beethoven’s Trumpet (with Ear) Opus 133 on the Sprüth Magers stand sold for $400,000, and Eva Presenhuber sold its Ugo Rondinone work A Day Like This Made of Nothing and Nothing Else for €270,000. Alison Jacques reported the sale of a Hannah Wilke bronze for $150,000 while at Frame, Seventeen Gallery sold a work by Susan Collis for £35,000, and Project 88 from Mumbai sold an original Sarnath Banerjee work for £8,000.

The new section to the fair, Frame, was extremely popular with collectors, visitors and gallerists, and allowed younger galleries to show at Frieze Art Fair for the first time. Curators Daniel Baumann and Sarah McCrory who were special advisors to Frame in 2009 commented, ‘Frame has been an amazing success. Not only have the presentations been well received critically, but also many galleries have reported great sales. The galleries have been positive about the architecture of the space and the atmosphere and many of the participating artists have received invitations to show in major institutions.’

International galleries were almost entirely uniform in their response to the fair, recognising strong sales and a positive change of mood:

Iwan Wirth of Hauser&Wirth said (Number 11 of ArtReview’s Power 100), ‘For us, this has been one of our best Frieze Art Fairs ever. We’re delighted to have sold Louise Bourgeois’s sculpture ‘The Couple’ to a European collection. Also on show in the park, Paul McCarthy’s Henry Moore Bound to Fail is on hold. We had a great success with Ida Applebroog, selling all the works on our booth, proving just how important it is to focus on older as well as younger generation artists. At this point in time, we have sold works by Andreas Hofer, Roni Horn, Wilhelm Sasnal, Bharti Kher, Subodh Gupta, Paul McCarthy, Michael Raedecker, Hans Josephsohn, Henry Moore, Christopher Orr, Zhang Enli, David Zink Yi and Jakub Julian Ziolkowski. Sales have been steady and consistent throughout.’

Carol Greene of Greene Naftali Gallery in NYC said, ‘Frieze Art Fair was an extraordinary success for us. We had low expectations but surpassed all our past fair sales. We also felt that we were able to not just place works but to engage in meaningful conversations with the collectors, curators and artists, which will have more consequences over time. We did choose to focus our booth on fewer artists and made stronger statements with larger works by artists like Bjarne Melgaard, Rachel Harrison and Gedi Sibony – all of which were very well received. We sold the majority of our work in the first three hours but had very focused good collectors the entire time. This is a fair in which every day something happens.’

Nicholas Logsdail of Lisson Gallery remarked, ‘We have done astonishingly well right across the board, from young artists to the old classics and the middle generation. We have made 40 sales, the value of which is in the millions. We really are astonished how incredibly robust the interest and recovery has been; also interesting is the depth and breadth of clients has vastly developed. Congratulations to Frieze for working so hard to develop the fair way beyond its previous levels of success. We’ve had brilliant success with Frieze Projects artist Ryan Gander and with Anish Kapoor, Shirazeh Houshiary has been a complete sell out. It has been one of the best years.’

Alison Jacques Gallery said, ‘We’ve had an exceptional Frieze Art Fair. Strong sales and great museum interest, within a fair that takes care of its exhibitors. We showed Hannah Wilke for the first time since working with the entire estate, and are delighted with the response.’

Sree Goswami Director of Project 88 remarked, ‘It has gone very well for us. We’ve sold to corporate collections and new buyers. There is a really good vibe and feel to the Frame section and it has been very carefully selected which is a bonus for collectors. We have sold all our Sarnath Banerjee original works. We have seen many Indian clients and have benefitted from the number of Indian artists that are having gallery and institutional shows throughout London.’

Markus Lüttgen of Lüttgenmeijer commented, ‘Couldn’t have been better – perfect. I think people are willing to buy again. We sold our Gareth Moore installation Neither Here nor There (2009) to the Tate and have sold other works too.’

Dave Hoyland, owner of Seventeen was delighted. ‘It has been amazing and vastly surpassed our expectations. We have placed all the work with great collections, mostly to Americans and also Belgian and Dutch collectors. We’re flattered to be here, the architecture of the Frame section is great and the respect shown to younger galleries has been amazing.’

Alexander Hertling, co-director of Balice Hertling Gallery observed, ‘We’ve met lots of institutional people and finalized exhibition projects. It has been a very international crowd and we have seen people from Eastern Europe, the Middle East and other new markets. We did think that showing a French artist could have been difficult but we could have sold our Isabelle Cornaro installation Landscape with Poussin, four times over.’

Toby Webster of The Modern Institute said, ‘The level of people here has been really important. Although we have been selling recently the mood has been down – however, here this has changed and the fear factor seems to have calmed. We were selling works well into the weekend, whereas other fairs stop. There’s a great pace to Frieze and we’ve got a great spread of sales from small drawings to installations, from beginners to major-league buyers.’

Maureen Paley (Consequentially Number 87 of ArtReview’s Power 100) commented, ‘The fair has been essential, extremely active and we are more than pleased with the response to works by Wolfgang Tillmans, Gillian Wearing, Rebecca Warren and Kaye Donachie. Overall the energy seemed high and the fair has been concentrated and focused. The energy Frieze Art Fair brings to the whole of London is quite phenomenal.’

Peter Kilchmann of Galerie Peter Kilchmann noted, ‘It was a very good fair and the first two days were particularly fantastic. We are very happy with the sales that we have made and there has been a nice atmosphere. The Tate acquisition of Artur Zmijewski’s Democracies (2009) has brought a big interest to a less-well-known artist and that is very pleasing.’

Anthony Reynolds commented, ‘We have used the fair to launch a completely new artist, Asier Mendizabal, and it has worked out well, we have had a fantastic response both privately and institutionally and sold internationally.’

Jason Duval from Michael Werner observed, ‘It is our first time here and it was very successful – we’ve had sales. We’ve made lots of contacts that will be useful in the future with new collectors and new curators.’

Ben Faga from Richard Telles reported, ‘We’ve sold the things we brought and we’ve had lots of interest in work that is at the gallery too. There is a new generation of collectors here, which is promising.’

Wim Peeters of first-time exhibitors Office Baroque stated, ‘We’ve done great sales and met great curators – the balance between the market and content has been perfect. A new generation of artists has received proper attention and around the fair there seems to be an interest in different generations that might have been underexposed until now. This means renegotiating our understanding of art history and contemporary art, and we have participated in this ourselves by showing a 1965 Owen Land work. It’s been a real success.’

On winning the inaugural Frieze Art Fair Stand Prize, sponsored by Champagne
Pommery, Jeanne Greenberg-Rohatyn, Director, Salon 94, said, ‘We are incredibly proud of the art we showcased at Frieze including David Hammons’ Flight Fantasy which we are pleased to have sold. The stand was carefully conceived to best display the creativity of our artists and we are thrilled to be recognised by Frieze Art Fair’s distinguished judges.’

Collectors from the US, Europe, Asia and the Middle East were in prominence at the fair. Marty Eisenberg said, ‘Rebecca and I had a fantastic time at Frieze Art Fair. The community that came together this year made the event special in every way. The art on display was first rate, and the exhibitions and planned events throughout London made every day enlightening. Best of all we came away with some wonderful purchases.’

Frieze Projects, curated by Neville Wakefield and presented in association with Cartier, received huge critical acclaim. Artists commissioned this year were Mike Bouchet, Kim Coleman and Jenny Hogarth, Ruth Ewan, Ryan Gander, Per-Oskar Leu, Monika Sosnowska, Stephanie Syjuco, and Superflex. Cartier Award 2009 winner Jordan Wolfson’s commission presented at the fair was Your Napoleon.

The Sculpture Park in 2009 showed work from established artists including Louise Bourgeois and Paul McCarthy. Younger artists such as Vanessa Billy showed work in the Sculpture Park with the help of the second year of sponsorship from the Heath Lambert Group, incorporating Blackwall Green.

What ever you might think of Frieze Art Fair, it’s truly an event. Aesthetica is the Media Partner for the following up and coming fairs: London Art Fair (January 2010), and Verge Art Fair Miami(December 2009) and Art Brussels (February 2010).

Frieze Art Fair 2010 will be held in Regent’s Park, London, from 14 to 17 October 2010.

Visit www.frieze.com to download Frieze Talks 2009.
Visit www.guardian.co.uk for vodcasts and podcasts from Frieze Art Fair 2009.


Image credits

Frieze Art Fair in Regent’s Park, London, UK
Image Credits: Photo by Linda Nylind, Courtesy of Frieze l 17 October 2009

General View, Frieze Art Fair in Regent’s Park, London, UK
Image Credits: Photo by Linda Nylind, Courtesy of Frieze l 16 October 2009

Frieze Art Fair Sculpture Park 2009: Louise Bourgeois ‘The Couple’ (2003), Frieze Art Fair in Regent’s Park, London, UK
Image Credits: Photo by Linda Nylind, Courtesy of Frieze l 14 October 2009