ARTS REVIEW: Frieze Arts Fair 2012 at Regent’s Park

12:20 11 October 2012

Work is displayed from 175 galleries at the Frieze Art Fair. Picture: Julio Etchart

Work is displayed from 175 galleries at the Frieze Art Fair. Picture: Julio Etchart


The Frieze International Art Fair takes place every October in Regent’s Park, featuring 175 of the most exciting contemporary art galleries in the world.

Frieze Arts Fair at Regent’s Park

Opening times

12pm to 7pm Thursday, October 11 to Saturday, October 13

12pm to 6pm Sunday, October 14


£27 per day / £20 concessions

Including Frieze Masters: £35 / £25 concessions

The fair also includes specially commissioned artists’ projects, a prestigious talks programme and an artist-led education schedule.

Attracting more than over 70,000 visitors every year, including those with an interest in the art world, such as curators, artists, collectors, gallerists and critics, the fair also appeals to the general public. Some visit as first-time collectors of art whilst others view the fair more as an exhibition, enjoying the experience as a cultural day out.

Frieze has been one of the few fairs to focus only on contemporary art and living artists, though, for the first time, they have incorporated a separate section that shows classic work, the Frieze Masters, housed on a separate structure, a 15 minutes walk across the park towards Camden Town.

The exhibiting venues represent the most exciting current galleries working today. The focus on living artists is also evident in the critically acclaimed Frieze Projects’ programme. There is also a curated programme of talks, artists’ commissions, performances and film projects, which encourage visitors to engage with art and artists directly.

The Frieze Art Fair includes a sculpture park. Picture: Julio EtchartThe Frieze Art Fair includes a sculpture park. Picture: Julio Etchart

The event is housed in a bespoke temporary structure, which is located in Regent’s Park and benefits from having a natural light source, avoiding the atmosphere of a trade show, thus making it both lively and energetic.

Around 600 galleries apply each year for the fair. The selection is made by a committee of participant gallerists - the fair directors chair the meeting but do not vote.

The Sculpture Park, located within a five-minute walk of the main site at Regent’s Park, is an important component of the fair. It exhibits new works by both established and emerging artists. This year, curator Clare Lilley selected the pieces on display.

I decided to start my tour of this multi-packed event in the beautiful surroundings of the English Garden, where a series of 17 sculptures, scattered at random in this public space, surprise the public with its handsome diversity.

Inside the canopy of the fair, I come across Jay Joplin, the owner of the venerable White Cube, who has just opened a gallery in Brazil.

“London is unarguably the pre-eminent city for contemporary art in Europe, and the sheer variety of work at the Frieze confirms that.

“It is great for us to expand our operations to the up-and-coming markets, and we set our eyes in Brazil, one of the most successful emerging art environments and home to the next World Cup and Olympic Games,” he remarked.

One of the main courses of the Fair is Grayson Perry’s outstanding Adoration of the Cage Fighters represented by the Islington-based Victoria Miro gallery. The canvas is distinctive for its incisive and critical look at the effect of the celebrity culture on contemporary life.

With dozens of other galleries to visit and so many mainstream and fringe events to enjoy, not just at the main site, but all around town, the Frieze is definitely the arts event of the year.

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