What to See and Buy at Frieze Week

Courtesy the Artist and Lehmann Maupin Gallery, New York

Departures’ guide to browsing and shopping Frieze Week 2011.

Of the dozens—if not hundreds—of international contemporary-art fairs that have popped up during the art market’s staggering ascent this past decade, London’s Frieze remains a perennial favorite among patrons and professionals alike. Maybe it’s the critical cache (the fair was founded as an offshoot of the eponymous UK art journal); maybe it’s the strong extracurricular programming (think panels, performances and not-for-sale projects and installations); or maybe it’s the fact that unlike its counterparts, Frieze is held in airy, bright-white tents perched in the city’s idyllic Regent’s Park (as opposed to, say, a drab convention center).

Frieze will launch its eighth edition today, running through October 16. Inside the massive tents, well-healed representatives from 173 galleries (and 33 countries) will man booths adorned with some of the most cutting-edge contemporary art available. Competition is increasingly stiff. Frieze’s success has prompted the emergence of a slew of local satellite fairs (including the Pavilion of Art & Design, for those of you who favor more functional art), not to mention a string of “Frieze Week” auctions shilling equally blue-chip wares. Herewith, some of our favorite offerings.