Diving into Frieze London 2023’s evolving art scene
The London art fair celebrated its 20th issue exploring new landscapes. Here are The Rake’s favourite pieces.
Frieze London closed its doors yesterday (October 15th) for the twentieth time and — continuing our journey through the event's ever-evolving art scene — we delve into a different facet of one of the most prominent contemporary art fairs.
In 2003, when Amanda Sharp and Matthew Slotover launched their first Frieze event, it was an audacious experiment. The two innovative co-publishers of the eponymous contemporary art magazine were well-connected within the gallery realm but remained largely uncharted territory for collectors. However, fueled by the success of Tate Modern's opening in 2000 and the lingering spirit of irreverence from London's 1990s Young British Artists, they decided to venture into unexplored waters.
Housed in a tent designed by the architect David Adjaye, the first fair declared its cutting-edge credentials from day one. The inaugural Frieze London saw international mega-galleries, such as David Zwirner and Gagosian, exhibiting alongside mainstay local outfits like Stephen Friedman Gallery and Waddington Custot. The fair's setting in Regent's Park - 'an oasis in the city' - added to its appeal.
Frieze has blossomed into a global enterprise, with roots extending to New York, Los Angeles, and Seoul and in 2023 it was embraced as its “most international edition to date” by the fair’s artistic director, Eva Langret. This year, over 160 galleries converged at Frieze London, joined by more than 130 galleries at the nearby Frieze Masters, a magnificent exhibition of antiquities, Old Master paintings, and 20th-century masterpieces.
Some argue that the fair has shed its once-edgy, original character, shifting toward more commercially appealing and collectible artworks. Nevertheless, the esteemed galleries that have been Frieze stalwarts from the beginning remain committed. Price points have surged to unprecedented heights, and recent years have seen annual attendance top 100,000, a far cry from the inaugural event's modest 30,000 visitors.
Within the ever-transforming realm of the art fair in 2023, we present our curated selection of favored booths from Frieze London and Frieze Masters 2023.