In the frame

The Bronze Age at Frieze—courtesy of Mary Beard


It is an unlikely tale; the staunch classicist Mary Beard dabbling in the contemporary art frenzy of Frieze London. Yet, for this year’s fair (5-8 October), Beard has collaborated with the contemporary juggernaut, Hauser & Wirth, to create a “fictional Bronze Age presentation from a forgotten museum”. Titled Bronze Age c.3500BC to AD 2017, the presentation riffs on the trend for immersive fair stands, creating a fictional life or place (remember Helly Nahmad’s recreation of a fictionalised collector’s apartment at Frieze Masters in 2014, an Instagram hit). Hauser & Wirth promise a “tongue in cheek” display and, as suggested, everything on the stand will be made from bronze, from antiquities on loan from UK museums and private collections, to sculptures by Marcel Duchamp, Louise Bourgeois, Henry Moore, Fausto Melotti, Rashid Johnson and Paul McCarthy. Most fun are the “ancient” bronze objects bought on eBay, although it is currently unclear as to whether these are for sale. All this, a gallery statement says, “questions modes of display within the museum format” and “highlights the power of display where the everyday item is elevated to an artefact”, apparently “otherising" the object—whatever that might mean.