Likes moles we pop out of Regent’s Park tube station, hurry over guarded crossings—avoiding the free art magazine touts and brightly colored desperate art students— and into the Frieze London tent to grab our tickets, and then run, RUN, out and off, through the park (hello squirrels!), right past the retirement education groups nodding at the sculpture installations, and ten minutes later we’re at Frieze Masters. Things are quieter here, but the show is usually better than its older “contemporary” cousin (though this year Frieze London was definitely much better than in past years—read our report here).
Everything is so beautifully presented, the light is so graceful, and the shift in time from 2,000 B.C. to 1920 is barely to be noticed, and the small matter of how one pays for it is a trivial irritant. Because unless you live in the British Museum, you will have to take it home with you. There are ancient maps, stone-age spearheads, Renaissance furniture, de-nosed nobility. Art history is just a bank transfer away.
For a short while, it is a magical place to be. Even if one cannot afford the Frans Hals portrait with the perfectly painted thumbnail dead-center, or the giant Man Ray photograph from the 1920s, there is an added frisson from thinking it’s all there for the taking—you just have to want it badly enough and, with a confident smile, whip out your Amex Centurian card.
I’ve been watching Leonardo DiCaprio in Catch Me If You Can. Great movie. Gets you thinking.
Go on, no one’s watching. You know you want to. It’s easy.