by Sue Hubbard
Recession? What recession? The collapse of the Euro-zone? Who’d have guessed? One in ten Londoners unemployed; never? It’s Frieze art week in London and the glitterati are out on the town. My email in box is awash with invitations to private views, post opening parties, and champagne brunches. Everyone is hurrying somewhere, being terribly, terribly busy and in demand. Apart from Frieze itself there is the Pavilion of Art and Design in Berkely Square, a sophisticated boutique fair that brings modern design and the decorative arts together and Multiplied at Christies, the only fair devoted to art in editions, as well as Sunday – young, cutting edge and more alternative than the main event. Lisson Gallery held a magnificent party at 1 Mayfair, in a deconsecrated church filled with strobe lighting, while Blain Southern’s do after Rachel Howard’s opening show, Folie A Deux in Derring Street, was in a beautiful 18thcentury town house just down the road. (Howard, who used to paint Damien Hirst’s spots, is a fine painter in her own right). There are dinners and receptions for collectors, art historians, journalists and pretty much anyone who can blag their way in. Getting into Frieze itself is made as difficult as possible to keep the tension high. Being there and being seen is the name of the game. This is a parallel universe to the one most mortals inhabit and light years away from the life of the young woman, interviewed on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme this week, who’d been made redundant, applied for 140 jobs without success, and was, now, with her daughter, living on job seekers allowance of £67.00 per week.
Whatever the private qualms of the art world movers and shakers about the future prospects of the art market really are, they’re not letting on. From all the parties, the flowing champagne and the PR babes in their short, short skirts and high, high heels arriving at yet another opening, you might be forgiven for thinking that the ‘90s had never ended; art is the new rock n’roll.