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Work / Art

Frieze Art Fair 2017: Feminist art, bronze sculptures and mop heads

The time has come once again for London’s Regent’s Park to be taken over by two massive tents and swathes of well-dressed arty people, where the clinking of champagne bottles and glasses becomes a sort of wind chime echoing across the park. Yes it’s Frieze week.

With Frieze London, Frieze Masters and Frieze Sculpture Park putting on their best work it can be pretty overwhelming knowing where to start, with the intricate fair maps often making it feel even more baffling. So to make things a bit easier, we’ve complied a quick round-up, showcasing some of our highlights from this year’s fair. From new sections to individual artist presentations, colourful gallery booths to mystifying artworks, all the fun of the fair is going on at Frieze.

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Sex Work: Feminist Art & Radical Politics, Frieze London. Courtesy of Mark Blower/Frieze

Sex Work: Feminist Art & Radical Politics

A new section at Frieze, Sex Work: Feminist Art & Radical Politics is curated by Alison M. Gingeras and aims to highlight transgressive art of the 1970s and 80s. The section features nine solo presentations of women artists all sharing a “focus on explicit sexual iconography combined with radical political agency”. Highlights include work from Penny Slinger, Richard Saltoun, Betty Tompkins and Dorothy Iannone, whose vivid paintings tell intricate stories in vivid colours.

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Alexandre da Cunha: Kentucky (Biombo), Galeria Luisa Strina

Frieze Stand Prize 2017: Galeria Luisa Strina

This year’s Stand Prize was awarded to São Paulo gallery, Galeria Luisa Strina and it is a beautiful thing indeed. Featuring a selection of its artists, the stand out installation is from Alexandre da Cunha with Kentucky (Biombo), which sees him create a wall of mop heads in pleasing formations that looked like shaggy clouds hanging in the white space.

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At Work with Peter Blake, Waddington Custot, Frieze Masters. Courtesy of Mark Blower/Frieze

At Work with Peter Blake, Waddington Custot

If you don’t feel the urge take the 15 minute walk up to Frieze Masters, it’s worth going alone for the fully sized replica of Peter Blake’s studio as part of Waddington Custot’s booth. Created in collaboration with designer Robin Brown and producer Anna Pank, the booth brings together the artist’s work, collections and studio paraphernalia to recreate his creative space. It is truly a treasure trove of stuff with photographs, books and trinkets strategically placed on top of each other, as music plays gently into the space while a little train clicks by on an elevated track above everyone’s head. Incredible.

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BRONZE AGE c.3500BC – AD 2017, Hauser & Wirth. Courtesy of Mark Blower/Frieze

BRONZE AGE c.3500BC – AD 2017, Hauser & Wirth

This year, Hauser & Wirth has created the interior of an old fashioned museum, complete with verdigris-laden door fittings and mottled glass cabinets showcasing a plethora of objects. On display are bronze artefacts on loan from the British Museum, contemporary sculptures by Louise Bourgeois, Henry Moore, David Smith, Marcel Duchamp, Subodh Gupta and Martin Creed. Within the genuine artworks, there’s also some other mystery bronze additions purchased from eBay to make the whole thing even more confusing, highlighting how anything can be elevated to art level when exhibited in a museum.

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Than Hussein Clark, VI VII Oslo, Frieze Focus. Courtesy of Mark Blower/Frieze

Frieze Focus

After a pit stop at one of the many champagne bars – we know what you guys are like – make your way over to Frieze Focus, the section of the art fair which brings together 34 galleries aged 12 years or younger. A real global representation of galleries, one highlight includes Than Hussein Clark’s collaboration with the Couture Dressmakers Studio GAN in Rome for VI, VII, Oslo’s booth. The space has been transformed into a bespoke fitting room and and performance space, taking visitors back to the grungy days of Paris in the 1920s and 30s. And if you’re really keen you can book an appointment to be fitted for clothes from the couture collection.

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Alicja Kwade, Big Be-Hide, Sculpture Park. Courtesy of Stephen White/Frieze.

Frieze Sculpture Park

Frieze Sculpture Park been open since 5 July to allow visitors to enjoy the sculptures on display during the summer months. It’s the first time the park has been open before Frieze London, and this is now the last weekend you have to mosey through. It’s the easiest way to enjoy Frieze as, not only is it free but it’s sat right between Frieze London and Frieze Masters. Selected by Clare Lilley, director of programme at Yorkshire Sculpture Park, 25 new and significant works by 20th-Century and contemporary artists from around the world are presented. Highlights include Alicja Kwade’s bewildering Big Be-Hide, Thomas J Price’s powerful triple portraits, and a column of bronze footballs from Hank Willis Thomas.