So. The Frieze Art Fair has departed Regent’s Park for another year. All that is left is a field with some rather bleached grass and a slight aftershock, as though a spaceship had just taken off. Seems to be bigger each year. It usually takes up a large part of Regent’s Park for about a month each year (including assembly and disassembly of the structures). This year there was another large pavillion for ‘Frieze Masters’ in the north part of the park. Perhaps in 10 years it will need the entire park.
I have never been to the Frieze Art Fair. Nor do I think that I ever shall. It is simply not for me. It is for those people who want to buy & sell art without having to travel round to hundreds of galleries. Fair enough, in a way. It is good for stimulating the er, industry as a whole. And how could artists keep going if people didn’t buy the work? And yet for me it epitomises the commodification of art that all artists shrink from. Or should.
The giant turds of pampered pets – the various oversized sculptures that defaced/adorned the park temporarily have also been similarly tidied away. It really seems as if artists are like pets at this event, licensed to romp and run free but always on a leash. The work is ultimately a trivial adornment. Was it for this that Beethoven struggled heroically to overcome the limitations of patronage? Have we slid backwards into a morass of commerciality? Should artists worry about the market? Is it even possible to ignore it?
This is the sort of nonsense that I shall be asking myself as I walk across the newly liberated fields of Regent’s Park. Until next October, anyway.