We kicked off the Frieze week festivities with a Saturday night opening at 176 in Chalk Farm.
The museum is an old Lutheran church, which shows exhibitions of a private collection owned by the Zabludovich family. This one was installations by the artist Toby Ziegler.
We loaded up with popcorn and Kirin and set about to explore the show.
The space allows for some pretty spectacular installations, like this covered bucking bull from Mexico perched on top of some beautiful pink scaffolding.
And this enormous balloon.
Following a very strong smell of fish, by chance we stumbled upon a crazy after party in the back of the building
Kirin and popcorn were replaced by truck loads of vodka-elderflower cocktails and food all catered by Hix (hence the smell of fish).
After working the ArtLondon fair at Chelsea Hospital all weekend, going to the opening of the Pavillion of Art & Design Fair at Berkley Square on Tuesday night followed by openings in Fitzrovia, I was almost fair-ed out by Tuesday, but accepted the challenge of Frieze opening night.
The combination of all the best contemporary galleries from around the world showing their best artists, chaotic free bar and some top-notch people watching made for an exciting and over-stimulating experience.
Thursday night was a more low-key and less intense though equally chaotic event: Art Bingo at Yinka Shonibare's studio just off Broadway Market.
The lovely Elaine, in town for a short time as part of an around the world jaunt, joined in the fun and games.
After 3 bottles of red wine, concentrating very hard for 3 long games of bingo and making up countless hilarious rhyming sayings for the numbers, we walked away empty handed but in very high spirits.
After a much needed rest on Friday night, we regrouped for an opening at Wilkinson on Vyner Street. Compared to the usual First Thursday mayhem, it was a relatively calm and subdued affair, before we decided to drink the bar dry....
And Leigh Douros showed up!
After they kicked us out of the gallery, the shenanigans continued long into the night...
And despite feeling a little fragile on Sunday, I made it to Portland Place to check out the Absolut Artists Salon.
We managed to stomach a cloudy apple apple cocktail and made use of the art materials available in the salon-style basement.
In the rest of the building, which has at various stages over the years been home the home of sorts of aristocrats, the embassy of Sierra Leone and a swingers club, housed a magnificent exhibition called 'Vanitas: The Transience of Earthly Pleasures'. We preceded a tour of the show with an intimate artists talk by Hugo Wilson, who was intelligent, fascinating and charming. One to keep an eye on I'm sure.
The first piece we encountered was one of the most magnificent.
It is comprised of 88 taxidermy animals: 46 birds (35 varieties), 40 mammals (18 varieties) and 2 fish. Faaar out.
Everything was lit and displayed so beautifully,
and ingeniously placed in nooks and crannies around the house.
The building had a pervading feeling of faded grandeur, with the low moody lighting, enormous mirrors, worn wooden floors and peeling walls.
Lurking in the basement was an awe-inspiring work called 'Slick' by Kate MccGwire. Magpie and crow feathers were oozing out of an antique fire basket, shiny and luminous yet sinister and macabre.
How to sum it all up, who knows, but there is a hell of a lot of very cool stuff being made, and London really seems to me to be the centre of it all.