Meet Alex Donaldson, founder of art consultancy Kaleidoscope and our very own Frieze insider. Having worked for global art businesses, Alex has extensive experience in building art collections with corporate firms, luxury brands and private collectors. And with her own platform Kaleidoscope, she provides a bespoke service to connect emerging contemporary artists with collectors who are keen to intelligently expand their collection while fostering young talent. With impressive consulting expertise and a history in curating cultural programmes for the likes of Soho House and London Design Festival, Alex is your go to for what’s hot and what’s not this Frieze art fair. Here she gives us the scoop on the contemporary art circus that is Frieze week.
Frieze art fair brings together over 160 of the world's leading galleries showing iconic and emerging art from contemporary artists of today. With its robust sales and top-notch roster of galleries it’s easy to see how London’s creative curiosity is piqued by this colossal contemporary art affair.
Kaleidoscope advises clients on the best that Frieze has to offer, so here's a little breakdown of what’s hot this time around. This year's edition has a dedicated section around the theme of “social work”. It’s a development from the hugely successful Sex Works theme last year, which focused on radical feminists. This time, a panel of female art historians and critics are choosing a cluster of 10 prominent women artists who explore the themes of identity, labour and visibility and neatly slipped under the radar of recognition during the 1980s when male artists dominated the market. The gender discrepancies are hard to ignore, with the highest price for a living female work of art being by Yayoi Kusama at $7.1million and for a male artist being Jeff Koons at $58.4 million. This year’s fair could be seen as a collective response to the hard-hitting fact that 70% of all artists shown are men, so the scales are set for a balancing act.
Aside from the expected string of blue-chip galleries, there is a particularly stellar line up from the younger galleries in London who have very much been rising through the ranks and gaining in confidence each year. Some star attractions include The Sunday Painter, Arcadia Missa and Seventeen Gallery who will be entering the main section after many years of being able to showcase their works in the subsidised emerging gallery section “Focus” for galleries under the age of 12 years. Rana Begum will have a solo show with Kate MacGarry, coinciding with the jewel-coloured sculpture she is presenting in the Frieze Sculpture Park. Her work explores how colour, light and form interact and the laminated glasswork throws an exquisite rainbow onto the grass of Regent’s Park.
Although the line up at Frieze can be intimidating, collecting art is not only reserved for the glitterati. Starting out with creating your art collection, it can be more workable to invest in affordable art by younger artists and spaces. The ‘Focus’ section at Frieze allows up and coming artists to showcase their work at discounted rates. Milano Chow is one artist who we are particularly excited about; she shows with Mary Mary Gallery and makes elegantly eloquent drawings of female figures set within neoclassical frames.