First, from amidst the madding crowd, an armchair sweep through some of what was on offer at this major 3-ring art-world gathering: Frieze London, Frieze Masters and the Frieze Sculpture Park. In 5 minutes. Mind the gaps. A highlight at the Masters tent was John Currin's on-stage conversation with the National Gallery's curatorial head Letizia Treves, as part of the excellent Frieze Talks program. Currin's encyclopedic and often amusingly eccentric grasp of classical paintings shown in slides made an overflowing audience into rapturous fans.
Frieze Projects is an annual program of artist commissions, realized at the fair in real time. This year there were seven, including the Emdash Award winner, Finnish artist Pilvi Takala... whose project consisted of giving the prize money to a group of London kids, with no limits to how they could elect to spend it. The result will surprise you. Takala's work, mostly in video, has always been about tweaking the rules in established communities and behavioral structures just to see what happens. Her raw material is usually just her own body, placed in quite humorous predicaments, and her own feelings, often nuanced shades of embarrassment that reveal the contours of society's expectations. A less somber cousin of Marina Abramovic, Takala confronts subliminal prejudices with wryly invented social experiments that place herself at the center.
The Tate Modern is arguably the gold standard of contemporary art museums. Each year, thanks to The Outset/Frieze London Fund, a team of Tate and guest curators is invited to see what's on view at Frieze and get first dibs on artworks by emerging and leading international artists that fit the shopping budget. These are added to the museum's Collection, and the four artists are nudged ever closer to immortality. This year, two were video works, and two were sculptural. Either they have enough paintings already or the global trend towards picture-averse multimedia continues at full-throttle. In the final video, hear four thrilled gallerists ponder the anointed works of their artists -- Americans Terry Adkins and (Elaine) Sturtevant, and London-based Christina Mackie (Canadian) and James Richards (Welsh).