faces to watch in the arts world 1. Stephen Friedman
Stephen Friedman bought his first work of art at the age of 13. Now at 31, he has opened his first London gallery, bringing a new generation of artists to the West End. And that's just the beginning.
Tuesday 20 June 1995
Friedman caught the art bug early - blaming his antique dealer mother in Montreal - and boasts that he bought his first work at auction at the age of 13, watching his investment rise in value as he grew. He's no sentimentalist - "this," he says, "is a business" - but he won't be selling his prized possession.
Friedman stalled out as a marketing man for TDK electronics, jumped ship and worked for Christie's in London for five years before deciding to turn dealer. He had a game-plan, patrolled the international art fairs, got himself on to the panel of the Tate's Patrons of New Art committee, built up contacts and has opened just when London, he believes, is beginning to consolidate itself as the main focus for the European art market. Since the 1980s crash, London has vied for the position of Europe's art capital: Paris hasn't enough good indigenous art, Cologne's liveliness has palled, and Madrid, though beautiful, is on the way to nowhere.The importance of London, Friedman believes, is due in part to the current international enthusiasm for young British art, and in part to the presence of the major auction houses.
Asked about whom he intends to show, Friedman is cagey. He mentions names, retracts them, keeps mum on which of the emerging younger British artists he's set his sights on - maybe he wants to surprise us, and his colleagues, with his acumen. Instead, he talks of unknown Americans, the septuagenarian Canadian Betty Goodwin, a glass-blowing conceptualist called Josia McElheny, and Tom Friedman (no relation), a photographer currently exhibiting in New York's Museum of Modern Art. All of whom are unknown in Britain.
The buoyant Friedman, who would like to see more co-operation within the art world and a more informed British audience for art, could have a tough job. He is interested in setting up a proper international art fair here, in collaboration with the other serious galleries. London's previous attempts, at Olympia and the Business Design Centre in Islington, have been amateurish fiascos.
"The Tate came, Nick Serota came, everyone came," Friedman said, to his opening lunch, where guests were surrounded by Anya Gallachio's work, a gigantic daisy-chain of wilting flowers. Some of the dealers, apparently, looked a bit paranoid. But then many of them do, most of the time. As Gallachio's flowers fade, will Friedman's optimism fade with it? Let's hope not.
n Stephen Friedman Gallery, 25-28 Old Burlington St, London W1 (0171- 494 1434)
Film Hollywood's new leading lady talks about her Ramsay Street days
Oscar voter speaks outfilm
Review: Broadchurch episode 7TV
JK Rowling's story is a far better drama than it is a bookTV
Art Police investigate abuse sent to Paul Cummins over Tower of London installation
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Liam Gallagher brands Kanye West 'utter s**t' during BRIT Awards performance
- 2 Isis burns thousands of books and rare manuscripts from Mosul's libraries
- 3 People who sleep more than eight hours are more likely to have a stroke, research shows
- 4 Kanye West climbs on table at Nando's to crowd chants of 'Yeezus' before Brit Awards 2015 performance of 'All Day'
- 5 Muslim women's rights campaigner writes heartfelt letter to girls thinking of joining Isis
Alien 5: Sigourney Weaver will reprise Ripley role in new movie, says director Neill Blomkamp
Madonna falls off stage at Brit Awards – and then nails her performance
Brits 2015: Pharrell Williams only non-white winner as music awards follow Oscars 'white wash'
The Reading & Leeds 2015 line-up if it only included bands with female members looks pretty sparse
Wolf Hall finale, review: Simply brilliant TV
Oscars 2015: Birdman beats Boyhood as Eddie Redmayne and Patricia Arquette win big - as it happened
New theory could prove how life began and disprove God
Half of Ukip voters say they are prejudiced against people of other races
'Cash for access' scandal: Sir Malcolm Rifkind says 'unrealistic' for MPs to live on £67,000 salary
Aqsa Mahmood branded a 'disgrace' by her parents after claims she recruited three UK girls flying to Middle East
Ukraine crisis: 'One miscalculation, and Britain faces an existential threat to our whole being...'