the frieze art week 2011 - part 1

Frieze Art Fair 2011
Regent's Park

Icon (2011) by Will Ryman

The Frieze art week is as busy as usual, with returning fairs Sunday, "Pavilion of art & design" & Moniker. This year we also saw newcomer Sluice joining the party. Headmaster Frieze is spearheading the crowd with its blockbuster programmes in addition to over 170 exhibitors.
Frieze Sculpture Park is one of Frieze's unique programme, only Frieze has the privilege to have a collection of large-scale art works to be displayed outdoor in Regent's Park. However, this year's line up is arguably a little bit disappointing compared to the past 2 years which we had also witnessed.

video link

Non-profits arts organisation Measure quoted curator David Thorp's comment on the selection this year - ‘This year’s Sculpture Park continues to provide a fascinating cross section of sculpture being made today from the monumental to the socially engaged. The twelve works on display by established and emerging artists build on a dialogue begun in previous years, developing a debate about art in public places and the condition of sculpture as an evolving conversation that proceeds by example, as an exchange of ideas between artists and artworks.’

However, the background of the selected works and their creators is practically invisible in the official website. The official page of the Sculpture Park has only a list of artists' names and the titles of their works. In a thorough search across the whole website, we still cannot find any further details. Should a curator's statement at least be displayed? Is it too much to ask to have some basic information for the general public or new art fan who knows nothing about Frieze & contemporary art in the website? Only the hardcore fans or insiders would pick their time of visit to the park to catch a guided tour. And does Frieze really think that by not providing any basic information, people would then be forced to buy the official catalogue? All we want to say here is this approach does not help promoting art to the general public and does not help Frieze to develop an educated audience which would be more likely to purchase art than just attending for the sake of ticking the box off the social calendar.

Despite the perception that contemporary art is more about the concept than the technique, one may wonder why some of the works are selected. Just look at the art piece below -

Ajar (2011) by Gavin Turk

We understand that sometimes it needs radical approach to bring the message out, but simply placing a door with frame in the middle of the park without any explanation about the intent of the artist is not working. All we hear from the 'official' source on site is the confirmation from the security guard the green plastic bag taped on the door was due to vandalism. A lack of understanding and sense of ownership are common causes of vandalism. We hope this message is clearly shown to the organiser now. Also in our memory there are no security guards by the side of every piece of works in previous years - is this a new clause in the insurance contract or else?


Full photo set here

We do find some encouraging developments in the fair this year inside the main ehibition tent, and would talk about them in part 2.

Further Readings -
Page - official page for Frieze Sculpture Park
Page - Sculpture Park Showcases Stunning Creations by Pippa Jane Wielgos and L. Meir for, 18.10.2011
Interview with David Thorp - The Age of Discover - Frieze Education Programme 2010
Video - Frieze Sculpture Park 2010 by
Page - our review on Frieze Sculpture Park 2009