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At Frieze London, People-Watching Is Part of the Art

Highlights from the #peoplelookingatart photo competition.
From photographer Mark Blower’s series People Looking at Art. Photo: Mark Blower

Frieze is an art fair reserved for some of the world’s greatest pieces of contemporary art, the cultural event equivalent to Christmas if you’re an art buyer or even just a plain art fan. Despite being heavily criticized—high prices for entry limiting accessibility, as one example—Frieze does make attempts through social media to democratically engage with new audiences in its annual People Looking at Art competition.


“The #peoplelookingatart competition celebrates the human art experience, and also the astonishing amount and variation of art events taking place during Frieze Week across London and New York,” Head of Frieze Communications Michelangelo Bendandi tells The Creators Project. “Also, it’s fun.”

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Using the hashtag #PeopleLookingAtArt any social media user could entry the Frieze competition. Here’s an entry by the Instagram account @antropova

While sounding a bit simplistic when compared to some of the high brow works on display, Bendandi says he has an interest for “candid photos of people in galleries,” much like London-based photographer Mark Blower, who is globally noted for documenting the unique experiences individuals have with an artwork.


From photographer Mark Blower’s series People Looking at Art. Photo: Mark Blower

“Photos of people looking at art have become a visual cliché on social media but when done well it can be an image of an intimate, uniquely human moment,” says Bendandi.

Blower, who judged the recent Frieze competition in London, chose Instagram user Laura Gabe as the winner for her image displaying a man engaged with visual artist Hans Op de Beeck's installation The Silent Library. Announcing his decision over Instagram, Blower says, “There were so many great images to chose from but it kept coming back to this one by @laugabe. I like everything about it—a fantastic photograph.”

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The winner of the People Looking at Art competition at this year’s Frieze London. Photo: @laugabe

Gabe receives a limited edition print by British artist and 2012 Turner Prize winner Elizabeth Price, made specifically for Frieze in conjunction with the art fair’s partnership with Allied Editions, a gallery collective offering affordable art.

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One of Blower’s favorites by Instagram user @jogroglog

Frieze London ran from October 6 - 9, 2016. See more of photographer Mark Blower’s work here.


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