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THE ART OF THE FAIR: AN INTERVIEW WITH FRIEZE'S AMANDA SHARP & MATTHEW SLOTOVER

Few, if any, contemporary art fairs would seem so emblematic of the phenomenon’s increasing prominence and changing complexion within the globalized art world during the past decade as the Frieze Art Fair. Established in London in 2003 by AMANDA SHARP and MATTHEW SLOTOVER, publishers of the eponymous British art magazine, the event was unique for extending beyond the traditional limits of the showroom floor to incorporate talks, performances, and commissioned projects by some of the most prominent artists and thinkers of our day. The fair’s success among collectors and the general public alike—sales in 2005 (the most current year for which such figures are available) totaled $57 million, while last October’s event drew nearly seventy thousand visits— has also prompted many to call the fair a signal moment in the transformation of London into an international arts capital. To discuss the fair’s inception and genealogy, ongoing development, and evolving relationship with art exhibitions and publications, Sharp and Slotover generously spoke by telephone with Artforum editor TIM GRIFFIN shortly before we went to press.

TIM GRIFFIN: As it happens, I’ve been editor of Artforum for four years now—my very first issue, in fact, coincided with the first Frieze Art Fair—and so I remember well the moment I first heard about your plans to create the fair, since it involved, to my mind, some reconception of an art magazine, if only by extending the infrastructure around it. In this regard, precisely what made me excited about the fair also gave me pause: At a moment when art seemed in ever greater proximity with culture more generally—and when commercial culture was increasingly interested in offering what had traditionally belonged to the terrain of art, in terms of transformative experiences, education, etc.—here was an effort plainly situating art within that broader landscape. There was a real risk for the reception and perception of art and criticism, I thought, but also amazing potential in shaping a public

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