Who to buy, what to collect and how to get the most out of Frieze London

Ahead of the the UK’s biggest art fair, Chris Mugan asks seven art-world insiders about which emerging artist they’d most like to collect, the best way for new collectors to enter the market, and their tips for first-time visitors

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  • Frank Cohen, Collector

In a perfect world, which emerging or young artist would you be starting to collect, and why?

I am interested in Alex Da Corte because he’s a bit different. He’s American, but was raised in Venezuela, and now he’s a visual artist working in Philadelphia. At this stage in his career he has mainly done museum shows rather than sticking with one particular gallery, so he is pacing himself rather than trying to be the next big thing.

Where do the main opportunities exist for new collectors in the contemporary art market?

There is a buzz about African art at the moment, with people going after Senegal and places like that, but it changes by the day. I go to as many openings as I can and try to meet the artists and people running galleries. There's nothing better than seeing things for yourself.

What is your best-kept secret or key piece of advice for first-time visitors to Frieze London?

It will be a nightmare if you try and look at everything. You should do a lot of research before you go — find out where artists have been exhibiting, and especially what museum shows they have had.

Fortnum's X Frank, featuring works from the Frank Cohen Collection, runs at Fortnum & Mason, London, until October 15

In a perfect world, which emerging or young artist would you be starting to collect, and why?

My most recent studio visit was in Newcastle with Daniel Davies, who graduated from Northumbria University in 2015. His practice evolves from the constant feed of information in our daily lives — the interplay between digital image and actual object. Davies’s process of making — copying, tiling, reworking — enhances our awareness of the process by which we access information at ever-increasing speeds. It’s an interesting space to explore. Look out for him; he is showing next year with Limoncello.

Daniel Davies, I like to thinkRight now, please, 2015. Spray paint, acrylic, emulsion and paint pen on canvas, 80 x 120 cm (31½ x 47¼ in). Courtesy of Limoncello

Daniel Davies, I like to think/Right now, please, 2015. Spray paint, acrylic, emulsion and paint pen on canvas, 80 x 120 cm (31½ x 47¼ in). Courtesy of Limoncello

Where do the main opportunities exist for new collectors in the contemporary art market?

By supporting artists' careers and going on an exciting creative journey.

What is your best-kept secret or key piece of advice for first-time visitors to Frieze London?

Look, look and look again. Don’t be drawn by someone’s whispering about the latest ‘hot prospect’. The most important basis for buying a piece of work is that you feel a real connection to it.

Monica Bonvicini opens at BALTIC on November 18

In a perfect world, which emerging or young artist would you be starting to collect, and why?

Visiting the Turner Prize this week was a revelation — there’s so much energy paired with exquisite technical ambition and execution. It’s a real jolt and much appreciated. Therefore, I would love to find a place at home for a work by my standout favourites, Helen Marten or Michael Dean.

Helen Marten, 2016 Courtesy Joe Humphrys © Tate Photography

Helen Marten, 2016 Courtesy Joe Humphrys © Tate Photography

Where do the main opportunities exist for new collectors in the contemporary art market?

The market offers so many opportunities to participate, but it does not always need to be monetary investment. Frieze week is a great opportunity to participate in other ways, such as the programme of talks or the events, openings and tours put on by commercial galleries and our amazing museums. These opportunities run year-round, so my suggestion is to build a relationship with those making and presenting art and see where it leads you.

What is your best-kept secret or key piece of advice for a first-time visitor to Frieze?

Book ahead for lunch. Yes, you can reserve in advance — and better still, you feel like a major player when you walk past the baying crowd straight into one of the superb restaurants.

Gagosian Gallery in London is showing Richard Serra at Britannia Street from October 1 and Ed Ruscha: Extremes and In-betweens at Grosvenor Hill from October 5

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  • Nana Oforiatta-Ayim, founder of Ghanaian art institution ANO

In a perfect world, which emerging or young artist would you be starting to collect, and why?

     Two young female artists: Elisabeth Efua Sutherland, who is currently doing an 89plus residency in Paris, and Latifah Idriss, who works at the intersection of art and architecture, and has a project debuting at the 1:54 Contemporary African Art Fair. They are both visionary artists who cross boundaries with their forms. They’re at the beginnings of their careers and at the same time they are possessed with an incredible clarity and daring in what they’re doing. It will be exciting to watch them both develop.

Latifah Idriss, Image from Kiosk Series, 2015
Latifah Idriss, Image from Kiosk Series, 2015

Where do the main opportunities exist for new collectors in the contemporary art market?

In Africa, particularly Ghana, Nigeria, Kenya and Ethiopia, where the art scenes are flourishing and the work is dynamic and full of integrity.

What is your best-kept secret or key piece of advice for first-time visitors to Frieze London?

To visit the Frieze Talks programme. I have taken part twice and the other speakers have always been people I have been incredibly excited to see and listen to. Also, look at what galleries and museums in London are showing to complement Frieze. It is as if they all get dressed up in their best clothes at this time, and there is always something exciting to see.

ANO launches its book and film Agbako [Untold], about new museum and architectural models for Ghanaian and wider African contexts, at 1:54 on October 9

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  • Nicholas Trembley, art critic and curator

In a perfect world, which emerging or young artist would you be starting to collect, and why?

I love ceramics, and I’m very excited about the ways in which a new generation of artists is embracing the medium. Matthew Lutz-Kinoy is a good example — his masks are fascinating.

Where do the main opportunities exist for new collectors in the contemporary art market?

I think collectors are becoming increasingly curious about new types of work — performance, craft and video — and these provide a huge amount of freedom for artists and collectors alike. The Nineties was a time for artistic experimentation and collaboration, and I think we are seeing a return to these more enlightened values, in reaction to a world in political and social schism. I also think that new artist-run spaces will start to emerge again, which represent exciting new models for the arts and its patrons.

Matthew Lutz-Kinoy, 600 Saturday Night at the Largo do Arouche, 2015. Acrylic on unprimed canvas. 120 x 96 x 1 in (305 x 243.5 x 2.5 cm). Courtesy Freedman Fitzpatrick

Matthew Lutz-Kinoy, 6:00 Saturday Night at the Largo do Arouche, 2015. Acrylic on unprimed canvas. 120 x 96 x 1 in (305 x 243.5 x 2.5 cm). Courtesy Freedman Fitzpatrick

What is your best-kept secret or key piece of advice for first-time visitors to Frieze London?

Pick up a map as soon as you arrive and bring a pen to mark out things you like and want to return to. Trust me, you won’t be able to see everything in one tour! 

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  • Courtney J. Martin, Assistant Professor, Brown University

In a perfect world, which emerging or young artist would you be starting to collect, and why?

I have started looking at more new media and time-based media artists recently, like Appau Jnr Boakye-Yiadom, Julia Phillips and Hannah Black. In their own ways, they each have an unimpaired approach to working with video — their work is punchy, but never without substance.

Where do the main opportunities exist for new collectors in the contemporary art market?

New collectors should not worry about where or how they should enter the market. The great thing about the contemporary art market is its flexibility and potential for short-term change. Within the next few years, we could see a totally different set of opportunities, resources, intuitions and structures. Every few months, collectors might take the temperature, so to speak, by reading material and talking to others to determine if they are collecting the work that makes the most sense for them and their collection.

What is your best-kept secret or key piece of advice for first-time visitors to Frieze London?

Take it slow. Art fairs can be overwhelming, especially for first-time visitors. But Frieze is a comprehensive fair, with two distinct sections — Frieze London and Frieze Masters — and an outdoor sculpture park. I like to alternate hours inside the fair with short trips outside to see the sculpture and get a breath of fresh air.

Four Generations: The Joyner Giuffrida Collection of Abstract Art, edited by Courtney J Martin, is out now 

In a perfect world, which emerging or young artist would you be starting to collect, and why?

I particularly like Meriem Bennani, a Moroccon-born artist who currently lives in Brooklyn. She has developed a fake reality-TV show called Fardaous Funjab, which is centred on a fictitious hijab designer and her headpieces. Playing on the idioms of post-internet culture, the young artist’s Instagram acts as an alternative outlet for her skills as an animator and filmmaker, and for her outlandish sense of humour. She has shown at MoMA and the Jewish Museum.

Where do the main opportunities exist for new collectors in the contemporary art market?

Don’t blindly follow the latest trends. Immerse yourself in exhibitions and fairs, find out what interests you and trust your judgement — your collection should reflect what makes you happy.

What is your best-kept secret or key piece of advice for first-time visitors to Frieze London?

Wear comfortable shoes and don’t be afraid to ask questions. Art fairs are a great way to learn!

Masterpiece London runs June 29 – July 5 2017