After a pandemic-enforced hiatus, Frieze’s iconic white tent is back in the capital with a bumper event celebrating inclusivity and champions emerging talents. But the best events and art openings reach far, far beyond the tarpaulin, activating pockets of the city with a heady mix of art – whatever your taste.
Here are the art shows and openings we’re looking forward to this month, including a triple billing at 180 The Strand, booth highlights and the recreations of an iconic Black community space from LA to London.
‘Lux: New Wave of Contemporary Art’ by SUUM Project with Fact at 180 Studios, 180 The Strand
The physical and virtual collide at the interactive group show, Lux: New Wave of Contemporary Art, which explores the intersection of digital technologies and sound. Organised by SUUM Project in collaboration with Fact at 180 Studios, 180 The Strand, the gigantuan show transforms the physical confines of the brutalist space through technology, sensory stimulation, and colour spectrums.
Among highlights are Es Devlin’s sensorial environment, ‘BLUESKYWHITE’; ‘Black Corporeal (breathe)’ – a critical examination on the relationship between materiality and the black psyche by Julian Knxx; and a new kinetic media sculpture ‘Flower Meadow’ by Swiss studio for media architecture art studio iart.
Korean collective a’strict, Je Baak, Cecilia Bengolea, Cao Yuxi, Carsten Nicolai, Random International, Hito Steyerl, and Universal Everything will also present works alongside the UK premiere of Refik Anadol’s ‘Renaissance Generative Dreams.
Daniel Arsham x 180 Studios present ‘Bronze Garden’ (2021)
Visitors to Lux can recalibrate with a quick meditation session at Daniel Arsham’s Bronze Garden – a zen sculptural space presented by the artist in collaboration with 180 Studios.
Conceived as a stand-alone installation in its own right – Julian Knxx’s triple-screen film presentation, In Praise of Still Boys at The Store X – the architectural intervention is a physical foil for the digital group show upstairs and promises to be highly instagramable.
Noah Davis and The Underground Museum at David Zwirner
It’s been six years since the art world lost Noah Davis, but the painter and activist continue to bring people together across the globe with his enigmatic shows exploring Black culture. During Frieze, David Zwirner Gallery will present the first UK solo show of Davis’ enthralling portraits, including a series of works on the Pueblo del Rio housing project, conceived by Paul Revere Williams. Davis took photographs of the estate as references, translating them through paint and filling in the foreground with figures of its inhabitants.
As well as his body of visual work, Davis’ legacy lives on through the Underground Museum in Los Angeles, which he co-founded with his wife and fellow artist Karon Davis. The community space cum gallery is among North America’s most important art galleries, and its offices will be recreated in the Upper Rooms to coincide with Frieze.
Maotik x La Prairie present ‘Sense of Blue’
It’s a sensorial affair at Swiss skincare brand La Prairie’s inaugural presentation at Frieze London, which sees them collaborate with French digital artist Maotik to create an otherworldly, immersive environment that explores the depth of the colour, cobalt blue.
Maotik is known for using computer-generated algorithms, low-frequency sounds and elaborate lighting effects to distort his audience’s sense of space and experience with his immersive installations. Sense of Blue borrows many of these tricks, with the addition of motion sensors and shifting blue and black lights. The result promises to be dizzying.
Frieze Sculpture 2021 at Regent’s Park
Running until 31 October at London’s Regent’s Park, Frieze Sculpture ushered in the start of Frieze festivities with a bumper offering of playful site-specific works from the likes of Vanessa da Silva, Rasheed Araeen, Daniel Arsham, Rose Wylie, and Yunizar to name but a few. The show, curated for the ninth time by Clare Lilley, director of programming at Yorkshire Sculpture Park, explores themes of architecture, environmentalism, geopolitics and displacement. Pieces range from giant pineapples to a fragment of the 2021 Serpentine Pavilion, presented by Counterspace.
With outdoor sculpture taking on new significance in the wake of the pandemic, Frieze Sculpture has heightened importance in the present climate. It offers an accessible way for visitors to experience art at a safe, social distance.
A. A. Murakami x Superblue at Burlington Gardens
Tokyo/London-based artist duo A.A. Murakami, the artists behind Studio Swine, present Silent Fall in collaboration with Suberblue – a site-specific, multi-sensory installation created for Burlington Gardens.
Silent Fall sees audiences experience an endless forest that stimulates the senses, probing the boundary between organic and artificial. In a playful twist, ‘trees’ produce hundreds of misty bubbles – the visualisation of their hard work converting CO2 to oxygen. As each bubble bursts, it releases a natural scent, from moss to rain or pine.
Superblue opened its Miami space earlier this year, bringing digital art to the masses.
Wangari Mathenge at Pippy Houldsworth Gallery
The domestic space takes a starring role in the paintings of US-Kenyan artist Wangari Mathenge at her debut UK solo show at Pippy Houldsworth Gallery. Her large-scale paintings response to Mawuna Remarque Koutin’s essay, “Why are white people expats when the rest of us are immigrants?”.
Mathenge recreates 1970s living spaces in large format, drawing from childhood photographs and presenting her ongoing series, The Ascendents, which shows portraits of figures surrounded by objects that represent their time, location and culture.
Theaster Gates: ‘A Clay Sermon’ at Whitechapel Gallery
This show at London’s Whitechapel Gallery could almost be considered the prequel to Theaster Gates’ 2022 Serpentine Pavilion design. The artist and Stony Bank founder will present a series of vessels rendered in clay, as well as a new film titled A Clay Sermon (2021), delivering a musical sermon that blends elements of gospel song with improvised jazz music as part of the exhibition. It initiates the artist’s year-long, multi-venue investigation into the material and spiritual significance of clay in craft, labour, community building, religion, colonialism and global trade, culminating with his design for the Serpentine Pavilion next summer.
‘Social Works II’ curated by Antwaun Sargent at Gagosian
Curator Antwaun Sargent has assembled an all-star cast of artists and architects from the African diaspora for Social Works II. This Gagosian group show probes the link between space and artistic practice, geography and identity.
Among its many highlights is Serpentine Pavilion architect Sumayya Vally’s sculptural wall fragment, which will be used as a site for research and ritual. At the same time, David Adjaye presents earth-rammed sculptures that explore this ancient and innovative West African mode of building.
‘The French Dispatch’ at 180 Studios, 180 The Strand
Few directors have established their aesthetic so artfully as Wes Anderson, and to celebrate the release of his 10th film, The French Dispatch, objects, props and sets from the film will be restaged inside 180 The Strand. Fans of the auteur’s work will have the opportunity to peek behind the curtain and see how his artistic vision is brought to life before embracing fiction with a trip to Le Sans Blague Cafe, recreated in painstaking detail inside the Brutalist building.
Sung Tieu at Frieze: Focus
Sung Tieu’s solo booth at Frieze’s Focus section will show her new film, inspired by ‘Havana Syndrome’. The mystery illness was reported by diplomats staying at a hotel in the Cuban capital, with victims experiencing nausea, headaches and acoustic pressure in their heads – believed to be caused by sonic manipulation, frequencies and Cold War-style espionage.
Tieu’s film uses footage from the hotel along with MRI scans and visualisations of her own brain, under the influence of sonic warfare and acoustic weaponry, to explore how our architectural and audio environments can impact our wellness.