The 15 Best Booths at Frieze London and Frieze Masters

Alina Cohen
Oct 3, 2019 4:24PM

Installation view of Simon Lee Gallery's booth at Frieze London, 2019. Photo by Ocula and Charles Roussel. Courtesy of the artist, and Simon Lee Gallery, and Peres Projects, Berlin.

Over 160 galleries are mounting booths at Frieze London this week, and more than 130 are at Frieze Masters (both fairs run through Sunday). If you think you’ve seen it all, just wait until you see what the fairs have on offer. Highlights include the last Botticelli for sale; a trio of rare elephant-bird eggs; and an assemblage featuring pictures of John F. Kennedy Jr. and Carolyn Bessette fighting and making up—a riff on Robert Rauschenberg for the paparazzi age. Another must-see is the special “Woven” section at the back of Frieze London, featuring textile artists from around the world. Here, we share a guide to the can’t-miss hits of both fairs.

David Zwirner

Frieze London, Main Section, Booth B03

With works by Francis Alÿs, Harold Ancart, Lucas Arruda, Michaël Borremans, Roy DeCarava, Marlene Dumas, William Eggleston, Isa Genzken, Jeff Koons, Yayoi Kusama, Kerry James Marshall, Oscar Murillo, Chris Ofili, Raymond Pettibon, Neo Rauch, Thomas Ruff, Josh Smith, Wolfgang Tillmans, Christopher Williams, Jordan Wolfson, and Lisa Yuskavage

Installation view of David Zwirner's booth at Frieze London, 2019. Photo by Linda Nylind. Courtesy of Linda Nylind / Frieze.


Strong masculine energy courses through the David Zwirner booth, starting with the Wolfgang Tillmans crotch shot on the outer wall. The photograph, titled Layers (2018, $95,000), peers at close range between a subject’s bare legs, turning a bulge in neon orange short-shorts into the picture’s focal point. In Kerry James Marshall’s painting Car Girl 2 (2019, $3.8 million), a maroon car takes up most of the canvas, but the titular figure’s behind, clothed in intricately patterned white shorts, is what really draws the viewer’s eye. In Jordan Wolfson’s new UV print on aluminum, Untitled (2019, $450,000), bumper stickers that read “Describing how a dog was slaughtered” surround found images of John F. Kennedy Jr. and Carolyn Bessette fighting and making up. The complex, mixed-media artwork also features a blown-up picture of a small boy with a Hitler mustache that the artist drew on. “You cannot really analyze it in depth, but there’s a lot of emotions going on there,” said Zwirner senior partner Hanna Schouwink.

Finally, Zwirner checks off two art fair must-haves: reflective surfaces and Jeff Koons. The artist’s Gazing Ball (Antinous-Dionysus) (2013, $2.5 million) is a plaster bust with a shiny cobalt orb on its head. But the booth isn’t entirely about testosterone: One lovely Isa Genzken sculpture, Nefertiti (2018, €200,000), comprises a bust of the Egyptian queen, looking out over all this male gazing, decadence, and insinuation with pursed lips.


Frieze London, Main Section, Booth E3

With works by Sterling Ruby

Installation view of Gagosian's booth at Frieze London, 2019. Photo by Linda Nylind. Courtesy of Linda Nylind / Frieze.

What can’t Sterling Ruby do? The phenom just opened a show at Gagosian’s Britannia Street branch, “ACTS + TABLE,” which features sculptures made from urethane, dye, wood, and laminate. Back in June, he held a runway show in Florence to debut his new fashion line, S.R. STUDIO. LA. CA., full of garments that look appropriately paint-splattered. At Frieze London, Gagosian presents a series of paintings shown together for the first time—plus a massive ceramic tub—from the artist’s “Basin Theology” series, titled HELIOS BOAT (2019). Hues of sunshine yellow and macaroni orange unite the exuberant canvases. Bits of treated fabric, clinging to the front, nod to Ruby’s work in textiles.

Director Serena Cattaneo Adorno pointed to the bright red glaze on HELIOS BOAT, explaining how the artist glazes and reglazes his work to achieve vivid color. Inside the piece, he placed salvaged pieces of other, ruined ceramics—a testament to the medium’s inherent challenges. Adorno noted that Ruby’s studio is compartmentalized by medium, yet each portion of his practice fits neatly together. When you visit, you can see how the textiles, sculptures, and fashion inform one another. Each artwork, she said, “is always feeding into something else.”

Marianne Boesky Gallery

Frieze London, Main Section, Booth B12

With works by The Haas Brothers

Installation view of Marianne Boesky's booth at Frieze London, 2019. Photo by Andrea Rossetti. Courtesy of Marianne Boesky Gallery.

Marianne Boesky has mounted a zoo of new Haas Brothers ceramics (prices range from $6,500 to $75,000 per piece) at Frieze London. For their first-ever solo presentation in London, the dynamic duo made their largest ceramic works to date: ovular blue and yellow figures with gold-lined slits that resemble mouths or eyes. The sculptures recall both cute alien creatures and ornate shrubbery. Director Kelly Woods attributes the ambitious scale to the brothers’ growing “expertise in the medium.” She noted that the gallery brought around 40 pieces to the fair.

Some of the smaller ceramics are mounted on shelves; the pieces conjure up eggs, flowers, and pears. Gold stems abound, as do pastel-colored bodies. A shaggy, furry texture gives the luscious objects that signature playful dimension the artists have perfected over time.

Gavin Brown’s Enterprise

Frieze London, Main Section, Booth C06

With works by Martin Creed, Alex Katz, Arthur Jafa, and Joan Jonas

Installation view of Gavin Brown Enterprise's booth at Frieze London 2019. Photo by Linda Nylind. Courtesy of Linda Nylind / Frieze.

Three dates accompany Joan Jonas’s installation Mirror Room (1968, 1994, 2004). The earliest, 1968, represents the first year the storied artist began making public performances. The second, 1994, marks when Amsterdam’s Stedelijk Museum hosted a mid-career retrospective of her work. “She was really thinking about how to translate those ephemeral performances into something more solid and archival that was permanent,” said the gallery’s Emily Bates. Jonas’s solution comprises a series of mirrors; hanging black costumes adorned with their own mirrors; a 6-foot-diameter metal hoop; and a white platform that supports rocks and a television playing a video of her 1969 performance Nudes with Mirrors. The third date, 2004, indicates the first year this installation appeared in its current state.

Jonas’s historic presentation, with its black-and-white palette, offers a significant contrast to the floor Martin Creed created for the booth, Work No. 3383 (2019): acrylic-on-cotton strips in blaring red, orange, midnight blue, and candy-cane stripes. The rest of the works, which include flower paintings by Alex Katz and a print by Arthur Jafa, were all made in 2019, as well.

David Nolan Gallery

Frieze London, Main Section, Booth D15

With works by Barry Le Va, Jonathan Meese, Wardell Milan, and Jorinde Voigt

Installation view of David Nolan's booth at Frieze London, 2019. Courtesy of David Nolan Gallery, New York.

David Nolan’s booth radiates anger. Any painting of a Klansman is disturbing enough—Wardell Milan’s works (priced between $25,000 and $30,000) amplify that discomfort. Against blood-red backdrops, he renders floating, abstracted faces topped with pointy white hats. A large chunk of one subject’s face is missing, just above his bottom row of teeth.

Barry Le Va, meanwhile, has unsubtly stuck five meat cleavers into one of the booth’s walls (Cleaved Wall, 1969–70/2019, $170,000). “It’s a bit of a nod to the turmoil we’re all going through,” said director George Newall about the gallery’s overall presentation. And you can drink it all away in Jonathan Meese’s wild installation Fort d’EVOLUTIONSKNOXOZ de ZARDOZEDADADDY 2 (ERZ JOHNNY WAYNE IS DADDY COOLISMEESE) (2016/2019). The piece is a makeshift bar with wooden doors and a gold carpet; it serves bourbon through the run of the fair.

Simon Lee Gallery

Frieze London, Main Section, Booth E6

With works by Donna Huanca

Installation view of Simon Lee Gallery's booth at Frieze London, 2019. Photo by Linda Nylind. Courtesy of Linda Nylind / Frieze.

Exhausted by the fair’s sensory overload? Step into Donna Huanca’s presentation of paintings swathed in soothing shades of blue and sculptures that resemble folding screens with irregular cut-outs (all works are priced between $50,000 and $80,000). Additionally, Huanca designed a scent and a playlist for the booth. Attendees can listen to birds chirp and sniff the odor of bark from a South American tree—a nod to Huanca’s Bolivian heritage. “The scent has a lot of different elements, and it’s mostly these dark, deep, woody smells,” explained Simon Lee director Will Davies. The artist, he noted, is “trying to shift” viewers’ attention away from the hubbub and “into an immersive environment.”

Nature Morte

Frieze London, Woven Section, Booth W5

With works by Mrinalini Mukherjee

Installation view of Nature Morte's booth at Frieze London, 2019. Photo by Nicola Moritti. Courtesy of Nature Morte.

If you missed Mrinalini Mukherjee’s phenomenal New York presentation at the Met Breuer this year—or if you just can’t get enough of the late Indian artist’s large-scale fiber sculptures—stop by Nature Morte’s booth in the fair’s “Woven” section. The gallery is showing Kusum (1996), a brown-and-black work of woven hemp that hangs off a circular, central core. Both formidable and welcoming, the piece resembles flowers and female anatomy. A private collection has generously loaned out the sculpture for the fair; it’s not for sale. In fact, all of Mukherjee’s textile sculptures have found homes in private collections and museums. Yet two of Mukherjee’s layered, etched bronzes are on view and on offer for figures between $60,000 and $170,000. These, too, said gallery director Jessica Arisohn, speak to Mukherjee’s “interest in modernism, flora, botanicals, and organic structures. You can definitely see the relationship between the jute works and the bronze works.”

The Sunday Painter

Frieze London, Focus Section, Booth H18

With works by Nicholas Pope

Installation view of The Sunday Painter's booth at Frieze London, 2019. Courtesy of the Sunday Painter

Six monumental, hollow, white columns with periwinkle heads and golden horns tower over a black, rocket-shaped ceramic piece. This is the ambitious work of Nicholas Pope, an artist who represented Great Britain at the 1980 Venice Biennale. The installation on view, Yahweh and the Seraphim (1995, £250,000), was originally intended for a non-denominational chapel that Pope imagined, called Oratory of Heavenly Space. While the artwork’s title references the god and angels of the Judeo-Christian tradition, Pope hoped to create a space free from religious dogma. “His work is generally about an interrogation of beliefs,” gallery co-founder Will Jarvis said. The gallery hopes for the booth to inspire a “reappraisal” of Pope’s career.

Union Pacific

Frieze London, Focus Section, Booth H1

With works by Urara Tsuchiya

Installation view of Union Pacific's booth at Frieze London, 2019. Photo by Linda Nylind. Courtesy of Linda Nylind / Frieze.

Frieze London may be the only place in the world where you’re able to hear a man with a charming British accent tell you: “The starting price for the bras and knickers is £1,800.” Artist Urara Tsuchiya has made this unlikely and winning utterance quite possible, designing an installation made to look like a depopulated hotel room. A white bed is at the center, with ceramic undergarments flung on the mattress and floor. Tsuchiya has also outfitted the booth with a ceramic minibar, suitcases, and sexy dioramas: In one, nude figures canoodle in a sauna, while in another, the figures perch on a tree. Tsuchiya is known for her ceramic bowls with human and animal figures laid inside for the viewer to discover. “Through performative practice, the booth is an expansion on the idea of that,” said director Nigel Dunkley. He noted that the works are priced up to around £10,000 per piece.

Revolver Galería

Frieze London, Focus Section, Booth H17

With works by Ishmael Randall Weeks and Giancarlo Scaglia

Installation view of Revolver Galería's booth at Frieze London, 2019. Photo by Linda Nylind. Courtesy of Linda Nylind / Frieze.

Revolver Galería presents work by two Peruvian artists that, according to gallery director Carla Guardiola, widely represents their national culture, “historically, economically, socially, politically.” It’s a tall, ambitious order. The first artist, Giancarlo Scaglia, has created work on the Peruvian island of El Frontón, which hosted a political prison. Scaglia allows traditional art materials, like paper, to soak up the weather and relief of the landscape. Then, he adds elements such as gold and guano—when paired, the two materials suggest both the highest and lowest of culture. Ishmael Randall Weeks, on the other hand, makes mixed-media sculptures that incorporate elements of his home country: rattan, a woven fiber, and concrete from neighborhoods and tennis courts. Prices range from $2,500 to $20,000.

White Cube

Frieze London, Main Section, Booth D7

With works by Jac Leirner and Virginia Overton

Installation view of White Cube's booth at Frieze London, 2019. Photo by Linda Nylind. Courtesy of Linda Nylind / Frieze.

White Cube takes a curious gamble with its Frieze presentation. Unlike its heavyweight counterparts—Gagosian and David Zwirner, for example—it’s not offering work by big, saleable market staples. Instead, the gallery has mounted a quiet, intriguing presentation featuring two conceptual artists who aren’t household names: Virginia Overton and Jac Leirner. “We wanted to use Frieze London 2019 as a platform to present a curated project with these two exceptional sculptors in dialogue with each other,” said director Leila Alexander. She noted that both artists’ practices explore consumerism and exchange, and they both repurpose found materials.

In Punk Ostentation (2019), Leirner uses ribbons emblazoned with the logos of luxury brands such as Prada and McQ. In other sculptures, she incorporates an ashtray, rulers, and a plastic bag. Overton’s Untitled (2019), on the other hand, entangles metal, nylon, rope, twine, and chain into a knotted hanging sculpture. “While both artists select their objects for their aesthetic qualities, it is equally important that these objects have previously been traded, exchanged, and consumed—that they carry a history of use and value,” Alexander offered. You might call these works the antithesis of a massive Sterling Ruby sculpture or a Jeff Koons gazing ball.

Trinity Fine Art

Frieze Masters, Main Section, Booth A3

With works by Sandro Botticelli

Installation view of Trinity Fine Art's booth at Frieze Masters, 2019. Photo by Mark Blower. Courtesy of Mark Blower / Frieze.

By now, you’ve probably heard that there’s a $30 million painting by Italian Renaissance star Sandro Botticelli stealing the show at Frieze Masters. The work, Michele Marullo Tarcaniota (ca. 1497), is reputed to be the final work by the artist in private hands. A book specially published for the fair includes a new essay on the painting by scholar Carl Brandon Strehlke and a recitation of the work’s impressive provenance: from Bonaparte heir to duke to politician. In addition to all this, Trinity Fine Art director Valentina Rossi noted that the portrait’s subject, Michele Marullo, adds to the painting’s appeal. Marullo was a poet at the famed Medici court, both a scholar and a political advisor. In Botticelli’s rendering, he has thin, well-articulated lips, sunken cheeks, and skeptical, intelligent eyes. “Marullo had this double nature. A violent man, but also a very cultured man,” Rossi said, adding that he was “deeply involved in political life of Florence.” In 1500, Marullo died by drowning. The story makes the painting seem especially ripe for a museum acquisition—and a miniseries.


Frieze Masters, Main Section, Booth B6

With various objects and sculptural works from antiquity

Installation view of ArtAncient's booth at Frieze Masters, 2019. Photo by Mark Blower. Courtesy of Mark Blower / Frieze.

ArtAncient has brought over 4.5 billion years of history to Frieze Masters. The gallery’s 65 objects on view range from 145-million-year-old snails to three elephant-bird eggs from Madagascar. Dating to the 17th century or earlier, they are, according to the gallery, the largest eggs ever laid. (They’re priced at £350,000 for the trio.)

Some pieces take a more conventional art-historical format—a jagged-edged limestone relief from ancient Egypt, for example, dating to circa 2323–2291 B.C.E. Director Costas Paraskevaides noted that humans have always valued such ancient items. “Even in prehistory, objects were valued for their beauty,” Paraskevaides said. “Meteorites were venerated in temples; handaxes were seen as artistic objects.”

Gallery Hyundai

Frieze Masters, Main Section, Booth B14

With works by Nam June Paik

Installation view of Gallery Hyundai's booth at Frieze London, 2019. Photo by Mark Blower. Courtesy of Gallery Hyundai.

Down the hall from the ancient artifacts and the Botticelli, Nam June Paik’s glowing televisions are playing. Hyundai is presenting 12 of the late artist’s groundbreaking multimedia video assemblages in advance of a major exhibition of the work opening at Tate Modern on October 17th. The two pieces that anchor the booth are not for sale; resembling robots made from television-set building blocks, the works are on loan from private collectors. The others feature such diverse elements as film reels connected by a winding, neon-green light; a cello; and a Buddha sculpture.

The works range in price from $180,000 to $1.5 million apiece. The gallery’s executive director, Patrick Lee, noted that the Frieze Masters setting offers some much-needed “criticality” and “gravitas” for viewing Paik’s work.

Ortuzar Projects

Frieze Masters, Spotlight Section, Booth H13

With works by Maruja Mallo

Installation view of Ortuzar Projects' booth at Frieze Masters, 2019. Photo by Mark Blower. Courtesy of Mark Blower / Frieze.

The previously unsung, early 20th-century Surrealist Maruja Mallo got her due in New York last year when Ortuzar Projects mounted a solo exhibition of her work in New York. Now, the gallery brings Mallo’s work to London and makes her into a Frieze Master. The work on view spans the 1920s to ’40s (prices range from $14,000 to $395,000). While the artist’s Surrealist fare is certainly interesting—one painting, El Mago / Pim Pam Pum (1926), features a magician with hipster glasses in front of a white horse—her 1940s studies of plant life are equally winning. Algae and a starfish nearly dance off her small canvases.

Regarding Surrealism’s pervasive appeal, gallery director Polina Berlin suggested that “the paintings are so beautiful, but beauty is kind of a trap.” Once you look harder at work like Mallo’s, you begin understanding the darker political undertones. Like the rest of her cohort—she was friends with Pablo Neruda, and André Breton collected her work—she lived through global upheavals.

Alina Cohen

Corrections: A previous version of this article misstated that Martin Creed’s floor piece is titled Work No. 3345. The piece is titled Work No. 3383. Additionally, there are six columns featured in Nicholas Pope’s work Yahweh and the Seraphim, not four. The text has been updated to reflect these changes.