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Frieze London and Frieze Masters highlights 2016

Five things to look out for at London's biggest art fairs - Frieze London and Frieze Masters 2016

Written by
Matt Breen

London has been dominated by the biggest contemporary carnival, Frieze London, for over fifteen years – the place to see and be seen taking in all that the international art world has to offer. Six years ago it was joined by its sister fair Frieze Masters, which bridges the gap between ancient and mid-century, making the double Frieze Fair phenomenon a force to be reckoned with every October.

RECOMMENDED: Read our Frieze London and Frieze Masters 2016 guide

Art. LOADS of art.
Frieze London 2015. Photo: Linda Nylind. Courtesy of Linda Nylind/Frieze.

1. Art. LOADS of art.

Over 160 galleries from across the world will come together under one roof for the gargantuan art fair at Frieze London. One newcomer is New York gallery Kayne Griffin Corcoran, who’ll be exhibiting a light installation by James Turrell. The organisers are getting all nostalgic this year, with a new section called ‘The 90s’ that recreates famous shows from that explosive decade. Another area, ‘Focus’, showcases young talent from up-and-coming galleries like Peckham-based Arcadia Missa. And it’s not all paintings and sculptures either: many exhibitors are showing performance-based and (gulp) participatory art. It’ll be chaos – beautiful chaos.

Free outdoor sculpture in Regent’s Park
Anri Sala, Frieze Sculpture Park 2015. Photo: Linda Nylind. Courtesy of Linda Nylind/Frieze.

2. Free outdoor sculpture in Regent’s Park

If the madness inside gets a bit overwhelming, you can always head outside to the Regent’s Park’s English Gardens for some fresh air and a dose of large-scale outdoor sculpture. Details of specific works will be revealed in September, but it’ll be a mix of large-scale works from both the main fair and Frieze Masters. And FYI: if the £35 standard day ticket to the fairs sounds too much, this is free of charge to explore.

Frieze Masters is returning
Moretti Fine Art / Hauser & Wirth, Frieze Masters 2015. Photo: Mark Blower. Courtesy of Mark Blower/Frieze.

3. Frieze Masters is returning

While Frieze London focuses on art made after 2000, its sister fair Frieze Masters – now entering its sixth year – specialises in everything from antiquities (look out for an Ancient Egyptian mummy’s mask) to works of art from the twentieth-century artists like Eduardo Paolozzi. There will be some interesting collaborative displays from the 133 exhibiting galleries and some seriously big names from art history. It's not called 'Masters' for nothing.

Installations, films and talks aplenty

4. Installations, films and talks aplenty

Don’t think it’s all about the dollahs, there’s also the consistently excellent, not-for-profit Frieze Projects programme . Keep an eye out for a new installation by Brit artist Yuri Patterson, who wowed us with his recent Chisenhale show. There’s also Frieze Films, which has commissioned new works, such as Singaporean queer artist Ming Wong’s take on European cinema. And the talks programme looks strong too, with lectures by fashion icon Vivienne Westwood and ‘Generation X’ author Douglas Coupland.

You don’t need to be an oligarch to buy stuff here
Allied Editions, Frieze London 2014. Photo: Linda Nylind. Courtesy of Linda Nylind/Frieze.

5. You don’t need to be an oligarch to buy stuff here

Although you’ll see plenty of them around, Frieze isn’t just for the super-rich. Allied Editions make a welcome return to the fair this year: they're a collective of non-commercial London spaces like Studio Voltaire, Camden Arts Centre and the Whitechapel Gallery that sell limited-edition prints that are 1) by some top contemporary artists and 2) not going to force you to sell a kidney on the black market to buy them. Ticketholders get a five-percent discount on purchases made here too.

Find more art fairs and events in London

Art fairs in London
  • Art

Our list of London art fairs and what you can expect to find at them. Mid-October is the busiest time of year for art buying in London, but check back all year round for more events.

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