Everything you need to know about the annual four-day art fair, staged in Regent’s Park on October 6-9, 2016
What is it?
Frieze is considered to be the world’s leading platform for modern and contemporary art. The organisation publishes four different magazines and stages three international art fairs: Frieze London, Frieze New York and Frieze Masters, with the former being the longest-standing. The first Frieze London was established in 2003 and annually unites 160 leading art galleries showcasing the work of over 1,000 of the most significant artists living today.
Meanwhile, Frieze Masters – held concurrently in Regent’s Park each October since 2012 – as its name suggests, is dedicated to bringing together several thousand years of art (all pre-2000). Some 133 galleries from around the world showcase works from the ancient era and Old Masters to the late 20th Century.
What can I expect?
It’s essentially a large-scale art exhibition, but with many more activities thrown in. As well as the extensive selection of art works, the non-profit programme includes Frieze Projects and the Frieze Artist Award which presents new, site-specific works by contemporary artists. Then there’s Frieze Film, which showcases film commissions premiered at the fair and Frieze Music, the fair’s off-site music programme. Access to Frieze Talks is included in the Frieze London admission ticket and is a series of panel discussions, conversations and keynote lectures curated by Christy Lange (frieze magazine) and Gregor Muir (ICA, London).
Frieze Masters, located a 15-minute walk through the park from Frieze London, will be housed in a light-filled structure designed by German architect Annabelle Selldorf and will also host a schedule oftalks and performances.
Those not wanting to commit to a day at either art fair can soak up the atmosphere at the Frieze Sculpture Park, which is set to return after its inaugural success last year. The curated space, located in the park’s English Gardens, will feature large-scale artworks presented by galleries from both Frieze London and Frieze Masters and is free to all.
The past four years have attracted some 60,000 visitors, combining scholars, connoisseurs, collectors and the general public – all you need to gain entry is a ticket. Some visit as first-time collectors of art whilst others treat the fair more as an exhibition, enjoying the experience as a cultural day out.
Last year, alongside the good and the great from the art world (Grayson Perry; Sir Nicholas Andrew Serota; Hans-Ulrich Obrist) actor Benedict Cumberbatch was spotted attending with his wife, Sophie Hunter. Princess Eugenie, who is an associate director at the art gallery Hauser & Wirth, also popped along.
And fashion insiders also can’t resist the draw of an art show, don’t be surprised to see Eva Cavalli, Valentino Garavani, Lulu Guinness or Bianca Jagger.
How much time can I spend there?
The art world rises late: doors open at 12noon and the fairs are open until 7pm each day, but you can browse as long as you like. To visit Frieze London and Frieze Masters you need to purchase a combined ticket, which costs £52 – a ticket for one doesn’t equal access to the other. This year’s event actually starts on October 5, but this is an invitation-only preview day.
Are there dining options?
Are there ever. One could make a day out of just eating and slurping around the impressive pop-ups at Frieze London. Fine gastronomes should seek to book a table at either 34 Mayfair, Artusi, Brunswick House or Petersham Nurseries. Those after something a little less formal can rock up to Caravan, Gail’s Artisan Bakery or Pizza Pilgrims. Snackers are catered to by La Grotta Ices and The Juice Well.
Over at Frieze Masters, visitors can refuel at another outpost of Gail’s Bakery, Locanda Locatelli and Umu.
What else is nearby?
You could easily enjoy a day getting lost in Regent’s Park – it doesn’t take a keen gardener to appreciate the beauty and sweet scent of Queen Mary’s Rose Gardens just down from Frieze’s location. Stroll north of the park and you’ll reach the London Zoo and slightly further up, Primrose Hill, which boats impressive views across the capital and some carefully curated retail therapy.
New for 2016, Frieze London will host a section called The 90s, where galleries selected by curator Nicolas Trembley will recreate seminal exhibitions from the decade highlighting key collaborations between dealers and artists that have had a lasting impact on contemporary art.
Over at Frieze Masters, visitors will be invited to take part in book signings, conversations and artist events hosted by leading cultural publications in the new Reading Room. And following on from last year’s acclaimed debut, Sir Norman Rosenthal will return with Collections, which features seven specialist galleries handpicked by the independent curator and art historian.