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40 Under 40 Europe 2014

Victoria Siddall

27 August 2014

What are you most proud of with Frieze Masters?

The exhibitor list, which I think was great from year one. That’s really been core to the whole thing. Some of the Old Master and ancient art dealers got the concept immediately, and others were harder to convince: but ultimately in year three, I feel we’ve got the dream exhibitor list.

How do you see the fair developing in coming years?

I think what Frieze is creating in October – between the two fairs in London – is an unmissable week in the city. The more that all the museums and galleries in the capital coordinate everything to coincide with the fairs, the more it feels like an extraordinary week for art lovers. This year ‘Rembrandt: The Late Works’ opens at the National Gallery the same week as Frieze. Something else that’s been interesting is the trend for galleries to present solo stands at Frieze Masters. This year we’ll have solo stands of Hogarth, Joseph Beuys, Alighiero Boetti, Jean Tinguely, Lygia Pape…I think galleries see Frieze Masters as a fair where they can make a statement.

Looking back, what would you like to have known about the art world when you first started working in it?

That’s a hard question! Something it’s taken me time to figure out – probably because I didn’t go to art school – is that artists make the best teachers. They can get us to look at art in ways that just don’t occur to other people. In more traditional sectors of the market, where experience has always counted for so much, are there enough opportunities for young people? There are some amazing young people working in galleries and museums. But there could be more: I think it’s really important that historical art feels fresh and engaging to every new generation.

And what about collectors? Is Frieze Masters attracting a new breed of young collector?

Obviously, with the Frieze name attached to Frieze Masters, the fair’s attracted a young audience from the beginning. But it’s also something that we’re actively working on – encouraging young collectors to buy historical art isn’t something that happens overnight. I think young dealers do feel the need to develop some collectors in their generation.

Which young artists do you like to imagine being shown at the Frieze Masters of the future?

I suppose I think about it in terms of our talks programme. We’ve approached artists who feel part of a thread running through history, who are connected to the past and will be the artists that people look at in that future: Cecily Brown, Luc Tuymans, Glenn Brown, Beatriz Milhazes and others. But there are also so many artists who come to the fair and have said how much they enjoy it – like Eddie Peake, Jeremy Deller and Amalia Pica.

Do you sense a generational divide between the audiences for historical and contemporary art?

Those boundaries are starting to be blurred. We’re trying to bring audiences in both directions. I think the Old Masters market in particular needs to find a new generation of collectors, and hope we can make an impact there. It’s interesting to see how many artists actually buy Old Masters.

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