17 Shows You Need to See during Frieze Week in London

Scott Indrisek
Oct 1, 2018 3:54PM

This week sees the opening of the 2018 edition of Frieze London and Frieze Masters, but there’s a wide array of art to be seen outside of Regent’s Park. Those looking for edgy, alternative fairs might head to the Anti Art Fair; anyone who appreciates art in uncommon, grand places can check out Yinka Shonibare’s temporary installation at the Fitzrovia Chapel, or David Hockney’s new stained glass window at Westminster Abbey. But London’s galleries and museums are also bringing their A-game, and it’s worth carving out time on your calendar to take in some of the 17 exhibitions we’ve spotlighted below.

Dan Graham and Rodney Graham at Lisson Gallery

October 3rd–November 3rd

27 Bell Street / 67 Lisson Street

Rodney Graham, detail of Vacuuming the Gallery 1949, 2018. © Rodney Graham. Courtesy of Lisson Gallery.

Two heavyweights who share a surname—one American, the other Canadian, but no relation—come to London for concurrent solo shows at Lisson Gallery. Rodney Graham’s contributions include new lightbox works that are simultaneously cerebral and entertaining, as well as frozen narratives with a comedic edge (like Vacuuming the Gallery 1949, 2018, in which the artist cheekily assumes the role of mid-century art dealer Samuel Kootz).

Dan Graham’s exhibition, meanwhile, includes a film that involves puppets and music from the DIY punk band Japanther; it’s called Don’t Trust Anyone Over 30 (2004). (Graham himself is a spry 76.) Also on view is one of his iconic “stage sets”—an enigmatic structure involving two-way mirror glass that wends through the space. While ordinary visitors can activate the work in their own curious ways post-Frieze, on October 30th, the sculpture will serve as the backdrop to musical performances by Thurston Moore and the Raincoats.

Caitlin Keogh at the Approach

October 1st–November 11th

47 Approach Road

Caitlin Keogh,Sisters, 2018. Image © John Berens. Courtesy of the Approach.

Caitlin Keogh, The Cat, 2018. Image © John Berens. Courtesy of the Approach.


American painter Caitlin Keogh has been on a roll ever since her standout turn in “Flatlands,” a 2016 survey at the Whitney Museum of American Art that paired her with others (Jamian Juliano-Villani, Mathew Cerletty) who share a similar passion for the illustrative and absurd. She just closed her first solo institutional show, “Blank Melody,” at the ICA Boston, and this exhibition marks her first solo outing in the U.K. The paintings here are postmodern exercises that sample styles willy-nilly, but still retain a human warmth. In one, a cleanly rendered alphabet (both upper and lower cases) is poked by knives; in another, The Cat (2018), the titular animal crouches at the bottom-right, easy to miss in a composition that explodes with over-the-top patterns and ornamentation.

Urs Fischer at Gagosian Gallery

September 12th–November 3rd

17–19 Davies Street

Urs Fischer, installation view of Dasha, 2018. Photo by Lucy Dawkins. Courtesy of the artist and Gagosian.

This single-work show at Gagosian, “Dasha,” continues Urs Fischer’s series in which he makes wax versions of people he knows and then lights them on fire. Previous human-candles have included the controversial art publisher Peter Brant and the painter Julian Schnabel; he’s also made a meltable version of The Rape of the Sabine Women, a 1583 sculpture by Giambologna. The subject this time is the Russian art patron (and, full disclosure, Artsy investor) Dasha Zhukova, depicted lounging in a chair. By the time Frieze arrives, Dasha will have been burning for several weeks; come check out what remains.

“Early 21st Century Art” at Almine Rech Gallery

October 2nd–November 17th

Grosvenor Hill, Broadbent House

Amy Bessone, Spectre of the Source, 2017. Courtesy of the artist and Almine Rech Gallery.

Vaughn Spann, A portrait of my sweet sunflower, 2018. Courtesy of the artist and Almine Rech Gallery.

Guest-curated by Half Gallery dealer Bill Powers, this show at Almine Rech presents a worthy group of young talent, including Alex Becerra, Tanya Merrill, Nathaniel Mary Quinn, and Jan-Ole Schiemann. The focus leans heavily on painting, from Amy Bessone’s moody nudes to Ginny Casey’s still lifes and Vaughn Spann’s raw, mixed-media abstractions. New York–based Powers told Artsy that he had the writings of historian Yuval Harari in mind when conceiving of the exhibition, thinking of “art history being fluid, a story we’ve all agreed to tell ourselves.”

Julie Mehretu at White Cube

September 21st–November 3rd

25–26 Mason’s Yard

Julia Mehretu, Sun Ship (J.C.)(details), 2018. © Julie Mehretu. Courtesy of the artist, White Cube, and Marian Goodman Gallery, New York. Photo by Tom Powel Imaging, Inc.

“Sextant” at White Cube collects Ethiopian-American artist Julie Mehretu’s latest suite of large-scale abstract paintings, made using a combination of silkscreening, airbrushing, and other techniques. The works, as Artsy’s Alina Cohen noted in a recent profile, find Mehretu moving from her previous architectural inspirations towards something more personal. While the paintings are based on contemporary news photographs, they’re also intensely layered.

“Art history, as well, is never far behind,” Cohen writes. “Speaking of the raging orange painting that uses the blurred California fire as its backdrop, Mehretu mentions Mark Rothko; in discussing the news photographs’ compositions, the group scenes of Caravaggio and Jacques-Louis David come to mind. The history of painting is as present in each of Mehretu’s canvases as yesterday’s news.”

Adam Pendleton at Pace Gallery

October 2nd–November 9th

6 Burlington Gardens

Adam Pendleton, Our Ideas #2, 2018. © Adam Pendleton. Courtesy of Pace Gallery.

Adam Pendleton, Our Ideas #2, 2018. © Adam Pendleton. Courtesy of Pace Gallery.

Adam Pendleton’s practice is notable for being simultaneously seductive and impenetrable. (I mean that as a compliment.) Working with remixed text, appropriated images, and references that slip easily from Black Lives Matter to Sol LeWitt, Pendleton creates immersive spaces that are both visually awe-inspiring and rigorously conceptual. This exhibition, titled “Our Ideas,” gives the artist—one of the youngest on the blue-chip gallery’s roster—another chance to draw links between his own fixations and heroes, from dancer Yvonne Rainer to Malcolm X. Meanwhile, over at Frieze Masters, Pendleton is serving as a curator for Pace’s booth, presenting an array of works that examine “grids, systems, and subjectivity,” according to press materials.

“Survey” At Jerwood Space, presented by Jerwood Charitable Foundation

October 3rd–December 16th

171 Union Street

Hazel Brill, Shonisaurua Popularis, 2018. Installation view, solo exhibition at Turf Projects. Courtesy of the artist. Photo by Tim Bowditch.

If you want advance notice of tomorrow’s notable names, it’s never a bad idea to ask an artist directly. That’s the conceit behind “Survey,” a group show presenting new work from 15 young artists—defined loosely as being no more than five years deep into their practice—selected from suggestions provided by well-known names, Ryan Gander and Rachel Maclean among them. The show “highlights the importance of supportive peer-networks in championing new talent,” said Sarah Williams, head of program at Jerwood Visual Arts. “While diverse in content, the works in the exhibition speak to current concerns of artists across the U.K., reflecting a selected and particular view of contemporary British art.”

“Turner Prize 2018” at Tate Britain

September 26th–January 6th


Luke Willis Thompson, autoportrait, 2017. Turner Prize 2018 installation view, Tate Britain. Photo by Tate Photography.

Hating on the Turner Prize nominees is something of a team sport; a Telegraph story about the latest crop of finalists is headlined “Is this really the future of art? Heaven help us.” The film-heavy quartet this year includes Luke Willis Thompson, Charlotte Prodger, Naeem Mohaiemen, and the collective Forensic Architecture. Other critics found much to celebrate, like The Guardian’s Adrian Searle, who dubbed the show at Tate Britain “one of the best and most demanding in the exhibition’s history.” (“I also see trouble ahead,” he cautioned, noting the time commitment that film and video requires. “The problems are mostly logistical. Imagine what it will be like when the crowds come.”) Show up early, stay late, and select your own favorite before the 2018 winner is unveiled in December.

James Capper at Hannah Barry Gallery

September 27th–October 27th

4 Holly Grove

James Capper, MUDSKIPPER SPRAY (MANDA HULL) 04, 2018. Courtesy of the artist and Hannah Barry Gallery. Photo by Damian Griffiths.

Some artists content themselves with the usual modes and materials: paint, ceramic, perhaps the occasional experiment in video. Others seem determined to fully dissolve the boundaries between artmaking and other fields. James Capper is one of the latter; his website, for instance, groups his output under several curious umbrellas: “Earth Marking,” “Carving,” “Aviation.” His sculptures double as machines, somewhere between Caterpillar construction equipment and the “walking machines” of Theo Jansen.

This exhibition’s title—“WAYS TO MAKE A SHIP WALK”—is surprisingly literal. It includes drawings, plans, a large-scale painting, and other elements that look ahead to an ambitious kinetic sculpture, MUDSKIPPER, due to be completed in 2019. “These 12 new drawings mark a moment where MUDSKIPPER leaves 10 years of thinking, dreaming, and planning—in the mind and in the studio—and enters the real world as a fully mobile, amphibious, 9-meter long, 12-ton new work,” gallerist Hannah Barry enthused.

Kerry James Marshall at David Zwirner

October 3rd–November 10th

24 Grafton Street

Kerry James Marshall is a living legend, and one of the most exciting painters working today. American audiences were lucky to experience his traveling survey “Mastry,” a stunning example of how figurative painting can reimagine the United States. Anticipation is high for this London outing, “History of Painting,” and stoked further by the gallery’s coyness in advance of the opening.

The works here are all being debuted for the first time; the show’s press release features little more than the blank back of a painting graced with Marshall’s initials, a tease if there ever was one. As for the rather grand scope of the exhibition—the history of painting itself!—David Zwirner senior partner Angela Choon is confident that Marshall is up to the task. “I think he’s one of the few artists with the tools, the skill, and understanding to address such an ambitious subject head-on,” she said.

Rachel Maclean at the Zabludowicz Collection

September 20th–December 16th

176 Prince of Wales Road

Rachel Maclean, Make Me Up (gallery edition), 2018. Zabludowicz Collection, London. Courtesy the artist and Zabludowicz Collection. Photo by David Bebber.

What to make of the video Spite Your Face (2017)? It’s a mix of live-action and animation that riffs on the Pinocchio story, except in this version, our protagonist’s nose is made of pure gold, and—when stroked—is a site of pure sexual pleasure. “Maclean’s work is a joyfully riotous response to contemporary politics and to timeless human traits such as greed, envy, and narcissism,” said Paul Luckraft, the exhibition’s curator. “It lures one into surreally seductive worlds, full of familiar textures, characters, and storytelling tropes. But any familiarity is shaken by the intensity and complexity with which Maclean orchestrates her narratives. She produces acerbic satirical tales for our febrile times.” Also on view: Make Me Up (2018)—think John Waters directing an episode of Black Mirror—and a new virtual reality piece.

The David Roberts Arts Foundation’s “Evening of Performances”

October 2nd, beginning 7 p.m.

O2 Forum Kentish Town at 9–17 Highgate Road

Charismatic Megafauna, styled by Kalina Pulit. Courtesy of the artists. Photo by Kate Bones.

The David Roberts Arts Foundation (DRAF) presents a wild melange of art and music, including commissions from the likes of Martin Creed and Fiona Banner, and live performances by Das Hund and Charismatic Megafauna. “All the performances are responding to the theme of intimacy,” explained DRAF director and chief curator Fatoş Üstek, setting the bar admirably high. “The whole evening will be a river of streams that change in shape and color, intensity and rigor—a sequential rollercoaster of sensations that pierce the skin and make you think, while keeping you engaged.”

Pierre Huyghe at Serpentine Galleries

October 3rd–February 10th

Kensington Gardens

AI work by Pierre Huyghe. ©Kamitani Lab / Kyoto University and ATR. Courtesy of the artist and Serpentine Galleries.

AI work by Pierre Huyghe. ©Kamitani Lab / Kyoto University and ATR. Courtesy of the artist and Serpentine Galleries.

French artist Pierre Huyghe continuously redefines the word “ambitious.” For a recent project in Münster, Germany, for instance, he cultivated cancer cells within an environment of “bees, peacocks, and algae” housed in a former ice-skating rink, “transforming it into a living organism and animating it via an augmented reality app.” This time around, he makes over the Serpentine Galleries in slightly more subtle ways (though live insects are still part of the show), and incorporates eerie digital images created using artificial intelligence platforms. Star curator Hans Ulrich Obrist will dissect the show with Huyghe as part of a ticketed conversation on Wednesday, October 3rd.

Sue Williams at Skarstedt

October 2nd–November 24th

8 Bennet Street

Sue Williams, All Quiet, 2018. © Sue Williams. Courtesy of Skarstedt.

This exhibition at Skarstedt is an opportunity to see how the painter Sue Williams has evolved and matured well beyond the subversive—and often abrasive—aesthetic of her early days. “The new paintings are less immediately subversive than their predecessors, and more overtly gorgeous,” press materials promise—and that’s something of an understatement. While her tangled compositions once featured intestinal-looking organs or aggressive text—one 1992 painting blared “The Art World Can Suck My Proverbial Dick”—these new canvases are comparatively soft and playful, compact tornadoes of swirling color and architectural details.

Michael Landy at Thomas Dane Gallery

October 2nd–November 17th

3 Duke Street

Michael Landy, National Gallery Associate Artist in Residence 2010–2011, Scaled Down 2018. Photo by Ben Westoby. Courtesy of the artist and Thomas Dane Gallery.

Part of the Young British Artists (YBAs), Michael Landy has never been too precious about the sanctity of his own work. His installations have often focused on the language of commerce, as well as destruction (his most famous piece, Break Down, 2001, involved the wholesale binning of his property). In his latest exhibition, “Scaled-Down,” he continues to prove that artists don’t need to obsessively hold onto everything they’ve ever made. He’s taken recent bodies of work—including drawings made in Athens—and squished them into cubes that resemble John Chamberlain’s crushed cars.

Lucy Dodd at Sprüth Magers

October 2nd–November 17th

7 Grafton Street

Installation view of Lucy Dodd, “Miss Mars,” Sprüth Magers. Courtesy of Sprüth Magers. Photo by Stephen White.

New York–based artist Lucy Dodd gets her U.K. solo debut, presenting furniture and new abstract paintings at Sprüth Magers. A rundown of the materials she works with can read like a Whole Foods shopping list; a representative 2016 painting involves yerba mate, wild black walnut rind, and kombucha SCOBY. The result is earthy, mystical compositions that are arrayed throughout exhibition spaces in unconventional ways. For this show, entitled “Miss Mars,” Dodd incorporates a wide array of challenging pigments—from cinnabar to her own child’s excrement.

Scott Indrisek