Frieze kicks off in London this week in Regent’s Park,

An annual event you should already have in your diary. Aside from seeing the heavy weight galleries flexing their muscles at one another and the chance to go through the focus galleries, to get a glimpse of the new blue-eyed boys of the art game (for the next season or so). It’s a wonderful forum for people watching.


And there is a lot of it, whispers and glances, mouths and faces shielded by catalogues, loads of good looking people, excellent watches and an obscene number of indoor sunglasses. It’s very much a show and tell event for a lot of collectors and gallerists, with all the arse kissing and card swapping you can imagine. It does however make a for a fantastic spectator sport.

Given that it is October it’s one of the first events of the year where we first start to feel the cold bite of autumn on our presumably un-socked ankles. We also start to get a first look at what the trends are for the colder months, so it’s a good excuse and occasion to swat up on ideas for winter wardrobes, if you haven’t already. Being a fairly superficial day out, its good to dress accordingly, everyone there will have had at least one last minute costume changes and be taking it far too seriously. Unless they work for the Tate; in which case they will all dress in black pillow cases, do strange things to their hair and put on northern accents.


Knox Harrington, The Big Lebowski 1998, Working title, 

That’s not to say one shouldn’t look at the work, Generally I find the focus booths a lot more interesting as they are the smaller galleries such as Koppe Astner, who look after artists beginning to make a name for themselves. So they are certainly worth a gander.


Dickon Drury, Koppe Astner Gallery

Dickon Drury, Koppe Astner Gallery

Of course, the week is filled with openings and private views all around London to try catch the overflow of the rather rich and the super rich which Frieze attracts. If you time it right, you can do a small tour of Mayfair after Frieze from about 7 onwards; stopping at the more established Galleries such as Hauser and Wirth, Sadie Coles etc and get pleasantly pissed at their expense.


And if you’re really smooth you could make art friends and blag your way into one of the many after parties, just carry a copy of Art in theory and you'll be fine. 

Words by Tom Heap

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