I have been around the art fair block a few times so experiencing Frieze and happening to be living in London has not changed much. But as always, being somewhere new puts things into perspective or at least accumulates things. These things include the purpose, tone, vibe, scene and a general scalding temperature gauge on what is going on in the art world in both market and aesthetics. I was working the fair which is a whole other bag of crazy but in the little spare spaces of time and focus, I did catch a few things that may be called ‘trends’ or maybe more accurately observations.
This will be quick as I am off to join my feminist think tank to stir up and plan world domination. Aka, this is sloppy brain seconds but hey, I’ll be here for a while.
So so so so so much black and navy. It is all over the place. Black and navy, everything. Everywhere. Once you notice it you realize everyone is wearing black and navy. I’m not sure which design house set this trend but it’s working. It is something that is not supposed to be done, matching those two colors used to equal you had bad lights and couldn’t tell the difference. Now, it’s all about poopoo-ing old timey rules like that. Think the whole all white craze we are teetering out of from Margelia’s influence. The novel idea of no white past Labor Day is so suburban passé. I don’t know about the navy and blue thing but hey, rich looks good in any color combo.
Speaking of rich, art fairs are full of them (obvi). It doesn’t matter what race, age or sex you are. There is a certain level of rich person that is just a species of its own. Somehow their hair is better, their skin is cleaner, their clothes are comfortable yet costs more then a year’s worth of rent. They are quite, they have distinct bag and shoe cues (men have their watches). It’s like they just smell better. Cause they smell like money. It’s both repelling and hypnotic to see rich people in their art shopping setting. And to be very honest about it, some of them are the nicest people I have met.
Other fashion notices: slacks vs. jeans, half up half down hair, large black bags, very demur accessories or tacky large items, high heels and strollers, solids, very few prints.
So I have learned from this week that Performance Art at art fairs is probably the worst thing ever. Ever. Ever. Please. Please. Please. Stop. This is such a cop out. Fair organizers, dealers etc. like this idea because it is seemingly subversive. It’s not. The art fair is a mega money making monster and to have some sliver of ‘subversion’ in it is just so self gratifying. Also, it is truly just spectacle, a side show that makes audience and participant feel like there is alternative, authenticity, weirdness somewhere in this vortex of art commerce. Performance Art is symbol for some sort of alternate other but in this context it is just a token.
Water was everywhere. Maybe it’s our subtle shift in realizing the earth is doomed or maybe this also touches on the subversion of material as touched on above. Water is an apparent no-no inside with art but there were many instances where this uncontrollable element was displayed. A little meh for me but hey, gotta do what you gotta do. Now let’s see how they handle fire. Fire is actually really scary.
Metal has replaced the former white plaster craze. It comes in all forms, large, small, smooth, textured, rough, it’s metal so it has that infinite possibility. Bronze, aluminum, steel, you name it, it was at the fair. Maybe artists are retreating back to the earth, elements as above mentioned in some deeper way that is vibrating throughout art practices. I think it’s cool, it’s a tough thing to do, it’s time consuming it’s labor intensive and the cost is very high. Jeff Koons might have more to do with this then we think. Ah, that mighty mighty dollar.
I basically hid in my room the whole time if I wasn’t working. Every night there were parties, multiple ones. There is this thing where people say ‘what are you doing tonight?’ and then you respond and they respond and then it’s a comparison game of who knows what and who has access to what and blah blah blah.
All I gots to say is that I left New York for a reason. Buh-bye.