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Frieze art fair fringe: from Anselm Kiefer to Zoo

October 15, 2009

From major gallery openings to tiny pop-up projects, Frieze week is the busiest in the contemporary art calendar. Here’s our pick of the fringe

Conrad Shawcross's Chord installation

Strike a chord … Conrad Shawcross’s new art installation, viewable (by appointment only) in a former subway tunnel buried beneath the streets of London. Photograph: Katherine Rose

Later this week, Frieze art fair will make the London art world echo to the genteel smack of air-kissing, champagne corks popping at dawn and – so dealers hope – chequebooks rustling. This Mecca of art glamour has now become a crucial moment in the calendar not just for big-money collecting, but for everything from public institutions to independent guerrilla projects.

It’s also the cue for commercial galleries to flash their star turns, or showcase feted younger artists. At the more glittery end of the scale, Sadie Coles has hyper-realistic sculptures by Swiss polymath Ugo Rondinone, while White Cube has gone for Anselm Kiefer’s weighty Romanticism. Among the most interesting work by emerging talents are the visceral cartoonish paintings by Armen Eloyan at Timothy Taylor, and Walead Beshty’s ardently conceptual, process-fixated pictograms at Thomas Dane gallery.

Yet Frieze week has also become the moment for public galleries and museums to unveil major exhibitions. Leading the charge, an Ed Ruscha survey at the Hayward Gallery takes in 50 years of painting by the iconic chronicler of Californian dreams. The first UK retrospective of Sophie Calle’s voyeuristic work at the Whitechapel Gallery includes her celebrated installation Take Care of Yourself. For this collection of films, objects and text, Calle enlisted a crack force of female professionals, including a translator, ballerina and markswoman, to “interpret” a curt rejection email she’d received from an ex-lover. Tate Modern has opted for the austere work of Polish artist Miroslaw Balka for its major Turbine Hall commission, avoiding the funfair-like installations of recent years in these recession-dampened times. Sucking in everything from Samuel Beckett and black holes to Hell and the biblical plague of darkness, Balka’s gigantic, industrial-steel holding tank, How It Is, makes for a sinister, yawning sight.

But even that’s not an end. The foremost alternative to Frieze is its increasingly impressive baby sister, Zoo.

Read more at:
From Anselm Kiefer to Zoo

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