Edward Lucie-Smith reviews Frieze Art Fair London 2013, in a critical take on the contemporary scene.
It's pretty easy to get the point of the Frieze Masters art fair, now in its second edition, after a very successful start last year. Its purpose is to present the best of the best - or, at the very least, a good slice of the top quality art that is currently on the market. It includes art from every epoch - antiquities, Old Masters, classic Modernism, and a good range of well established, highly regarded contemporary artists, with work ranging from David Hockney to Judy Chicago. Whether to you respond to what they have to offer or not, these artists are icons of the two rather different cultures they belong to.
One of the great pleasures of Frieze Masters, this year more than ever, is the accidental confrontations the event manages to set up. Seeing an Old Master out of the corner of your eyes, when a work by a still living artist is directly in front of you certainly helps to simulate one's critical and interpretative faculties. Any quibbles one may have remain minor. For example, if you wanted visible proof that the aging Picasso was over-prolific, you only needed to come here. But you knew that already, didn't you, long before you walked through the door?