Frieze Masters flattens Frieze Art Fair.

2012 has seen Frieze expand three-fold, with new additions Frieze NY and Frieze Masters.

As always, the fair is brash and intimidating, but exciting; and perhaps even an air of social consciousness is detectable with Frieze Project’s Grizedale Arts producing The Colosseum of the Consumed: feeding the public and discussing consumerism and food politics, whilst also featuring Bedwyr Williams who is just such a nice bloke.

The Sculpture Garden didn’t scream out any particularly interesting pieces, except maybe Joanna Rajkowska’s Forcing a Miracle which filled the air with the faint smell of incense and singed the grass of Regent’s Park – clever and refreshingly un-Frieze-like in its subtlety and modesty.

Frieze Masters is a genius addition for Frieze, however. Real, solid, skilled works are presented a calmer environment, free from the gallery politics which dominate its younger, ruder brother each year. Having worked at Frieze last year, I’m aware of the fierce competition between some of the gallerists and it was reassuring to see that the same set up has not yet taken Frieze Masters – which is instead a pattern of equal booths, happily facing one another.

Well curated, Old Masters stand comfortably by their contemporary counter-parts; this is Frieze with class – refined, self-assured yet respectful. For the comparison, it was worth seeing both this year; but perhaps next year I’ll just take the mature, intellectual older brother and leave the noisy teenager to it.

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