Frieze Masters to raise the competitiveness of London’s biggest art fair?


The leading contemporary art fair of the UK Frieze has included Frieze Masters this year in hope to compete with the internationally established Art Basel shows.

The market for fine art is exponentially growing internationally with China increasing its role in it, and the market in South America in the state of development. The Art Basel group has recently launched Art Basel Hong Kong and is still the leading art fair for contemporary art around the world.

It has put the focus on Hong Kong and Istanbul, which has led to that world leading galleries are still setting up gallery spaces there, such as the New York gallery Lehmann Maupin is also opening a space in Hong Kong, in hope to profit from the huge potential of Chinese investors in the private market.

The London version of Art Basel Frieze Art Fair has mainly been established to promote contemporary art created in London.

Additionally to the well-known Frieze Art fair hall, which is showing contemporary art produced since 2000, Frieze Masters has enriched the quality of the fair enormously.

A spokesperson of the London Gagosian Gallery said at Frieze, that Frieze Masters showed what an art fair should show: traditional quality work, by Picasso for instance.

Notably, some paintings shown consciously copied motives by Picasso but saved doing a proper “re-painting” of them. However, they looked more like very first drafts than real paintings.

Due to seeing a change in the way of production of art, less quality painting has being produced.

Gordon Cheung, one of the 2,400 artists exhibited at Frieze last weekend, who is combining painting with collages in this art works, said: “At art school I wanted to paint without paint. So I have used collages – newspapers provided the actual information.”

Many contemporary artists have distanced themselves from paint, like Damien Hirst, Jeff Koons, Tracey Emin, Cindy Sherman, and others.

The usage of oil and watercolors has almost disappeared out of artists’ repertoires, which let’s assume that the new era of art will not bring any of these styles of art back to a contemporary art fair anytime soon.

In comparison to Art Basel,  where Lucian Freud‘s or Picasso’s paintings could be found, Frieze showed art consisting of creative ideas which have been turned into an art work by other techniques like by the means of photography, installations and sculpturing.

With Frieze Masters the organizers have increased the quality of Frieze London and have started to move towards the direction of Art Basel. Namely, showing and selling high quality and traditional art.

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