Reflecting on the legacies of Frieze Art Week

Full piece - headerMimi Winsor, Grinding the Wind, Chelsea College of Art and Design Parade Ground

Frieze Art Week, as it is now known, has come and gone in a whirlwind. Every October, there are seemingly more exhibitions and fairs, and this year there were at least 19 in total. Undoubtedly, my count is still missing a few key events…

I’ve heard a number of people debate whether or not it is advantageous to stage events during the busy week. On the one hand, collectors from all over the world descend upon the UK capital, and thus there is potential for receiving the ideal audience. On the other hand, any single event is up against a lot of competition for visibility –  and thus, going unnoticed in a sea of frenzied artists, gallerists, curators collectors, critics and others is likely.

Anyone who spent any amount of time in London in 2012 will no doubt be familiar with the concept of legacy, as ‘Olympics legacy’ was a buzz phrase of the time. I have applied this concept to art events ever since, and my burning question following the art week is this:

What is the legacy of Frieze Art Week, for artists, gallerists, curators, collectors and the industry?

Effective planning is part and parcel to legacy. This brings to mind emerging artist Mimi Winsor, who launched a performance-based piece for which I  judged the prize that provided her the opportunity.

Susan Mumford, James White, Mimi Winsor and Martin Newth

Susan Mumford, James White, Mimi Winsor and Martin Newth

The resulting performance piece is ‘Grinding the Wind’, presenting  an impressive installation on the Chelsea College of Art Parade Ground. Not only did the recent graduate stage performances during the frenzied week, which means she caught the out-of-towners and those individuals (like myself) who caught it mid-running spring, the show continues until 3rd November 2013 with live performances throughout.

Having announced these dates and times from day one as part of the exhibition marketing plan gave Londoners – and near-Londoners, the option to attend when they weren’t so rushed off their feet. And furthermore, the artist’s marketing efforts post-Frieze have even more likelihood to be noticed.

For long-term legacy of the performance piece, a video recording and still images document the original live event at the private view. These reords suspend the piece in time, for the forseeable future. And in Mimi’s case, the week represents the launch of the emerging artist’s career.

It will also be insightful to compare and contrast success for Mimi’s show in the weeks that follow Frieze Art Week. This will consider attendance to performances, achieved press, new opportunities that are offered and related enquiries.

What do you think results in effective legacy for art shows? And what is your personal experience of this?

Please leave your comments below.

See a live performance of Mimi Winsor’s ‘Grinding the Wind‘:
Until 3rd November 2013, at 11.30am and 2pm on the following days: Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday Sunday

*The ‘This is This’ Commission was Founded in 2012 by Chelsea Graduate and Artist James Paul White. Dunan Smith of ACAVA was also a judge.

Photographs © Chris King 2013.

About Susan Mumford

My personal mission is to empower individuals who run creative enterprises.
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