The annual Frieze London art fair opens in Regent’s Park on Thursday and accordingly ‘Frieze week’ gets underway – a city-wide celebration of contemporary art in the form of exhibition openings and events. There are scores of things to see, so, to narrow things down, here are my top ten shows in commercial galleries that coincide with this year’s fair:
Christie's, until 20 October 2013
Tracey Emin RA, 'To Meet My Past', 2002. Four poster bed, mattress, appliqué linens and curtains. Overall: 118 x 67 x 84½in. (300 x 170 x 215cm.). Image courtesy of Christie’s Images Ltd.
On Thursday, Christie’s auctions 50 major works from the collection of Charles Saatchi, including Tragic Anatomies – a still-shocking installation of mutated figures of children by the Chapman Brothers – as well as a four-poster bed piece by Tracey Emin RA and a room-sized kinetic work by Conrad Shawcross RA. The works are all on view in The Sorting Office, a former postal depot on New Oxford Street.
Until 15 November 2013
Joseph Beuys with the installation Das Rudel (The Pack), 1969 at the Moderna Museet, Stockholm, in 1971.
Sotheby’s has opened a new space dedicated to selling contemporary art, Sǀ2 London, on George Street in the heart of Mayfair. Its inaugural show, opened last week, takes as its subject artist-performer-shaman and all-round-inspiration Joseph Beuys. The German polymath, who passed away in 1986, is still often bracketed as ‘contemporary’, so forward-thinking his work was.
Gagosian, 15 October - 30 November 2013
Douglas Gordon, 'ghosts', 2013. © Studio lost but found/VG Bild-Kunst. Photo: Frederik Pedersen.
A prestigious array of artists are included in a group show at Kings Cross’s Gagosian Gallery that opens on Tuesday. Modern masters such as Dada maestro Francis Picabia, Abstract Expressionists Willem de Kooning and Cy Twombly, and Pop heroes Roy Lichtenstein and Andy Warhol feature alongside contemporary artists Albert Oehlen, Richard Prince, Douglas Gordon, Richard Wright and Rudolf Stingel. The subject that links these diverse practitioners? Their response to the idea that painting is dead.
Until 13 December 2013
Broomberg & Chanarin, Heather, Model 1, 2006. London UK.
‘Frieze Week’ often sees interesting shows spring up temporarily in non-traditional venues. From yesterday, a derelict Brutalist building on The Strand is the stage for a huge exhibition called Open Heart Surgery, programmed by the organisation The Moving Museum. Over 30 young London-based artists – including the sculptor Jess Flood-Paddock and digitally minded art collective Lucky PDF – provide a good snapshot of some of the most interesting emerging artists in the city today.
Stephen Friedman Gallery, 15 October - 16 November 2013
Kehinde Wiley, 'Sir Brooke Boothby', 2013. Oil on canvas. 171.7 x 275cm. Copyright the artist. Courtesy Stephen Friedman Gallery, London.
Los Angeles-born New York-based painter Kehinde Wiley presents his first London exhibition at Stephen Friedman Gallery from next week, which is based on Old Burlington Street just behind the Academy. In the foreground of Wiley’s works are black figures whose clothes and bodies are painted in a highly naturalistic style, but their backgrounds are patterned in kaleidoscopic colours, and their poses drawn from the art historical canon.
Maureen Paley, until 24 November 2013
Wolfgang Tillmans, 'Karl smoking', 2013. Inkjet print.
Although German photographer Wolfgang Tillmans remains associated with the lo-fi, seemingly casual shots he produced of his native country’s counter-culture in the 1990s, his work is incredibly diverse, taking in abstraction and still life as readily as portraiture. The latter genre is the subject of his latest exhibition at London’s Maureen Paley gallery that opens on Monday.
Thomas Dane Gallery, 15 October - 16 November 2013
Hurvin Anderson, 'Country Club Series: Chicken Wire', 2008. Oil on canvas. 240 x 347 cm. Courtesy Gordon Watson.
In the last issue of RA Magazine Colin Perry wrote about the contemporary painter Hurvin Anderson, who is the subject of a mid-career survey show at Ikon gallery in Birmingham this autumn. If London is nearer for you than the Midlands, I recommend visiting his dealer, Thomas Dane Gallery, which from Tuesday presents new paintings from its Mayfair space.
Sprüth Magers London, 15 October - 16 November 2013
Cyprien Gaillard, 'Untitled' (detail), 2013. Collage. Copyright Cyprien Gaillard. Courtesy Sprüth Magers Berlin London.
American Colour Field painter Morris Louis was famous for works in which gravity rather than the artist’s hand projected acrylic across canvas. The Paris-born contemporary artist Cyprien Gaillard, in contrast, has worked in a variety of media, from installation to photographic collage, to examine ruins and other places associated with destruction and disintegration. Mayfair’s Sprüth Magers Gallery boldly presents a two-person show of them both from this week – it will be interesting to note any common ground that their works share.
White Cube Bermondsey, 16 October – 22 December 2013
Mark Bradford, 'Through Darkest America by Truck and Tank', White Cube Bermondsey, 16 October - 22 December 2013. © Mark Bradford Photo: Ben Westoby. Courtesy White Cube.
American artist Mark Bradford combines scavenged billboards, posters and newspapers with acrylic marks and colour fields to create large-scale collage paintings. As his new show at Bermondsey’s White Cube gallery will demonstrate, these works are part-abstraction, part-cartography, representing the buzz and hum of street life in Los Angeles, where the artist lives and works.
Blain Southern, 16 October 2013 – 30 November 2013
Felix Gonzalez-Torres, “Untitled”, 1992. Candies individually wrapped in variously coloured cellophane, endless supply, Overall dimensions vary with installation, Original size: 2 x 48 x 48 in. © The Felix Gonzalez-Torres Foundation, Courtesy of Andrea Rosen Gallery, New York.
Damien Hirst’s ‘Visual Candy’ paintings (1993–5) are matrices of colourful paint splodges that sing out with gusto when hung on white walls. In a new show at Mayfair’s Blain Southern space, this series is presented alongside an untitled installation (1992) by Felix Gonzalez-Torres in which literal pieces of candy – sweets in their cellophane wrappers – are spread and piled in multiple accumulations.
Sam Phillips is a London-based arts journalist and Editor of RA Magazine