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I am SO not an Art-World Hipster

October 16, 2009

So after my flustered post yesterday, I did actually make it to Frieze Art Fair today. I went with my colleague Tim in my lunch break. The art was great – I loved the map of London made from brown jewels and gold and the Louise Bourgeois couples sculpture hanging in a tree in Regent’s Park – but as much or more I loved ogling the gallerists. On the cool, fashionable, all round terrifying scale, artworld people are at the top. At the top of the cool pecking order are the artists, followed in hot pursuit by the gallerists. Gallerists combine shrewd insider knowledge about what will make money with an appreciation and eye for art that means they’ll choose the right up and coming artists. Very cool. They are the face of the art world, they sell their wares to the buyers, like Roman Abramovitch and Gwyneth Paltrow (both at Frieze on Thursday) and Lily Allen. And this means they dress really, really, really well and are often of above average beeauty, as if art works themselves.

In fact, Frieze is better than Fashion Week – you get to see the standard bearers of art world cool from 30 or so countries.  What do Lithuanian gallerists look like? Down to earth, wide-eyed. What does a Gagosian gallerist look like? Gagosian is the global gallery that sells Tracey Emin, Jeff Koons and Damien Hirst. Today, bright. One wore a dress so pink it made my eyes hurt and I felt sick seeing her next to her red-haired colleague. She was also quite beautiful and wore no makeup. The Tokyo gallerists wore ballooning black over their tiny frames and managed to look post-cool. The Muscovites were steely-jawed with green eyes and smart power dresses. Tel Aviv, like Tokyo, is a little post-cool, and it was two women in combat-style boots with no makeup, scarfing down pies. Danish cool is understated and attractive – Beijing is super young, and scruffy. I could go on.

Instead, I’ll admit to wondering if perhaps I fit in. In the sense that I wore a baggy black sweater,  navy jacket that clashed dully, odd army green trousers and converse. I looked very uncool, very non-fashion, very civilian. In looking so outside the art world – more IT technician than urban art appreciator – I wondered if perhaps I looked INSIDE the art world. In being uncool, and poorly dressed today, had I succeeded in looking cool and hip? Since I’ll never know, I’ll assume I was the hottest looking hipster in the place all day.

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