Art Market

An Art Advisor’s Guide to Collecting during London’s Fair Week

Nicholas Campbell
Oct 1, 2020 3:47PM

Gianni Politi, installation view at Galleria Lorcan O’Neill, Rome, 2019. Courtesy of Galleria Lorcan O’Neill.

For the third edition of this advice column, art advisor Nicholas Campbell (founder of Narcissus Arts and Campbell Art Advisory) offers his tips for navigating this year’s hybrid London fair week, including the Frieze fairs, Photo London, and 1-54 fairs, which are happening online and throughout London.

A lot changed over the summer, and undoubtedly things are going to continue looking rather different as we enter the colder months. The art world is surviving, but in a radically shifting landscape that is proving continuously challenging to navigate. However, the level of flexibility and the passion to persevere undoubtedly remain strong, evident in the new and creative ways fairs are presenting their online endeavors and the increasingly common hybrid approach to online and offline activities. But these many and multifarious offerings can be daunting for those of us who are wanting to collect, or merely be in the mix of things.

Is Frieze happening exclusively online, or will there be in-person events collectors in London can attend?

Nick Goss
Kardo's, 2017
Josh Lilley
Jean David Nkot
blond to [email protected], 2019
Jack Bell Gallery

Yes, Frieze is returning to the capital. While the main fairs, Frieze London and Frieze Masters, with over 200 galleries participating, will be hosted online (October 9th–16th), they will be accompanied by a rich program of events and exhibitions throughout London. Frieze Sculpture in Regent’s Park (October 5th–18th) will add a much-needed physical element to the current art scene, allowing visitors to enjoy art out in the open, something that takes on particular importance this year as we reflect on the importance of (safe) social interaction and open public spaces. There will also be an interesting lineup of talks, debates, and a showcase for live art. For the first time, Frieze London’s LIVE program will take place on Cork Street, where a temporary “institute of sound and performance” will contribute to the hubbub of activity in the area.

Also on Cork Street and adjacent Old Burlington Street, Sadie Coles HQ, Stephen Friedman, Lisson, Saatchi Yates, and Goodman Gallery will be showcasing various group and solo exhibitions timed to Frieze Week, meaning that you won’t have to travel far to see some very decent art in the flesh.

What other fairs are taking place, and how are they adapting their programs?

Awol Erizku
Love is Bond (Young Queens), 2018-20
Ben Brown Fine Arts

Rather unbelievably, 1-54 is going ahead in a physical form this year, albeit in a scaled-down version with 29 international galleries coming together across three days (October 8th–10th) in Somerset House to showcase some of the best contemporary African artists (another eight galleries will show works online exclusively). The usual accompaniment of artists’ talks, film screenings, and panel discussions will be available to access online, as well as the fair itself. To ensure the safety of visitors, there will be strict sanitary measures in place, including a mandatory one-way path through the fair, timed ticketing, VIP access pre-booked online only, and limited capacity at all times.

Finally, going exclusively online for 2020 is Photo London (October 7th–18th). It is the world’s first international online photography fair featuring a wide selection of galleries and artists from across the globe, and is supported by a digital program of talks and workshops through late October.

What are you most excited for at the fairs, and which works would you recommend to collectors?

Patrick Goddard, Humans-Animals-Monsters, 2020. Courtesy of the artist and Seventeen Gallery.

At Frieze London’s online edition, I’m especially curious to explore Josh Lilley’s virtual booth showcasing works by the likes of Derek Fordjour, Celeste Rapone, and Nick Goss (whose solo show at the gallery’s London space will be on view at the same time). Based on reviewing countless PDFs from galleries and other fair preview materials, the piece I’ve been most excited to see is Patrick Goddard’s strange and wonderful 24-part sculptural installation Humans-Animals-Monsters (2020), which Seventeen Gallery is presenting as part of Frieze Sculpture. And for those interested in the robust in-person programming happening around London concurrent with the virtual Frieze fairs, I’d strongly recommend checking out Rome-based Galleria Lorcan O’Neill’s pop-up exhibitions at 14 Hay Hill (October 1st–24th).

Seeing as exhibitors at 1-54 have been brave enough to take part as usual, I would highly encourage all of you who can to visit the fair at Somerset House. Among the wonderful offerings, I am most excited to see Jack Bell Gallery’s stand. One artist he will be showing there, Jean David Nkot, will also be having a solo show at the gallery’s space in Mason’s Yard. If there’s one body of work from the fair’s materials I’m particularly eager to see more of, it’s Wole Lagunju’s dazzling paintings, being shown by New York gallery Montague Contemporary. A related event that should entice those of you who can to leave the house is Christie’s collaboration with 1-54, whereby the auction house invited each gallery at the fair to install one artwork at its King Street complex, offering visitors a slimmed-down highlights exhibition.

And at Photo London, I am most interested in Purdy Hicks Gallery’s virtual booth showcasing works by Takashi Arai, Susan Derges, and Leila Jeffreys, among others (the works will also be showing at the gallery’s space in South Kensington). As for a favorite artwork from the fair, my eyes keep being drawn back to Frank Horvat’s work Cover for Harper’s Bazaar (C) - Umbrella, Paris (1967), being shown by Holden Luntz Gallery of Palm Beach, Florida. And for those who want to learn more about a photographic icon, tune into Photo London exhibitor Ben Brown Fine Arts’s Instagram Live conversation with Brazilian artist Vik Muniz on October 15th (6 p.m. BST; 1 p.m. EDT).

Do you have a question about collecting art you’d love to have answered?

Send your question to [email protected] with the subject line “Collector Advice,” and we’ll put your submission up for our collecting expert’s consideration. And if you would like to get Nicholas’s advice (or maybe just find out his favorite works he saw during this year’s unusual Frieze Week), you can reach him at [email protected].

Nicholas Campbell