This year Zoo removed the fair from its name and shrunk its gallery stands to focus on curated projects. Those with some pennies to spend headed to the limit-edition print section (ICA’s Matthew Brannon edition and Chisenhale’s David Noonan book being the hot favourites). There were a lot of video works on show. The best was a Studio Voltaire commission between Nicholas Byrne and Anthea Hamilton entitled Calypsos – a fun four-screen piece filled with the sounds of calypso records. Charlie Woolley’s radio show at the David Risley Gallery stand was as fun as ever – especially the karaoke on the weekend.
After dying with Frieze flu, I revived on Saturday morning to catch The Posters Came From the Walls – the Jeremy Deller film about Depeche Mode fans being screened with Artprojx at the Prince Charles cinema. The film was hilarious, brilliantly edited and politically fascinating. I then headed to the Cork Street breakfast to see Boo Ritson’s opening of sticky plastic paintings (and lunch at Cecconi’s with the oh so talented Neil Hamon, who's text piece was one of the highlights of Zoo), and ran up to The Embassy to see Alex Dellal’s show which had a few good (Yarisal and Kublitz, Marco Brambilla) and some not so good pieces on show…
After a quick change went to Jeffrey Deitch and Raqib Shaw’s small gathering at Raqib’s studio. There was a Japanese zen garden upstairs and 17th century rococo decadence downstairs. Flowers were everywhere. It was like being in a stage set. Norman Rosenthal and Anita Zabludowicz took turns on the indoor swing. I mainly chatted away to the delightfully intelligent Nick Rhodes (from Duran Duran) before rushing off to grab Jose Parla at Keith Tyson’s show at Parasol Unit. After popping in to Anselm Kiefer in Hoxton Square we gave up on art (and the Vilma Gold/Maureen Paley and Gavin Brown/Herald Street parties in the wilds of Dalston). And another Frieze was over.
It was a strange year – the fairs were much quieter. There was a lot more attempt at curation. But the shows across London were beyond impressive. Thankfully a good number of ones missed are open all month - Sophie Calle at the Whitechapel, John Baldessari at Tate Modern, Stephen G Rhodes at Vilma Gold, Dr Lakra at Kate McGarry, Dara Birnbaum at Wilkinson, Crash in Peckham, the mutli gallery show at James Taylor Gallery. Enough to make your eyes sore.