Frieze Art Fair 2010, London

'There are more galleries than ever this year and a higher quality of applicants,' says Frieze co-founder Amanda Sharp, who, when she set up the annual art fair eight years ago, never in her wildest dreams thought it would become such a London blockbuster. Sales this year were buoyant, with collectors on a spending spree as soon as the doors opened.

So with solid sales, huge crowds, and tons of great galleries in situ, Sharp is overjoyed. But what of the art? 'It feels more reflective and thoughtful,' she says. True, there is a less macabre aura, and fewer shouty, bombastic pieces. Berlinde de Bruyckere's strung-up waxwork, at Hauser & Wirth (opens in new tab) gallery is one of the few gory sculptures on show, while in the somewhat disappointing Frieze sculpture park outside the tent, a pile of rubbish by Wolfgang Ganter and Kaj Aune simply feels passé.

More on trend is the steel-gated Stephen Friedman (opens in new tab) gallery, where the show is dedicated to British humorist David Shrigley, (whose serious side is currently, persistently, protesting cuts to the arts). And at Kate MacGarry gallery (opens in new tab), artist Marcus Coates, whose life-size sculpture of himself wearing a horses' head and sunglasses, represents him performing a shamanistic ritual in a Liverpool council block. Coates believes he has the power to fall into trances and communicate with the animal kingdom, which he does in front of often sceptical audiences while recording them.

This 'other world' theme continued at Danish gallery Andersen's Contemporary (opens in new tab) which dedicated its space to an artist called Fos, whose hair-covered urn for crematorium ashes was on sale for €12,000. All around the fair, British/Japanese artist Simon Fujiwara created archaeological digs and excavation sites featuring mock mosaics and fake skeletons, all of which signified an ancient lost city beneath the fair site.

Among the good stuff, there is the usual tat; skateboards with MDF boxes tied to them, anyone? A giant cookie monster that looked like it had been made by a five-year-old? Or how about a sculpture of a reel of iPhone apps? But at least this year, there does seem to be less of it.

The problem with so much of the work on display at Frieze is that you often need to know the back story before you can appreciate the piece, and with galleries all competing for space and attention, this is not easy. Take a pastel coloured rug and cushions with squiggles entitled 'A Partial Grammar' that looks like something found in Debenhams in the 1980s. It is in fact a series of pieces made from the 1980s until now by well regarded French artist Marc Camille Chaimovicz, who has spent 45 years working in different media from film-making to wallpaper design. You always learn something new at Frieze, which helps explain why it is so popular.

Outside the main tent, dealers Hauser & Wirth (opens in new tab) are cementing their reputation as an art world power house by opening a giant new gallery in Savile Row in which previously unseen fabrics by the late Louise Bourgeois were on display. At the Museum of Everything (opens in new tab), Victoriana, courtesy of Sir Peter Blake and founder James Brett, is the over-riding theme; midgets, freak show stars, miniature steam fairs and shell art, formed a witty and light-hearted collection. A highlight is the work of Victorian taxidermist Walter Potter who created a world where squirrels and rats go to the pub, play cards and have boxing matches. No surprise that Damien Hirst collects them.

At the Zabludowicz Collection (opens in new tab), in a former Methodist chapel in north London, abstract aluminium sculptures by British artist Toby Ziegler are on show. Among them is an abstract interpretation of a 200-year-old bust that Picasso dared one of his pals to steal from the Louvre in the early 1900s. Appropriation- always a theme at Frieze - has, it seems, a long history.

Frieze Art Fair 2010, London

(Image credit: TBC)

Tomas Saraceno's 'untitled' at the Andersen's contemporary, Frieze Sculpture Park

DOOSRA - The other maze

(Image credit: TBC)

Sanchayan Ghosh's 'DOOSRA - The other maze' at Experimenter, Frieze Sculpture Park

The Smoking Silver Father Figures

(Image credit: TBC)

Daniel Silver's 'The Smoking Silver Father Figures', Frieze Sculpture Park

Frieze Art Fair 2010, London

(Image credit: TBC)

'Untitled Sphere' by Olafur Eliasson at Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, New York

White Spiritus Backview II

(Image credit: TBC)

'White Spiritus Backview II' by Katja Strunz at The Modern Institute, Glasgow

Frieze Art Fair 2010, London

(Image credit: TBC)

Tatiana Echeverri Fernandez at the Carl Freedman Gallery, London

Frieze Art Fair 2010, London

(Image credit: TBC)

Marc Quinn at Galerie Thaddeus Ropac, Paris

Frieze Art Fair 2010, London

(Image credit: TBC)

'Mr Mutt' by Erwin Wurm at Galerie Thaddeus Ropac, Paris

Frieze Art Fair 2010, London

(Image credit: TBC)

Farhad Moshiri at Galerie Thaddeus Ropac, Paris

Frieze Art Fair 2010, London

(Image credit: TBC)

'Modele' by Marine Hugonnier at Max Wigram Gallery, London

Frieze Art Fair 2010, London

(Image credit: TBC)

'Double Dissolve' by Teresita Fernandez at Lehmann Maupin Gallery, New York

Frieze Art Fair 2010, London

(Image credit: TBC)

'Mr Under' by Erwin Wurm at Lehmann Maupin Gallery, New York

Frieze Art Fair 2010, London

(Image credit: TBC)

Alex Hutte at Galeria Helga de Alvear, Madrid

Frieze Art Fair 2010, London

(Image credit: TBC)

'The reading room' by Shannon Ebner and Dexter Sinister for Frieze Projects

Frieze Art Fair 2010, London

(Image credit: TBC)

'LOVE' by Gimhongsok at Kukje Gallery, Seoul

Frieze Art Fair 2010, London

(Image credit: TBC)

Hein-kuhn Oh at Kukje Gallery, Seoul

Frieze Art Fair 2010, London

(Image credit: TBC)

'Arrow' and 'Peter Reed' by Robert Mapplethorpe at Alison Jacques gallery, London

Frieze Art Fair 2010, London

(Image credit: TBC)

Daniel Sinsel and Angus Fairhurst at Sadie Coles, London who won the Stand Prize this year

Frieze Art Fair 2010, London

(Image credit: TBC)

Table by Valentin Carron at 303 Gallery, New York

Frieze Art Fair 2010, London

(Image credit: TBC)

Bharti Kher at Hauser & Wirth

Frieze Art Fair 2010, London

(Image credit: TBC)

Jason Rhodes at Hauser & Wirth

Frieze Art Fair 2010, London

(Image credit: TBC)

Berlinde de Bruyckere at Hauser & Wirth

Frieze Art Fair 2010, London

(Image credit: TBC)

Mark Tansey at the Gagosian Gallery

Frieze Art Fair 2010, London

(Image credit: TBC)

Anish Kapoor at the Gladstone Gallery

Frieze Art Fair 2010, London

(Image credit: TBC)

Allora & Galzadilla at the Gladstone Gallery

Frieze Art Fair 2010, London

(Image credit: TBC)

'The End' at Maureen Paley, London

Frieze Art Fair 2010, London

(Image credit: TBC)

'Me as Warhol in drag with scar' by Gillian Wearing at Maureen Paley, London

Frieze Art Fair 2010, London

(Image credit: TBC)

David Shrigley at Stephen Friedman Gallery, London

Frieze Art Fair 2010, London

(Image credit: TBC)

David Shrigley at Stephen Friedman Gallery, London

Frieze Art Fair 2010, London

(Image credit: TBC)

David Shrigley at Stephen Friedman Gallery, London

Frieze Art Fair 2010, London

(Image credit: TBC)

Sarah Morris at Friedrich Petzel Gallery, New York

Frieze Art Fair 2010, London

(Image credit: TBC)

'House' by Bart Stolle at Zeno X Gallery, Antwerp

Frieze Art Fair 2010, London

(Image credit: TBC)

Aristarkh Chebyshev and Alexei Shulgin at XL Gallery, Moscow

Frieze Art Fair 2010, London

(Image credit: TBC)

Fos at Andersen Contemporary

Frieze Art Fair 2010, London

(Image credit: TBC)

Fos at Andersen Contemporary

Frieze Art Fair 2010, London

(Image credit: TBC)

Spectacular lights at the Perrotin Gallery, Paris

Frieze Art Fair 2010, London

(Image credit: TBC)

Caetano de Almeida at Galeria Luisa Strina, Sao Paulo

Frieze Art Fair 2010, London

(Image credit: TBC)

Andreas Gursky at the White Cube

Frieze Art Fair 2010, London

(Image credit: TBC)

Damien Hirst at the White Cube

Frieze Art Fair 2010, London

(Image credit: TBC)

Stan Douglas at David Zwirner

Frieze Art Fair 2010, London

(Image credit: TBC)

Alex Hartley at Victoria Miro Gallery, London

Frieze Art Fair 2010, London

(Image credit: TBC)

Maria Nepomuceno at Victoria Miro

Frieze Art Fair 2010, London

(Image credit: TBC)

Simon Fujiwara for Frieze Projects

Frieze Art Fair 2010, London

(Image credit: TBC)

Eric Baudelaire at Galeria Juana de Aizpuru, Madrid

Frieze Art Fair 2010, London

(Image credit: TBC)

Maria Nepomuceno at A Gentil Carioca, Rio de Janeiro

Frieze Art Fair 2010, London

(Image credit: TBC)

Babak Golkar at The Third Line, Dubai

Frieze Art Fair 2010, London

(Image credit: TBC)

Joana Hadjithomas and Khalil Joreige at The Third Line, Dubai

Frieze Art Fair 2010, London

(Image credit: TBC)

Mark Aerial Waller at Rodeo, Istanbul

Frieze Art Fair 2010, London

(Image credit: TBC)

Simon Fujiwara for Frieze Projects

Frieze Art Fair 2010, London

(Image credit: TBC)

Toby Ziegler at the At the Zabludowicz Collection, located in a former Methodist chapel in north London

Frieze Art Fair 2010, London

(Image credit: TBC)

Toby Ziegler at the At the Zabludowicz Collection

Frieze Art Fair 2010, London

(Image credit: TBC)

'Untitled' by Louise Bourgeois, 2005, at Hauser & Wirth's newest gallery space in Savile Row

Frieze Art Fair 2010, London

(Image credit: TBC)

'Untitled' by Louise Bourgeois, 2005, at Hauser & Wirth

Frieze Art Fair 2010, London

(Image credit: TBC)

'Untitled' by Louise Bourgeois, 2008, at Hauser & Wirth

Frieze Art Fair 2010, London

(Image credit: TBC)

The Lower Five's drinking den being raided by the police by Walter Potter at the Museum of Everything in Primrose Hill

Frieze Art Fair 2010, London

(Image credit: TBC)

Sir Peter Blake (left) who unveils some of his own discoveries for the first time at the Museum of Everything, with James Brett, the museum's founder and curator

Emma O'Kelly is a contributing editor at Wallpaper*. She joined the magazine on issue 4 as news editor and since since then has worked in full and part time roles across many editorial departments. She is a freelance journalist based in London and works for a range of titles from Condé Nast Traveller to The Telegraph. She is currently working on a book about Scandinavian sauna culture and is renovating a mid century house in the Italian Lakes.