Brothel-creeper patterned walls, a lawn breathing incense and a provocative mix of sculptures greet the long queues of visitors to this year's Frieze Art Fair. 'This would absolutely never be allowed in a public park in the US,' says a well-groomed male couple in response to a white bust of a muscley naked lady by Alan Kane and Simon Periton.

Their reaction flies in the face of what Grayson Perry, in conversation with Martin Parr, said at talk sponsored by Italian lifestyle brand Yoox: 'Shock is the standard response to art now because people want to be titillated. But it's hard as people are inured to it.' Tell that to Mitt Romney's supporters.

But maybe Perry is right. Inside the tent, it seemed there were fewer genitals, less gore and shock horror than in previous years. The fair felt more grown up as it entered its tenth year. Could this be due to the arrival of Frieze Masters, a sister event at the north end of Regent's Park, which features everything from ancient Mesopotamian treasures, Giacometti and Richard Avedon prints?

Nicholas Logsdail, founder of the Lisson Gallery, which was exhibiting in both shows says: 'Masters is quieter than I had hoped, but I have seen more serious collectors in here than in the contemporary fair. It's the first year, so we will see.'  

Over at the contemporary tent - a positive bun-fight compared to the serene Masters show - crowds formed around a chalkboard map of the world by Rivane Neuenschwander on to which people were invited to pin fabric slogans taken from the Occupy movements. Featuring words like 'debt', 'future' and 'nature', printed onto fabric labels, the work - shown by Tanya Bonakdar Gallery - is to be sold as it appears at the end of the fair.

Tanya Bonakdar says: 'It's been the best year for me. It feels different and I think its due to Frieze Masters which has brought some serious collectors in to town.'

There was further crowd participation at Grizedale Arts, a farm-cum-arts-organisation from the Lake District, where people in white uniforms were throwing tomatoes at each other. 'It's the re-creation of an arcane village sport,' explains curator Alistair Hudson, whose mission is 'to show that art can be useful in society.'

To this end, Grizedale set up a model cricket pavilion designed by Chinese artists Yangjiang Group, and hosted a farmers market with a difference. Along with the sale of homemade bread, pickled eggs, kimchi and jam, over the weekend, various chefs appeared to cook unusual fare, the highlight being Sam Clark of Moro and his Vermin Dinner (including the likes of parasitic fungi and squirrel). 'It's the only place in the fair where you actually see cash changing hands,' says Hudson.

Cashless transactions were continuing apace at Brazilian gallery Vermelho, where director Akio Aoki explained: 'In Brazil, there's a shortage of art. It's almost impossible to get post-2008 works by Brazilian greats like Ernesto Neto and Beatriz Milhazes. And where collectors were spending £5000, they are now spending £50,000.' He is hotly anticipating the opening in December of the White Cube in Sao Paulo where new works by Tracey Emin will go on show.  

The Frieze effect sends ripples all across the city that encourage the big galleries to put on blockbuster shows, and smaller spaces to roll out their best artists. At the Zabludowicz Collection, located in a beautifully restored Methodist chapel, British artist Matthew Darbyshire created a fictional dystopian village featuring room sets decorated with furniture from Next, ironic corporate hoardings used by developers to cover repair-work on historic buildings and bad-taste civic architecture. Within the fair, at Herald St Gallery, he created vitrines featuring Avon aftershave bottles. The smell of the aftershave still lingers in his studio.

Over at Sunday, a show featuring works from 20 galleries less than 7 years old, sales and visitor numbers were up. 'We could have sold Jack Strange's work six times over,' says Rebecca May Marston, director of Limoncello gallery - one of the event's founding galleries.

Despite its air of chaos and its down-at-heel location, people couldn't get enough. This was the same everywhere you went; Lisson Gallery held an evening banquet and 700 people turned up. Three hundred more queued outside. At Tim Noble and Sue Webster's after party at Tramp, it was one in, one out. A performance evening at David Roberts Art Foundation saw queues round the block.

Perhaps Perry, talking about why Internet art will never work, sums it up best: 'I want to see different textures, different scales. I don't want to see all my sculpture through a bit of flat glass. We are human animals. We need our tribal gatherings like Frieze.'

Painting and mosaic by Julian Opie

(Image credit: TBC)

Painting and mosaic by Julian Opie at the Lisson Gallery stand at Frieze Art Fair 2012

'White Snow Head' by Paul McCarthy

(Image credit: TBC)

'White Snow Head' by Paul McCarthy at the Hauser & Wirth stand

Blue neon installation by Gavin Turk

(Image credit: TBC)

Blue neon installation by Gavin Turk at the Almine Rech Gallery stand

'Watchword' by Rivane Neuenschwander

(Image credit: TBC)

'Watchword' by Rivane Neuenschwander at the Tanya Bonakdar Gallery stand

'Carpet III' by Marc Camille Chaimowicz

(Image credit: TBC)

'Carpet III' by Marc Camille Chaimowicz at the Andrew Kreps gallery stand

'The 6th Continent' glass sculpture by Anna Molska

(Image credit: TBC)

'The 6th Continent' glass sculpture by Anna Molska at the Broadway 1602 stand

Installation view at the Tanya Bonakdar

(Image credit: TBC)

Installation view at the Tanya Bonakdar Gallery stand

The 'Colisseum of the Consumed' is a program

(Image credit: TBC)

The 'Colisseum of the Consumed' is a program of food-related performance, discussion, representation and retail, shown at Frieze Art Fair by Grizedale and the Frieze Foundation

Hanging piece by Tomas Saraceno

(Image credit: TBC)

Hanging piece by Tomas Saraceno at the Andersen's Contemporary stand

'Untitled' installation by Tomas Saraceno

(Image credit: TBC)

'Untitled' installation by Tomas Saraceno at the Andersen's Contemporary stand

The launch of Frieze Masters

(Image credit: Lyndon Douglas
)

2012 saw the launch of Frieze Masters, a sister event to the main fair, held at the north end of Regent's Park. It featured everything from ancient Mesopotamian treasures to Giacomettis and Richard Avedon prints (the cut off point being the year 2000).
courtesy of Lyndon Douglas/ Frieze

Photo of oil field worker and bartender

(Image credit: TBC)

The Richard Avedon works include: Bubba Morrison, oil field worker, Albany, Texas, June 10, 1979; Carol Crittendon, bartender, Butte, Montana, July 1, 1981
© The Richard Avedon Foundation

The Donald Ellis Gallery stand

(Image credit: Linda Nylind
)

The Donald Ellis Gallery stand at Frieze Masters
courtesy of Linda Nylind/ Frieze

'Louise Bourgeois' by Annie Leibovitz

(Image credit: Linda Nylind
,)

'Louise Bourgeois' by Annie Leibovitz, 1977, at the Bernheimer Fine Art Photography stand, Frieze Masters Photography: Linda Nylind
, courtesy of Linda Nylind/ Frieze

Drawings for the covers of Littérature magazine

(Image credit: TBC)

1920s drawings for the covers of Littérature magazine by Francis Picabia, shown by Galerie 1900-2000, at Frieze Masters

Left, A drawing for Litterature magazine, right a drawing for the first celestial adventure of Mr. Antipyrine

(Image credit: TBC)

A drawing for Littérature magazine (left) and a drawing for the first celestial adventure of Mr. Antipyrine by T.Tzara (right), both by Francis Picabia in the 1920s, and shown by Galerie 1900-2000

Dada drawing by Serge Charchoune

(Image credit: TBC)

Dada drawing by Serge Charchoune, 1921-22, shown by Galerie 1900-2000

The eclectic offerings at the Axel Vervoodt

(Image credit: TBC)

The eclectic offerings at the Axel Vervoodt stand centred around an Italian still life by The Master of Hartford, 1590-1610

Monumental seated Sekhmet from the XVIII Dynasty

(Image credit: TBC)

Monumental seated Sekhmet from the XVIII Dynasty, Egypt, ca. 1388-1351 BC, shown by Axel Vervoordt at Frieze Masters

Abstract painting by Ad Reinhardt

(Image credit: TBC)

Abstract painting by Ad Reinhardt, 1959, shown by Axel Vervoordt at Frieze Masters

'Untitled (Country Road, Horizon) and Untitled (Cowboy Painting on Door)

(Image credit: inda Nylind
)

'Untitled (Country Road, Horizon)', 1970-74, and 'Untitled (Cowboy Painting on Door)', 1970-74, both by William Eggleston at the Victoria Miro stand, Frieze Masters. courtesy of Linda Nylind/ Frieze

Image of '13' by John McLaughlin

(Image credit: TBC)

'#13' by John McLaughlin, 1961, shown by Michael Kohn Gallery at Frieze Masters

'Showhome', created in collaboration with Owen Hatherley

(Image credit: Tim Bowditch)

One of the highlights among the shows around town hosted to coincide with the fair is 'T Rooms' at the Zabludowicz Collection (until 2 December), dedicated to Matthew Darbyshire. The artist has created a fictional dystopian village, featuring room sets decorated with furniture from Next, ironic corporate hoardings used by developers to cover repair-work on historic buildings and bad-taste civic architecture. Pictured is 'Showhome', created in collaboration with Owen Hatherley.
courtesy the artist and Zabludowicz Collection

Installation view at the 'T Rooms' show

 courtesy the artist and Zabludowicz Collection

Installation view at the 'T Rooms' show

(Image credit: Tim Bowditch)

Another image of Installation view at the 'T Rooms' show

(Image credit: Tim Bowditch)

'Smoki Shelter' by Matthew Darbyshire

(Image credit: Tim Bowditch)

'Smoking Shelter' by Matthew Darbyshire, in collaboration with Rupert Ackroyd
courtesy the artist, Herald St and Zabludowicz Collection

'Untitled Photogram No. 1, 2012' by Matthew Darbyshire

(Image credit: Tim Bowditch)

'Untitled Photogram No. 1, 2012' by Matthew Darbyshire, in collaboration with Jacob Farrell
courtesy the artist and Zabludowicz Collection

'Clocked Perspective' by Anri Sala

(Image credit: Linda Nylind
)

'Clocked Perspective' by Anri Sala at Frieze Sculpture Park
courtesy of Linda Nylind/ Frieze

'Everything is Connected' by Peter Liversidge

(Image credit: Linda Nylind
)

'Everything is Connected' by Peter Liversidge, at Frieze Sculpture Park
courtesy of Linda Nylind/ Frieze

'Flowers that Bloom Tomorrow' by Yayoi Kusama

(Image credit: Linda Nylind
)

'Flowers that Bloom Tomorrow' by Yayoi Kusama at Frieze Sculpture Park
courtesy of Linda Nylind/ Frieze

Installation titled 'The Cripples' by Toby Zeigler

(Image credit: artist and Simon Lee Gallery)

Simon Lee Gallery presented an installation titled 'The Cripples' by Toby Zeigler in the basement of Q Park, a car park space accessed by lift and concealed fourteen floors below street level on Old Burlington Street.

Five sculptures, influenced by Brueghel's painting 'The Cripples

(Image credit: TBC)

Five sculptures, influenced by Brueghel's painting 'The Cripples' are surrounded by large light boxes revealing an abstract thicket of horses legs, inspired by a detail in a Piero della Francesca fresco. The exhibition runs until 20 October.

'The Nature of Particles' by Jake & Dinos Chapman

(Image credit: TBC)

Back at the main fair, White Cube presented 'The Nature of Particles' by Jake & Dinos Chapman

'Our Parents' by Zhang Huan

(Image credit: TBC)

'Our Parents' by Zhang Huan at the White Cube stand

Detail of 'Our Parents'

(Image credit: TBC)

Detail of 'Our Parents', ash on linen, by Zhang Huan

'Invading the City of Light' by Damien Hirst

(Image credit: TBC)

'Invading the City of Light' by Damien Hirst at the White Cube stand

'American Flag' and 'Injector' by Tom Sachs

(Image credit: TBC)

'American Flag' and 'Injector' by Tom Sachs at the Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac stand

'The White Tubular Glyph' by Carol Bove

(Image credit: TBC)

'The White Tubular Glyph' by Carol Bove at the David Zwirner gallery stand

'Black Foil' by Anselm Reyle

(Image credit: TBC)

'Black Foil' by Anselm Reyle at the Andersen's Contemporary stand

Works by Tom Burr and Aaron Curry

(Image credit: TBC)

Works by Tom Burr and Aaron Curry at the Almine Rech Gallery stand

Inside the 'Frame' section of Frieze

(Image credit: TBC)

A Josh Kolbo piece at the Societe Berlin stand, inside the 'Frame' section of Frieze

'Enchantment' by Nandipha Mntanbo

(Image credit: TBC)

'Enchantment' by Nandipha Mntanbo at the Stevenson gallery stand

Image of Porcelain pieces

(Image credit: TBC)

Porcelain pieces at the Galeria Vermelho stand

'Giant Penetrable (Moon)' and 'La Femme Commode (Venus)' by Nicola L

(Image credit: TBC)

'Giant Penetrable (Moon)' and 'La Femme Commode (Venus)' by Nicola L at the Broadway 1602 stand

'Self-portrait with Blue Sunglasses' by Jonas Wood

(Image credit: TBC)

'Self-portrait with Blue Sunglasses' by Jonas Wood at the David Kordansky Gallery stand

'Lantern' by Francisco Tropa

(Image credit: TBC)

'Lantern' by Francisco Tropa at the Galerija Gregor Podnar stand

'Lantern' (detail) by Francisco Tropa

(Image credit: TBC)

'Lantern' (detail) by Francisco Tropa at the Galerija Gregor Podnar stand

'Black Corners'  (detail view) by Camilla Law

(Image credit: TBC)

'Black Corners'  (detail view) by Camilla Law at the Elastic Gallery stand

'Carbon' by Simon Starling

(Image credit: TBC)

'Carbon' by Simon Starling at the Modern Institute/Toby Webster Ltd stand

'Apparaissance' by Pierre Huyghe

(Image credit: TBC)

'Apparaissance' by Pierre Huyghe at the Esther Schipper stand

'This is your Audio Guide' by Cecile B Evans

(Image credit: TBC)

'This is your Audio Guide' by Cecile B Evans for Frieze Projects

'Untitled' by Antonis Donef

(Image credit: TBC)

'Untitled' by Antonis Donef at the Breeder Gallery stand

'Untitled' marble work by Andreas Lolis

(Image credit: TBC)

'Untitled' marble work by Andreas Lolis at the Breeder Gallery stand

'Untitled' marble work by Andreas Lolis

(Image credit: TBC)

'Untitled' marble work by Andreas Lolis at the Breeder Gallery stand

Emma O'Kelly is a freelance journalist and author based in London. Her books include Sauna: The Power of Deep Heat and she is currently working on a UK guide to wild saunas, due to be published in 2025.