October 2009 events diary

Last month London was buzzing with its festival of design, but now it is soaking up art. Events in tents are springing up all around the capital, pulling in the cultural cognoscenti from all over world
Glazed ceramic by Grayson Perry
© Grayson Perry/Victoria Miro Gallery, London
Glazed ceramic by Grayson Perry (2009), Victoria Miro Gallery: Frieze Art Fair 2009

Frieze Art Fair

This is the big draw, celebrated internationally for modern art, and spawning many fringe festivities. Over 160 international galleries are coming from 15-18 October to a tent in Regents Park, NW1.
Tickets on gate: £20; concessions £15; £60 for full weekend. But you can wander amidst the spectacular specially-installed sculpture garden for free, seeing, for example, The Couple by Louise Bourgois.; www.friezeartfair.com.

Art London

This fair, from 8-12 October, conveniently fits in before Frieze. Again, leading international galleries bring painting, sculpture, photography, works on paper, ceramics and glass to an impressive marquee in the grounds of the Royal Hospital, with its own sculpture garden. A special exhibition has treasures from Kensington's exotic Leighton House Museum, which is currently closed for refurbishment.
Buy a single ticket on the door for £12, or pay £18 for two people - this includes an illustrated catalogue; The Royal Hospital, Chelsea, SW3; www.artlondon.net.

The Free Art Fair

From 12-18 October, 50 leading artists are showing - for free - at the Barbican. Choose the work you most like, then join an eager (and early) queue on the last day. Get there first and it's yours - for free. This is the last of three such events.
Silk Street, EC2; www.freeartfair.com; www.barbican.org.uk/visitor-information.

Molecular Armchair by Antonio Pio Saracino
© Todd Merrill Studio Contemporary
Molecular Armchair by Antonio Pio Saracino, 2009: Pavilion of Art & Design London

Pavilion of Art & Design

"Design art" is controversial, but now established. Traditionally, design is functional - and therefore not art. Furniture, lighting, ceramics, glass, metalwork and so on, which are admittedly impressive one-offs or limited editions, are offered at accordingly high prices. See what you think at this upmarket show (14-18 October), now in its third year (and previously called simply "Design Art"). Over 45 dealers are coming from Paris, London, Brussels, Milan, Barcelona, Geneva and New York. They are selling modern and decorative arts and design from 1860 to the present. Miniature chairs for children have been decorated in limited editions for charity by leading designers such as Zaha Hadid, Philippe Starck and Mattia Bonetti.
Berkeley Square, Mayfair, W1; www.padlondon.net .

The Affordable Art Fair

Congrats to the AAF on its 10th anniversary (22-25 October). An antidote, perhaps, to high prices elsewhere, this lively show (in a tent yet again) sells artworks for, at the very most, £3,000. Find 120 dynamic galleries with thousands of paintings, sculpture, photography and original prints by young artists (from the Slade, RCA, Central St Martins and more) and established masters (watch out for Howard Hodgkin and David Hockney).
Tickets on door £12, concessions £10; children under 16 free; save £2 by booking in advance. Free shuttle from Sloane Square tube station; 0870 777 2255; www.affordableartfair.co.uk.

Jeff Koons' rabbit

A huge silver balloon 16 metres high is hovering in the South Hall, Market Building of Covent Garden, WC2, from 8-11 October. First seen as a float in Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade 2007 in New York, it is modelled on Koons' metre-high stainless steel sculpture Rabbit (1986), which appears in Pop Life: Art in a Material World open at Tate Modern, SE1, until 17 January 2010.
www.coventgardenlondonuk.com; www.tate.org.uk.

Pleated and crumpled vessel in fine silver by Care Ransom
Pleated and crumpled vessel in fine silver by Care Ransom, £3,200: Goldsmiths' Fair


The internationally-celebrated fair for work by contemporary designer makers is in two parts: from 6-11 October; and 13-18 October.
Tickets from £10; Somerset House, The Strand, WC2; www.craftscouncil.org.uk .

Goldsmiths' Fair: week 2

Celebrated internationally, this dazzling show assembles precious jewellery, artefacts and objets d'art from around 80 of Britain's finest designer makers. Old crafts meet fascinating new technologies. Raid the piggy bank as it's all for sale.
6-11 October; Goldsmiths' Hall, EC2; www.thegoldsmiths.co.uk.

Design Museum

An exhibition on the celebrated contemporary British architect David Chipperfield (who established his practice in 1984) runs from 21 October to 7 January 2010.
Shad Thames, SE1; 020 7940 8790; www.designmuseum.org.

"Pirouette", original bronze by Benson Landes
"Pirouette", original bronze by Benson Landes, £9,750 from Callaghan Fine Paintings: The Esher Hall Antiques and Fine Art Fair

Cardiff Design Festival

Make October the month to visit Cardiff to see this exciting festival (now in its fifth year) which runs throughout the entire month. It embraces shops, markets, museums and clubs, with serious and fun events. Check out the programme on www.cardiffdesignfestival.org.

Esher Hall Antiques and Fine Art Fair

Buy a tiger stripe to help Surrey-based Global Tiger Patrol and maybe win a prize at this lively fair (9-11 October), with 35 dealers offering fine art and antiques which are mostly pre-1970. Feast your eyes on furniture, paintings, objets d'art, jewellery and some contemporary paintings and drawings. Then put restoration queries to experts from the British Antique Furniture Restorers' Association, and be amazed by their masterly demos. Good value at £5 including a catalogue and re-admission. There is a creche for children up to the age of eight at the weekend but please book; 01797 252030 or at info@adfl.co.uk
Esher Hall, Sandown Park Racecourse, Esher, Surrey; www.adlf.co.uk.

National Apple Day

All kinds of "apple activities" are at Spitalfields City Farm (9-11 October) - arts and crafts, food and tastings, games, family fun, longest peel competition, and - of course - apple bobbing. They are asking you to bring any otherwise-unpicked fruit.
Buxton Street, E1; 020 7247 8762; www.spitalfieldscityfarm.org.

* Many events of the London Design Festival are running until 19 October (and some until the end of the month) including the impressive sculptures Size+Matter on the South Bank, SE1, and the amazing Jane Withers light show at the V&A. Find details (and more events) on www.londondesignfestival.com.

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