Life and times

Freize art fair’s di­rec­tor, Vic­to­ria Sid­dall

The Daily Telegraph - Telegraph Magazine - - CONTENTS - Frieze Lon­don and Frieze Masters, 5-8 Oc­to­ber, Re­gent’s Park, Lon­don W1 (

I AM JUST BACK IN LON­DON af­ter a fam­ily break in Los An­ge­les, a city that grows on me more each time I visit. Trav­el­ling around with my 18-mon­thold daugh­ter was, how­ever, a vastly dif­fer­ent ex­pe­ri­ence from my work trips there and re­quired a change from my usual pace, with plenty of stops for meals and dips in the pool. And, as usual, I found that there were more great gallery and mu­seum shows than I could pos­si­bly pack into a few days.

First stop was Lacma (Los An­ge­les County Mu­seum of Art). On the way, my taxi driver told me that the iconic lamp-post sculp­tures out­side had be­come the num­ber-one selfie spot in the city. As we ap­proached, I saw what he meant – peo­ple were draped all over this piece of art, some in full evening dress, pho­tograph­ing them­selves and each other. While I saw the funny side (and per­haps Chris Bur­den, the late artist be­hind them, would have, too), it was also a re­minder of the power of pub­lic art and its mag­netic draw.

Next stop was Down­town LA – it­self a rev­e­la­tion, as it has changed so much in re­cent years – and The Broad, an ex­tra­or­di­nary new mu­seum packed with works by artists from Jeff Koons to Julie Mehretu. One high­light was Yayoi Kusama’s In­fin­ity Mir­rored Room, a mag­i­cal space of mir­rors and lights that we en­tered one by one to spend a minute in­side. When my turn came, I took my daugh­ter in with me. She was en­tranced, al­most more so than she had been by Dis­ney­land… which was de­scribed to me by an LA gallery owner as an art­work in it­self. ONE OF MY FAVOURITE things about re­turn­ing home to Lon­don is the range of dif­fer­ent ex­pe­ri­ences of art that you can have. Tate Modern is around the cor­ner from me and I am able to visit as of­ten as I like. I also love spend­ing time at Stu­dio Voltaire, a not-for­profit gallery and artists’ stu­dio space in Clapham, where I chair the board of trustees.

On Satur­day I vis­ited its ex­hi­bi­tion based on the writ­ings of Cookie Mueller, an in­flu­en­tial fig­ure in New York’s avant-garde down­town scene in the 1980s. She be came known for her star­ring roles in the early films of John Wa­ters, and pub­lished a book called

Putti’s Pud­ding with her part­ner, the artist Vit­to­rio Scarpati; it’s an in­ti­mate por­trayal of their re­la­tion­ship and their ghostly story of liv­ing with Aids, an ill­ness that sadly claimed them both. Stu­dio Voltaire has reimag­ined this as an ex­hi­bi­tion through orig­i­nal felt-tip pen draw­ings and texts. It’s very mov­ing. I LOVE THIS TIME OF YEAR, when we are build­ing up to Frieze Lon­don (which shows con­tem­po­rary art from around the world) and Frieze Masters (with trea­sures span­ning the whole of art his­tory). There is a fa­mil­iar feel­ing of ex­cite­ment and in­tense fo­cus rip­pling through the team. The struc­tures for the fairs are be­gin­ning to take shape in Re­gent ’s Park, and soon the mag­i­cal mo­ment will come when the crates open and ev­ery­thing we have worked on all year comes to­gether.

I am al­ways as­ton­ished by the art at Frieze Masters – works made thou­sands of years ago yet still in im­mac­u­late con­di­tion. This year, I’m look­ing for­ward to Frieze Lon­don’s Sex Work, a col­lec­tion by fem­i­nist artists, many of whom were over­looked by mu­se­ums when the works were made, as they are so rad­i­cal and of­ten ex­plicit . To­day, how­ever, they feel very fresh and rel­e­vant. I think the col­lec­tion will be eye-open­ing for even the most sea­soned vis­i­tors.

There is a fa­mil­iar feel­ing of ex­cite­ment and in­tense fo­cus rip­pling through the team

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