Art Frieze Masters 2017

Impressions from the Masters fair.

Roy Lichtenstein, Painting: Green Brushstrokes, 1984, Gagosian
Georg Baselitz, Der Italiener, 1981, Gagosian

In 1989 the Ludwig museum in Cologne organised a group exhibition ‘Bilderstreit’ (Picture Fight) pairing artists in rooms whose style is radically different – like night and day. Gagosian reunited Georg Baselitz and Roy Lichtenstein who were also linked together in the original exhibition. At Masters the gallery shows around a dozen of works including ‘Lichtenstein’s Painting’s: Oriental Still Life’ that was shown in Cologne a the time. The differences in style are obvious but there are also similarities in the scratching gestures of the brushstrokes on the canvases.

Roy Lichtenstein, Sunrise Over Water, 1982, Gagosian

Pietro Consagra, Green Cipollina marble, 1975, Robillant+Voena

The Italian artist is credited as the inventor of ‘scultura frontale’. He believed he was able to create a more direct dialogue between art and viewer by creating two-dimensional abstract sculptures. The sculptures are carved out of one piece of marble.

Fred Sandback, Untitled, 1968/1983, Anthony Maier Fine Arts

Egon Schiele, Two Friends, 1912, Richard Nagy

Blum+Poe presents eight abstract landscape paintings by Julian Schnabel. Alison Gingeras’s wall text states, “the catalyst for these paintings was the artist’s trip to Japan when Schnabel became beguiled by the use of gradient colours in the design of Japanese calendars”. On top of the subdued gradients Schnabel made grand gestures by applying the paint with his fingers, hands and feet on the canvas. When I interviewed Alex Katz earlier this week, I was amazed when he told me that one of the large paintings in his current show at Timothy Taylor took him him three hours to complete. Making a large painting is a physical exercise. In Schnabel’s work the viewer experiences this even more. You are confronted by the artist’s wild gestures and the physicality also literally shows in his work as you can see his footprint on the bottom of the canvas.

The Waddington Custot booth is a recreation of a part of Peter Blake’s West-London studio. The idea behind the presentation is to enable visitors to view the environment in which Blake’s works are created and provide them the experience of a studio visit. Blake became renowned for album cover he designed with Jann Haworth for the Beatles album Sgt Pepper’s; a collage of celebrities surrounding the Fab Four. The charming and playful booth features key works of Blake’s career, his collection of books, his model train and a table with figures that the artist has cut out from magazines and books.

Cy Twombly, Untitled, [Rome], 1964, Craig F. Starr Gallery

Lucien Freud, Small Figure, 1983-84, Acquavella

Patrick Caulfield, Evening Paper, 1999, Offer Waterman

Serge Poliakoff, composition abstraite, 1952-54, Eykyn Maclean

Saburo Murakami, Sakuhin, 1960, Axel Vervoordt

Lucien Clergue, Nu Zebre, New York, 1988, Bernheimer

Written by Thierry Somers