Wednesday, October 28, 2009

In favour of maturity

October in London is Frieze time.

The gigantic tent in Regent’s park is like a bubble full of art. All galleries and museums try to shine as brightly as they can to attract the hoard of collectors and art lovers who crowd the city and flit between venues and cocktails.
The first thing that struck me walking down the crowded isles of the Frieze bubble was: No video. After the initial reaction – video is dead – I remembered that times are tough and although there is talk about the light at the end of the tunnel, the recession isn’t over yet and hey – video isn’t the easiest art to sell. Perhaps, for the same reason, there was an exceptional amount of drawing. Not something you usually find on the expensive walls of major art fairs. But given the fact that small works on paper are quite affordable - it does make sense in times of uncertainty.
I think that the need to minimize risk is also affecting the average age of artists shown. It seems that the hype of the very young is wearing off a little. Collectors are looking for security in their investments. Take Hauser and Wirth for example – showing (and selling it all) 80 year old Ida Applebroog.
Outside the bubble – the major art spaces in London have all picked well established names – Baldessari, Keifer, Kapoor , Ruscha and Metzger.
Doesn’t this connect perfectly to what Robert Storr told The Art newspaper:

TAN: Maybe there’s less of a focus on the cult of youth. RS: There isn’t less of a focus yet, but it’s going to dawn on people that it’s not working.

I don’t think the cult of the youth will disappear but it will do wonders to the quality of art if those younguns are left alone for a bit after graduating from art school – so they can do their experiments quietly before plunging into the market.

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