For a lot of people the first day of Frieze Art Fair is about getting past many of the ‘look-at-me-look-at-me’ spectacles, which range from the good to the bad to frickin’ ugly.
Despite the aim of them, art fairs are not always that accessible to visitors because of the relentless, multiple and guaranteed sensory assaults on them. Despite the pressure to stand out, the biggest or brightest are not always best.
However, a couple of pieces at Frieze make a case for it, with money on their minds and at the punch line.
Michael Landy’s Credit Card Destroying Machine is set to attract a lot of attention with what could be the contents of a 1980s Toys R Us store dangling from it, and is exactly the sort of thing we’d want in our houses if only we had the space to put it (or enough credit to buy it). Visitors attach a pen to the massive contraption and watch as it rumbles into gear and draws for them. It’s so clever, so inventive and transports us to childhood, despite the ironic undertones.
However, the prize for the audacious piece we couldn’t fail to see so far, has to go to Christian Jankowski’s The Finest Art on Water, a gleaming super yacht moored right in the middle of the fair. It is on sale as either a functional sea vessel or as a piece of art. The difference is the £10m more you will pay to own it with no physical functionality. What a statement, indeed.
We advise making a beeline for Gavin Brown’s enterprise, the New York gallery having won the Stand of the Year Award. With a misshapen gold coat hanger by Mark Handforth in the centre, and some pretty interesting pieces on the walls there was a lot to look at, especially curatorially.
Asking around various galleries (well, the one’s whose staff weren’t too busy flexing their cool to chat – it were ever thus) the consensus was that the day had been fairly slow. However with it’s usual dose of slebs – we spotted Tamara Beckwith and Daphne ‘I’ll eat when I’m dead’ Guinness – and wallets, the Preview on Wednesday was said to have at least attempted to bite its thumb at the recession.
Among some of the highest profile purchases are the three made by Tate – ink drawings by Helena Almeida, Melanie Smith’s single channel video, and Alina Szapocznikow’s black and white photograph.
Words: Martha Alexander