Getting high at Frieze Masters
PLUS: Doig in Islington, Anita at Sunday Art Fair and Ruscha in Peckham and Mayfair
A vintage board game is putting visitors to Frieze Masters on cloud nine. Scam: the Game of International Dope Smuggling, available with Daniel Crouch Rare Books, dates from 1971, the year US president Richard Nixon declared drug abuse to be “public enemy number one”. To win the game, devised by Brown Bag Enterprises, players must make a cool $1m by buying and smuggling dope. Players move around a psychedelic board that features maps of Afghanistan and Mexico, picking up Connection or Paranoia cards along the way (these contain racy instructions such as “smoke one joint alone or move ahead three spaces” and “ripped off for $1,000 by two bisexual supermarket checkout boys”). Different coloured tokens represent pot (green), hashish (brown) and cocaine (blue). But whoever buys the game, priced at £10,000, needn’t worry too much about the minutiae. According to the instructions, “if any of the following rules seem vague, unclear or stupid, feel free to change them to suit yourself”. Finally, a game where everybody wins.
Fag end of (German) history
Attracting attention on Galerie Tobias Naehring’s stand at Sunday Art Fair is a series of eight mini-scenarios invoking key scenes from recent German history, acted out by crowds of highly animated cigarette butts and with the help of other nicotine-related detritus. These ashy protagonists pull down a Berlin Wall made from cigarette packets, engage in round-table reunification discussions around an upturned ashtray, queue up for cash handouts, get drunk, riot and end up as a rather disconsolate couple sitting on a matchstick park bench. “We want to depict the most significant events using the cheapest materials,” declares their co-creator Wilhelm Klotzek (above), who, with fellow artist David Polzin, works under the collective name of Klozin. He confesses that, as heavy smokers, both artists are never short of materials—although too much demand for their work might prove detrimental to their health.
Ruscha in Mayfair, Ruscha in Peckham
The legendary US artist Ed Ruscha is doing the rounds during Frieze week on the back of his show of new works at Gagosian. The West Coast photographer and painter dropped in to see the Royal Academy of Arts’ Abstract Expressionism exhibition. “It was a knockout. I don’t know if there’s ever been an exhibit quite like that here in England. Seeing all those things there in the raw, you stand there and shiver,” he told us. Ed also made his way to the outer reaches of south London, to Hannah Barry’s gallery in Peckham, to see the latest works by the UK artist James Capper. Last year, the 78-year-old, famous for immortalising American car culture, jumped on public transport to see cultural treats south of the Thames. (Even art-world titans sometimes take the Tube and bus.)
In a spin
First through the door at yesterday’s opening of Sunday Art Fair was the ever-energetic patronne extraordinaire Anita Zabludowicz, who was soon enthusing that the subterranean satellite fair was every bit as good (she wouldn’t be quoted as saying better) than the youthful Focus section at Frieze London. “Young artists are able to be more free,” says Zabludowicz (pictured left), who backed up these sentiments with several purchases, including a pair of Elliot Dodd’s intestinal Techno Macho Man paintings from London’s Evelyn Yard (for £1,500 apiece) and a video by the Berlin artist Maximilian Schmoetzer (€5,000 from Cologne’s Drei Gallery), which includes floating neurons, striding dinosaurs and furiously spinning wash cycles— all of which might strike a chord with the most frazzled fairgoers.
Open house at Peter Doig’s
Peter Doig’s south Islington exhibition space Tramps (not to be confused with the Mayfair nightclub) is usually a strictly under-the-radar, word-of-mouth affair. This week, however, the great and the good beat a path to this modest shopfront at 15 Micawber Street to see the latest show of powerful paintings by Grenada-born, Truro-based Denzil Forrester—an artist Doig has admired since his student days. Among those scrutinising the show, which includes two key (and timely) works relating to the death of Winston Rose in police custody in 1981, were the artists Jeremy Deller and Steven Claydon. Also in attendance was the Tate’s outgoing director Nicholas Serota, who was pleased to be reunited with the artist, having shown Forrester’s work during his time as the director of the Whitechapel Gallery in the 1980s. Another regular visitor is the artist and curator Matthew Higgs, who will be opening a show at White Columns in New York next month. It will focus on Forrester’s paintings, made both in and of London’s early dub reggae scene.