Jo Stella-Sawicka is artistic director for Frieze art fairs. The former director of London’s Stephen Friedman Gallery and one time art curator of Monsoon Art Collection, she joined Frieze in 2011. At the time, it was expanding from one annual event to three; Frieze London, Frieze Masters and Frieze New York.’
Image: Courtesy of Frieze
This month sees Frieze London take place in Regent’s Park, from 14–17 October. It will feature 164 galleries from 27 countries as well as a new ‘Live’ section dedicated to pivotal performance art.
For her part in the fair’s curatorial programme, Jo oversees Europe, the Middle East and Russia. Back in London, she recently joined the council at the ICA. She also sits on the round circle for Crossrail, advising on major art commissions for its new rail stations.
Work aside, you’ll often find Jo at Claridge’s where she especially likes the boudoir charm of the ladies powder room. As for fashion, labels of choice include Gucci and Rag & Bone. Here she reveals more of her top Mayfair hangouts:
Hauser & Wirth, 23 Savile Row
A world-renowned gallery with outposts in London, Zurich, Somerset, New York and also Los Angeles (opening next year), Hauser & Wirth’s exciting, high-concept stands at Frieze London and Frieze Masters are a testament to the gallery’s outstanding artists and curatorial intelligence. This month’s ‘field’ of 42 sculptures at Frieze London features Takesada Matsutani, Paul McCarthy and Louise Bourgeois, among many others. While at Frieze Masters, Hauser & Wirth is collaborating with the historical gallery Moretti Fine Art, for the first time, on an ambitious presentation. This explores the idea of an ideal collection – drawing together works spanning centuries – from 14th-century Italian panels to the likes of Henry Moore and Francis Picabia.
Claridge’s, Brook Street
Just stepping into Claridge’s is to enter an ambiance of luxury, style and calm. Its fabulous Art Deco charm – the interior was designed in the 1920s – has been tastefully updated with the interventions of subsequent designers, and it managers to feel both timeless and fresh. The themed decorations of the great Christmas tree every year in its lobby are such a treat. I can fully understand why many of Frieze’s international VIP guests won’t stay anywhere else when they visit London.
Gucci, 34 Old Bond Street
Gucci is still the last word in chic, and I really admire the way it balances such incredibly rich heritage with an effortless ability to innovate. Within the space of a year, its new creative director Alessandro Michele has produced some incredibly inventive collections, which expand upon the label’s legacy. This makes Gucci an ideal partner for Frieze Masters, which frames the deep interconnection between the art of the past and the present. I am thrilled that Gucci’s support enables Frieze Masters Talks for 2015, which features contemporary artists such as Ellen Gallagher and Lawrence Weiner in conversation with the curators and directors of leading museums. They will be discussing the influence of historical art, as well as the likes of broadcaster Sir John Tusa and novelist Ali Smith.
The Arts Club, 40 Dover Street
The Arts Club is brilliant because you can drop in anytime. It’s always comfortable, always elegant and always relaxed. There is no end of gorgeous art to see here. Frieze collaborates with the club on some of its programmed content. For example, recent talks by renowned collectors gave invaluable advice on how to start collecting. It is great to have a club of this standard so close to the gallery district and which also gives members and non-members such a unique insight into the art world. Mayfair is the destination choice for shopping and seeing art. I don’t think there’s anywhere else in the world you find these two things coalesce in this way, nor do I think anywhere else would be home to something as special as The Arts Club.
Belmacz, 45 Davis Street
This is – excuse the pun – a real bijoux place. The jewellery designs by Julia Muggenberg are often inspired by early modernist art movements, with motifs drawn from Bauhaus and constructivism. I love the way Julia brings her own wares together with contemporary art, ancient artefacts and furniture – it’s like a modern Wunderkammer. Her eye is so good. She was invited to exhibit at Nottingham Contemporary, where she showed items from her own collection. Muggenberg is an inspiring example of how collecting across periods and categories can be effortless and relevant.