Frieze!

Every October, Frieze Art Fair graces Regent’s Park with its presence.

First launched in 2003, the fair features work from more than 150 of the world’s trendiest contemporary art galleries. No old masters to be found here: the Fair boasts work only by living artists.   

As well as providing the possibility to wander through Regent’s Park marvelling at contemporary creations, the Fair offers the opportunity to take part in an interactive programme of talks, conferences, film projects and events put on by artists themselves. This makes the art seem less intimidating, as the punters themselves can interact with the art. 

You can even get a makeover; but don’t expect it to make you look any younger. The project features the work of A Gentil Carioca, a Brazilian artist whose ‘makeover’ is designed to make you look older. Surprisingly, it seemed to have attracted great interest. All in the name of art. 

Highlights of the contemporary creations include the parody of Rodin’s Le Penseur, with a slightly bemused-looking goat sitting in the position of the thinker, and a strange sea-creature installation by Pierre Huyghe.  Ugo Rondinone created a chic flock of bronze birds pecking at an expanse of bright white, while a series of captivating black-and-white photos from Romanian artist Ion Grigorescu was also a piece not to be missed. 

Contemporary Italian artists Lucio Fontana and Piero Manzoni jostle alongside English, German and Chinese talents. Drawing dealers from around the world, Sotheby’s and Christie’s were at the Fair, auctioning pieces of astronomically-priced art including a piece by Lucian Freud. 

At nearly £30 for entry into the Fair (£20 for concessions), the price is aimed at chic London art types and dealers and could be prohibitive for the cash-strapped student. Nonetheless, the Fair is well worth a visit if you happen to be wandering past the park the next time Frieze makes its brief appearance in London. 

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Scattered around Regent’s Park itself during the Fair are sculptures to admire, and this part of the Fair is free. Undoubtedly one of the most exciting parts of the Fair is seeing contemporary pieces of sculpture like Anish Kapoor’s metallic, spaceship-like discs coming into land in the open air of a crisp October afternoon, rather than viewing these sculptures in the more artificial atmosphere of a gallery.      

Another venture to look out for from the Frieze Art Project is the new Frieze Masters Fair, planned as a complement to the Project’s current offering of contemporary art. Frieze Masters will feature art from antiquity up to the turn of the last millennium.