Not to worry. Those high-top Pumas hanging over the sign for Hauser & Wirth’s booth at Frieze are supposed to be there. As with most unusual sights at an art fair, it’s an artwork. The artist responsible is the relentless Swiss provocateur Christoph Büchel. Dated 2009, it’s priced at €25,000 (about $31,980).
A gallery director told me that Büchel has another piece inside the booth (which was organized by Mark Wallinger around the theme of Sigmund Freud’s study), though it’s not always on view: a security guard who periodically sleeps in the booth. That work is also dated 2009. And then the director spoke the saddest words, but words that one often hears at these fast-moving events: I had just missed him.