If a Hirst breaks your budget, don't despair
London's Frieze week caters for the poorer collector, too
Wednesday 10 October 2012
For some deep-pocketed individuals the prices for contemporary works of art at Frieze Art Fair may seem reasonable. But for those of us who don't have a cool £3.5m for a Damien Hirst formaldehyde (as one collector did in 2010), there are plenty of other options to buy art on the cheap during Frieze week.
Inside the main tent in Regent's Park is Allied Editions, a joint initiative by the Camden Arts Centre, Chisenhale Gallery, the Institute of Contemporary Arts, the Serpentine Gallery, Studio Voltaire and the Whitechapel Gallery. From as little as £25 for a poster, to as much as £9,600 for one of 10 hand-sculpted porcelains (many works hover around the £1,500 mark), buyers can snap up a limited-edition piece by contemporary artists including former YBA Gillian Wearing, Turner prize-winning artist Jeremy Deller and one of the founding fathers of conceptual art, Mel Bochner. Add £27 to the price of any purchase to cover entrance to the fair.
Outside of Frieze, there are a number of free satellite fairs offering affordable alternatives. Multiplied, which was founded by Christie's auction house and has been running for three years, offers limited editions and multiples, priced between £100 and £20,000. Prints, photographs, books and sculptures by big name contemporary artists including David Hockney, Peter Blake and Rachel Whiteread can be picked up for a fraction of the price of their one-off works. Those with a keen eye for a rising star can chose something from an exhibition of works by MA graduates from the Royal College of Art.
For something a little grittier, Moniker Art Fair is dedicated to street art. Prices here start at £75 for a signed print (edition of 50) by the Los Angeles-based painter Luke Chueh and climb to £25,000 for a unique mechanised rocking chair by the Surrealist-style artist Nancy Fouts. Now in its third year, Moniker has a history of featuring artists just before their markets take off so savvy collectors can not only bag something beautiful, but also be confident in their financial investment. Narrowing the gap between street art and contemporary art, this year's event focuses on installations.
A stone's throw from Tate Modern is Moving Image, the contemporary video art fair. Traditionally viewed as difficult to show and sell at fairs, video art is enjoying its moment in the sun, partly because of advances in technology, but partly because it is relatively cheap – both for dealers to transport and collectors to buy. Among the least expensive works on show is a film by emerging artist Kate Steciw, priced at $1,500 (£930), while at the top end of the scale is a Gary Hill video for $38,000 (£23,500). Collectors can expect to pay on average $12,000 (£7,400) for a video work at this year's Moving Image.
Sunday art fair features contemporary pieces priced from £200 to more than £12,000. With no booths or divisions, the satellite fair offers its 20 participating exhibitors greater freedom to show more experimental art by emerging talent, such as Cartier award-winning artist Simon Fujiwara, art-market darling Michael Bauer and John Moores Painting prize nominee Cornelia Baltes. A short hop from Regent's Park, Sunday offers art lovers of more modest means an opportunity to get a toehold in the contemporary art market.
Frieze Art Fair, Regent's Park, London NW1 (friezelondon.com) 11-14 October; Multiplied, Christie's, London SW7 (multipliedartfair.com) 12-15 October; Moniker Art Fair, Village Underground, London EC2 (villageunderground.co.uk) 11-14 October; Moving Image, Oxo Tower Wharf, London SE1 (moving-image.info) 11-14 October; Sunday, Ambika P3, London NW1 (sunday-fair.com) 11-14 October
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