Photo by Linda Nylind
Many who attended the V.I.P preview of Frieze Contemporary and Frieze Masters—the two sibling art fairs held earlier last month (October 17–20) in London’s Regent’s Park (friezelondon.com; friezemasters.com)—whispered concerns that they had missed a secret pre-preview. After all, where were the celebrities? In years past, the event, organized the afternoon before the buzzy opening evening party, was a prime place to spot Kate Moss, Stephanie Seymour, Sienna Miller, Claudia Schiffer, Brad Pitt and similarly art-savvy stars.
This year, however, was all about art stars and their work. Dasha Zhukova and Suzy Menkes were among the insiders to bridge fashion and art, but the biggest name making the rounds was Jeff Koons. The American pop master was spotted among his massive sculptures at the Gagosian Gallery booth, and was one of countless attendees to have his photo taken next to his mirror-polished steel sculptures of a lobster, a kitten and a foil-wrapped chocolate heart. The pieces were rumored to have sold for $30 million.
The inventory at both fairs was worth nearly $2 billion. Frieze Masters covered centuries of art with 130 galleries represented and an emphasis on the secondary market, while the 11th edition of Frieze Contemporary presented the world’s best avant-garde pieces from 152 galleries. Each tent had its own personality; together they formed the top event on the international art calendar. Crowd-pleasers included Eduardo T. Basualdo’s hanging boulder (TEORIA [Theory, 2013]) in the booth of Berlin-based PSM, and Jennifer Rubell’s giant-sized womb in Portrait of the Artist, 2013.
So where were all the celebrities? Many feted Frieze off-site at a gala hosted by fashion designer Sarah Burton at Christ Church Spitalfields. Florence Welch, Kate Moss and Edie Campbell gathered with their art-world counterparts like Tracey Emin, John Currin and Frieze’s founders, Matthew Slotover and Amanda Sharp.