With Art London, it begins - Spear's Magazine

With Art London, it begins

Art fair time is upon us again. Break out the Amex Black.

Art fair time is upon again. Break out the Amex Black.

Last night Art London held its preview in the normally serene grounds of the Royal Hospital. Substitute 'Chelsea types' for 'Chelsea pensioners' and you have the flavour of it.

Among the dozens of stalls, deals were being done for what was largely uninspiring work. It seemed that the art – mostly paintings in the thousands – were more of the interior decoration stripe than of a particularly ars gratia artis one. Put it this way: you can see the paintings in Ormonde Gate drawing rooms, not in White Cube.

This is no bad thing, necessarily. Not everyone wants daring, avant garde art. But with daring comes excitement, and excitement was sorely lacking.

The Frieze Art Fair rolls around in a fortnight, in the equally tranquil grounds of Regents Park. Of course, Frieze has super-celeb galleries and anyone who's anyone must be there, but – on last year's evidence and this year's Art London – it is by far the better fair.

The galleries showcase bold work, not all of which is confined to canvases, and if it is a slog to get round 150 galleries, it is that much more inspiring. There is also a sense of fun, of life, which passes electricity around the fair-goers.

Of course, there is Zoo Art on at the same time, and this is for younger artists, so should be dynamic.

I'll reserve judgement until the fairs have run out of candy floss and canvas, but I think this may well be Frieze's year (again).