At Frieze London, Art (and Sales) Have a Tangible New Energy

Soft Opening's Olivia Erlanger Frieze Booth 2021. Photography by Theo Christelis.
Soft Opening's Olivia Erlanger Frieze Booth 2021. Photography by Theo Christelis.

On the ground, Frieze London felt like the first big fair we’ve seen since COVID with all the VIPs—we spotted Gagosian’s Sophia Cohen and her father, a smiling Wolfgang Tillmans and jewelry darling Jesse Lazowski—and a full tent of gallerists. Some of them even went maskless. Overall, a giddy feeling kicked down the halls, which seems to be translating into sales for all. We didn’t get too bogged down in the shopping and instead opted to spend our time haunting the spare solo booths that we found.

Installation view. Photography by Lewis Ronald, courtesy of the Artist and Helena Anrather, New York.

Kristin Walsh at Helena Anrather

New York

The New York-based machinist and sculptor brought her shiny welded aluminum (seriously; you can’t touch them without leaving prints) machines to the tent. They include an engine, solid soda cans and a flickering streetlight with an ill-fated, albeit mechanical, moth inside banging against the glass.

Lucy Bull, 1:00, 2021. Photography by Elon Schoenholz, courtesy of David Kordansky Gallery, Los Angeles.

Lucy Bull at David Kordansky

Los Angeles

By the time we'd arrived, every last one of Young Artists 2021 alumni Lucy Bull’s psychedelic landscapes had already been scooped up by institutions but that didn’t stop us from blowing the crowds to stare deep into her illusionary brushwork. Overall, abstraction was back in full force at Frieze London but it was Bull that kept our attention. An honorable mention should be given to Jennifer Guidi whose dizzying Gagosian booth was right next door (and also sold out!).

Jala Wahid, at booth H3 at Frieze Focus Section. Photography by Tim Bowditch.

Jala Wahid at Sophie Tappeiner


Sophie Tappeiner has our number. The Vienna-based gallerist puts artists first as was evident in her solo presentation of Jala Wahid. The booth compiled a grouping of the London-based sculptor’s resin and fiberglass works into a larger mural that meditated on symbols of Kurdish nationalism. Unfamiliar with the symbology, it hits Tom Wesselmann vibes without the Pop Art guilt.

Do Ho Suh, Doorknobs on Backplates: Providence Home and New York Homes, 2021. Photography © Do Ho Suh. Courtesy the artist and Lehmann Maupin, New York, Hong Kong, Seoul, and London.

Do Ho Suh at Lehmann Maupin

New York, Hong Kong, Seoul and London

The tent brought us in but it's the framed sculptures that made us stay. On his way to becoming a household name, the peripatetic artist Do Ho Suh brought the entire kit and caboodle to Frieze London with doorknobs, faucets and outlet plates. The everything-but-the-kitchen-sink approach is not usually a favorite but here it worked and added a new dimension of intimacy to an artist who we’ve come to know through installation.

Olivia Erlanger, "38.9173100271627° N, -77.22183907758908° W”. Image courtesy of Olivia Erlanger and Soft Opening, London. Photography by Theo Christelis.

Olivia Erlanger at Soft Opening


The art world is not so secretly in love with Antonia Marsh who gave young artists a footprint in London. In this case, the benefactor is Olivia Erlanger whose new series of planetary lamps quite literally pierced through the fair fatigue with their playfully violent arrow mounts. It gave us Saint Sebastian and Gaetano Pesce on a date.

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