Frieze London 2017: 15th Edition Sees Strong Sales, Ambitious Presentations, and Robust Institutional Support
The 15th edition of Frieze London closed on Sunday 8th October, having brought together more than 160 galleries from 31 countries and driven strong sales across the fair and throughout the week. Frieze London 2017 welcomed record VIP attendance on Preview Day and throughout the fair, including a significant rise in international top-tier collectors. This year also saw the return of two major acquisitions funds supported by major institutions, in addition to a record 230 groups in attendance from around the world. Building on the strength of presentations across the fair’s main section and the special sections - from the new section Sex Work: Feminist Art & Radical Politics to Focus - Frieze London continued to build on its role as a vital platform for engaging with contemporary art. Frieze London is supported for the 14th consecutive year by global lead partner Deutsche Bank.
Victoria Siddall, Director, Frieze Fairs said: ‘The 15th edition of Frieze London further established the city’s importance as both a leading commercial market hub and cultural platform. Galleries and visitors commented on the extraordinary energy of this year’s fair, and exhibitors went above and beyond to create ambitious and creative presentations. I am thrilled to see the fantastic response with sales made on the first day through to the last, together with the exceptional engagement of international collectors, museum curators and the public alike. The fair’s innovative spirit produced programmes bringing together leading artists, musicians and cultural commentators; and its sections for feminist and emerging art resulted in significant acquisitions for the UK national collection.’
Galleries across the fair’s main and specially curated sections – Focus, Sex Work, Live - enjoyed strong sales throughout the whole week, placing artworks across all levels of the market. Select highlights include: David Kordansky Gallery with works by Will Boone in the range of USD 25,000 to 55,000; David Zwirner’s sale of a Jeff Koons for USD 2.75 million and a new work by Kerry James Marshall to an important European Foundation; Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac’s sale of a Robert Rauschenberg for USD 1.5 million; Matthew Marks sale of a Jasper Johns for USD 1.5 million; Hauser & Wirth’s sale of a major sculpture by Hans Arp for USD 1.1 million to a private collection in Los Angeles, from their ‘BRONZE AGE’ presentation. Goodman Gallery sold out over half the booth on preview day, including a work by William Kentridge for USD 385,000 and three works by David Goldblatt ranging from USD 15,000-50,000 and The Sunday Painter in the Focus section sold many of their works by Emma Hart on Preview Day, ranging between GBP 10,000-12,000.
Museums and Curators
Continuing Frieze’s enduring museum relationships, the fair provides a vital platform for discovery, engagement and acquisition, for institutions and their audiences across the UK and the world. Directors, curators, and patron groups from a record 230 international museums and other arts organisations attended. Highlights from across the world include trustees and patrons groups from Carnegie Museum of Art, Centre Pompidou, Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Moderna Museet, MAMCO, Museo Rufino Tamayo, Whitney Museum of American Art and WIELS.
Frieze this year partnered with two major acquisition funds for national museums: the Frieze Tate Fund, supported by WME | IMG, and the Contemporary Art Society’s Collections Fund at Frieze in support of a regional museum in the UK: Towner Art Gallery, Eastbourne.
Maria Balshaw, Director, Tate commented, ‘The Frieze Tate Fund has made an important contribution to the national collection of contemporary art at Tate. We are once again excited to be able to select work from Frieze so that a broad public at Tate can experience new art as it emerges. We are extremely grateful both to WME | IMG and to Frieze for their support.’Balshaw also commented on the instantly successful new section for 2017, Sex Work, curated by independent curator and scholar Alison M. Gingeras which featured nine solo presentations of women artists working at the extreme edges of feminist practice: ‘As a woman born in 1970 raised by a tribe of feminist aunts, I find it tremendously exhilarating to see the women artists in Sex Work: Feminist Art & Radical Politics included in the context of an art fair.’
Max Hollein, Director and CEO of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco commented: ‘Despite (or maybe because of) looming Brexit, the city of London and its dynamic art scene and rich cultural offerings felt enormously vibrant, charged and responsive. Frieze is at the epicenter of this, not only as a great fair but also as a catalyst for activity all over London during its presentation. The heightened interest in activist, agenda-driven art, as a response to the current political climate, also helps resurrect important artistic positions of the recent past and it should be applauded that Frieze helps foster that with its thematic and focus driven special presentations.’
Agustín Arteaga, Eugene McDermott Director of the Dallas Museum of Art said: ‘We are always excited to travel to London with our Museum trustees to experience both Frieze London and Frieze Masters because of the incredible array of works on display. We also greatly enjoy the programs coordinated between the fairs and the London museums and galleries. Our time in London has been wonderfully invigorating for both the DMA and our supporters. It has also been a great opportunity to have interesting and productive conversations with artists and colleagues to ignite enthusiasm and new ideas for presenting art.’
Thaddaeus Ropac, Founding Director, Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac (London, Paris, Salzburg): ‘London confirmed itself as the quintessential city of the art market. The number and internationalities of the collectors at the opening day were beyond our expectations: apart from the Europeans, many collectors came from the East and West coast of the USA, alongside an increasing number of Asian collectors.’
Jack Shainman, Jack Shainman Gallery (New York): ‘We have had an incredible first showing at Frieze London, which has welcomed the gallery and our artists with open arms. During this highly successful week we have connected with many great collectors and curators from around the globe and placed works with strong institutional and private collections. The energy of the fair is tremendous and we are so pleased to have taken part.’
David Zwirner Gallery (New York/ London) said ‘This had been our best Frieze yet. The quality of fair, the collectors, and the work at so many of the booths was extremely high. It was great to see sales of major new works by Bridget Riley, Jeff Koons, Carol Bove, Oscar Murillo, Luc Tuymans and Kerry James Marshall to name just a few.’
Alex Logsdail, International Director, Lisson Gallery (London/New York): ‘We were very pleased with the attendance and interest this week, including the sale to a US-based collection of Carmen Herrera’s extraordinary work from 1962, Blanco y Verde, as well as consistent sales for works by John Akomfrah, Daniel Buren, Shirazeh Houshiary, Anish Kapoor, Haroon Mirza, Laure Prouvost, , Everything At Once, at Store Studios opening to coincide with the fair seeing high traffic and engagement, we’ve seen buoyant energy throughout the city, no doubt due to Frieze Week’s ongoing success.’
Matthew Marks Gallery’s Senior Director, Jacqueline Tran (New York), commented: ‘The atmosphere during Frieze Week feels more dynamic than ever both at the fair and in the city as a whole due to the confluence of exceptional museum shows. We have seen a large audience of serious collectors visit us at Frieze London. Within the first hours of the fair we placed important sculptures by Jasper Johns and Martin Puryear with leading European collections. It was brilliant to be able to present their work in Europe, where this year both artists had retrospective exhibitions in London during Frieze – Jasper Johns at the Royal Academy of Arts and Martin Puryear at Parasol Unit.’
Galerie Rüdiger Schöttle (Munich): ‘Frieze London was the perfect place to show Thomas Ruff’s latest cycle of works “neg<>lapresmidi”, referring to Nijinsky’s ballet from 1912, for the very first time. We have had a phenomenal response from collectors, curators and the public.’
Tina Kim, Tina Kim Gallery (New York) : ‘Frieze is an exciting fair for us, which provides the opportunity to introduce new bodies of work by gallery artists and engage with a fantastic international audience of clients and curators. This year we showed early 1960s works from Wook-Kyung Choi, which sparked a number of conversations, and one of her works is now headed to a private foundation. In addition, we are also pleased to show Minouk Lim, an artist who has a strong institutional career but this marks her first time at a major commercial fair; and we are excited to have her work acquired by a very important American collector.’
Andrea Caratsch, founder of Galerie Andrea Caratsch (St. Moritz): ‘Alison Gingeras’s curated section was a highlight at Frieze London, an eye-opener on an important part of the art world that has been secluded for too long. We were very pleased to experience the high endorsement of the display by the public.’
Esther Kim Varet, Founding Director, Various Small Fires (VSF) (Los Angeles): ‘The quality of collectors, curators, and directors from private art foundations and museums has been extremely high, and we feel very grateful for the opportunity to present an incredibly relevant and timely project by the Harrisons. We are now working on a number of future projects and opportunities, largely due to the exposure we’ve gotten through the fair this year.’
Rózsa Farkas, Founder and Director, Arcadia Missa Gallery (London) commented on the Frieze Tate Fund acquisition from their presentation : ‘I’m extremely happy about Tate’s acquisition of Hannah Black from our stand at Frieze London. I feel that it’s a powerful gesture for such a big public collection to support an artist early in her career. It gives a degree of recognition which is extremely encouraging. Hannah is such a brilliant artist, the fact that her work is in a public collection and so many people will have the chance to enjoy the work means so much - I have been so moved by her work and I have no doubt that many more people will continue to also be moved by it too.’
Frieze Art Fair Stand Prize and Frieze Focus Prize
This year, Frieze London included two awards recognizing exceptional gallery presentations across the fair.
The Frieze Art Fair Stand Prize, which acknowledges an outstanding gallery presentation in the main or Sex Work section, was awarded to Galeria Luisa Strina (São Paulo, main section). A jury of international curators and directors noted that ‘history is so important to curatorial practice, and the range of galleries revisiting important artists was striking, both across the fair and in the Sex Work section Alison M. Gingeras curated on radical feminist artists. Lusia Strina stood out because of their concise presentation of their gallery artists, which brought together a range of impressive works, including two important installations by Alexandre da Cunha and by Renata Lucas.’
This year’s jurors included Eungie Joo (Curator of Contemporary Art, SFMoMA), Nicolaus Schafhausen (Artistic Director, Kunsthalle Vienna) and Dirk Snauwaert (Artistic Director, WIELS Centrum Voor Hedendaagse Kunst). Special commendations also went to Mendes Wood DM (São Paulo), Galeria Gregor Podnar (Berlin), Galerie Hubert Winter (Vienna), and Air de Paris (Paris).
Frieze also awarded the Focus Stand Prize to the most commendable presentation in the Focus section, which is for galleries aged 12 years or under. The prize was awarded to Various Small Fires (Los Angeles) for their ‘timely and conceptual’ presentation of The Harrisons. Emalin (London) received a special commendation from the jury for its solo presentation by Russian artist Evgeny Antufiev.
This year’s Focus Prize jury included Richard Parry (Director, Glasgow International), Christopher Lew (Associate Curator, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York) and Hanne Mugaas (Director and Curator, Kunsthalle Stavanger).
Museum Acquisition Funds:
This year saw the return of two major acquisition funds for national museums at Frieze London: the Frieze Tate Fund, supported by WME | IMG, and the Contemporary Art Society’s Collections Fund at Frieze, which supports a regional museum in the UK.
These initiatives resulted in the acquisition of significant works. The Frieze Tate Fund saw an international jury select a work by Dorothy Iannone acquired from Air de Paris in the new gallery section Sex Work, a work by Mary Beth Edelson acquired from David Lewis also in the Sex Work section, a piece by Hannah Black purchased from Arcadia Missa in Focus, and a work by Lawrence Abu Hamdan acquired from Maureen Paley in the main section.
The Contemporary Art Society acquired a major installation by Dineo Seshee Bopape for the Towner Art Gallery in Eastbourne, joining a collection anchored in a sense of place. The installation was presented at Frieze London by Sfeir-Semler Gallery.
Sponsors and Partners
In addition to global lead partner Deutsche Bank, Frieze London partners with BMW, Art Fund, the Financial Times, Official Champagne Ruinart,Contemporary Art Society and new partners American Express, Mount Street and Official Coffee Lavazza. Frieze Projects and the Frieze Artist Award are supported by the LUMA Foundation for the third consecutive year. Hotel Café Royal is the main hotel partner for Frieze London 2017.
Universal Design Studio again devised the Frieze London 2017 structure, enhancing the quality of visitors’ experience.
Frieze raised £19,060 for Save The Children in the cloakroom this year.