Strictly Critical Video: Gopnik and Viveros-Fauné at Frieze Art Fair

Our art critics pretend to be billionaire buyers.


Our pair of critics visit the third New York edition of Frieze, one of the world’s most prestigious art fairs, founded in London in 2003. Neither Blake Gopnik nor Christian Viveros-Fauné are fans of an unbridled art market, and they have both been disappointed by how bad the best art can look at a fair. But they’ve come to the conclusion that all such events are really about a pleasure that isn’t aesthetic: They are occasions to indulge in the joy of shopping.

Of course our critics don’t have the kind of wealth it would take to truly go on a buying spree for fine art. They are rich in one thing, however: imagination. Donning figurative top hats, they decide to become oligarchs for a day and make some fictional purchases.

“Donald Judd matters to me. A serious art collector has got to have some Donald Judd,” says Gopnik, perusing the Minimal wares at one gallery’s stall. “I love Ai Weiwei’s work,” says Viveros-Fauné , as he takes in the painted vases the Chinese master has for sale at another booth. “They’re total eye candy and I think that’s absolutely great.”

They are undecided about some brand new works by Ed Ruscha. “I think you want great Ruscha from the classic period,” says Gopnik.  “Sure,” says his pal, “but I’ll take this any day.”


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