Magazine article New Statesman (1996)

Frieze! You're Alive: The Headiness of the Young British Artists Might Be over, but Russell Thoburn Finds That the London Market Is Still Electric

Magazine article New Statesman (1996)

Frieze! You're Alive: The Headiness of the Young British Artists Might Be over, but Russell Thoburn Finds That the London Market Is Still Electric

Article excerpt

Art, art, art: it's everywhere, reaching out from the roots of Regent's Park, clambering close to the cages of London Zoo, even settling for coffee at Sketch. Art fairs and gatherings have been taking place in hotels, studios and businesses. The collectors have flown in from the Continent, visited the nests in the capital's East End, and I've blagged a VIP pass to flow freely among them.

Grayson Perry's show has opened at the Victoria Miro Gallery. There are plenty of pots and plenty of taxis turning up--that's a good sign--and there's an exciting print called Map of an Englishman, which illustrates our dreams, fantasies, basically the different facets of being human. Watch out for that forest of fear.

Simon Periton is showing at Sadie Coles HQ. His delicately cut paper works provided me with a rare experience--a work of art that I deeply enjoyed and felt excited by. My feelings soon changed when I picked up my free copy of Art Review and noticed an advert: "Would you like to be a famous artist but you are still too young? Let us help you!" Yes, there is now an agency that specialises in organising exhibitions around the world for your ten-year-old offspring. I hope we don't follow the example of football and end up with little Tommy or Julie getting [pounds sterling]50,000 for signing up to Larry Gagosian.

A new book, Market Matters, is launched at the Frieze Art Fair. I listen to the author, Louisa Buck, talking about it. The book deals with the links between money and contemporary art. In it, a gallery director proposes treating artworks like PEPs, as a way of avoiding tax, while another recalls collectors at a private view battling with credit cards to exploit low-cost "accessible" art made by Bridget Riley and intended for Joe Public.

Is British contemporary art getting too big for its boots? …

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