Not a VIP? Here Are the Best Frieze Week Events Everyone Can Attend

From hip performance evenings to elegant satellite fairs, it's all here.

Zadie Xa, Crash, Boom, Hisssssss. Legend of the Liquid Sword (performance). Photo by Arron Photo, courtesy Serpentine Galleries.

Frieze Week is upon us once more. As the art world floods into London for the prestigious fair, a host of ultra cool events will be taking place all over the city from the Monday October 2 right through to Sunday October 8, when the fair closes.

Here, we bring you the inside scoop on the best parties and satellite fairs on during the week, so you can rub elbows with the rich and famous, sneak previews of the most coveted art, and eavesdrop for the next market trends.

Most of these events are open admission, and for those that aren’t, just remember that a little swagger can go a long way in the art world…

1. Unveiling of the Turbine Hall commission by SUPERFLEX

Portrait of SUPERFLEX in 2014, courtesy SUPERFLEX.

This year’s commission for Tate Modern’s Turbine Hall marks the institution’s third collaboration with Hyundai Motor and has been taken on by SUPERFLEX, the with-it Danish collective comprising Bjørnstjerne Christiansen, Jakob Fenger, and Rasmus Nielsen. The Copenhagen-based trio have been working together since 1993 and are known for their playfully subversive artworks, which they call “tools” for initiating important conversations.

What SUPERFLEX have it store for the coveted 85-foot-high exhibition space is anyone’s guess, but if their previous work is anything to go by, it will be timely and political, with a bit of humor thrown in. The unveiling of the commission is on the Monday of Frieze Week, but if you’re not “on the list,” do not fear: the general public will be able to check out the work from October 3.

SUPERFLEX’s Turbine Hall Commission will be at Tate Modern between October 2 and April 2, 2018.

2. PAD Art + Design Fair London

Joan Miró, Figure and Bird (1977-79). Image courtesy Mayoral.

The 11th edition of the intimate art and design fair is returning to Berkeley Square from Monday to Sunday. This year, 68 galleries present a mishmash of contemporary, modern, and historical design, art, jewellery and antiques. Tickets are £25 for adults and art highlights this year include works by Joan Miró from the 1970s on display at the booths of Mayoral and Vertes, the latter of which is also showing works by Sigmar Polke, Andy Warhol, and Willem de Kooning. Elsewhere, De Jonckheere is showing a Lucio Fontana, and a Sheherazade-themed painting by René Magritte inspired by Edgar Allan Poe.

PAD London is in Berkeley Square from October 2 and October 8.

3. (X) An Evening of Performances + DRAF 10th Anniversary Party

Marvin Gaye Chetwynd, Mega Hammer performance at Glasgow International, 2016. Photo ©Mark Pinder, courtesy the artist & Sadie Coles HQ, London.

DRAF’s annual Evening of Performances is a Frieze Week must-see. This year, coinciding with its 10th anniversary and the closure of its London space, the event will take place at KOKO in Camden, a historic music and performance venue, with capacity 1,400 people, a mere five-minute walk from DRAF’s current home. The line up is strong, featuring performances by artists including Marvin Gaye Chetwynd with MEGA HAMMER, Jamila Johnson-Small under the moniker ‘Last Yearz Interesting Negro,’ DJ Nkisi, Laure Prouvost + Trim, and Hannah Quinlan. Everyone is welcome and admission is free. Just be sure to arrive early if you want to avoid spending the night lining up outside in London’s crisp October weather.

(X) An Evening of Performances + DRAF 10th Anniversary Party takes place at KOKO on Tuesday October 3 from 7pm till 1am.

4. West End Night

Hank WIllis Thomas, Hand of God (2017). Photo: ©Hank Willis Thomas, 2017. Courtesy Ben Brown Fine Arts, London.

It’ll all be popping off in the West End on Thursday night, with galleries and non-profits in the upscale district of Mayfair extending their opening hours for Frieze audiences and hosting special events and private views. One must see is Hank Willis Thomas’s UK solo debut at Ben Brown Fine Arts. Other galleries and non-profits involved in the evening include Almine Rech Gallery, Alison Jacques Gallery, Alan Cristea Gallery,  Artangel, Blain | Southern, Colnaghi, Frith Street Gallery, Gagosian, Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac, Hauser & Wirth, Herald St | Museum St, kamel mennour, Luxembourg & Dayan, Marlborough Fine Art, Massimo De Carlo, Mazzoleni, Olivier Malingue, Pace Gallery, Pilar Corrias, Richard Saltoun Gallery, Robilant + Voena, Rodeo, Sadie Coles, Sam Fogg, Simon Lee Gallery, Southard Reid, Sprovieri,  Sprüth Magers, Stephen Friedman Gallery, The Gallery of Everything, The Photographer’s Gallery, Thomas Dane Gallery, Timothy Taylor, Tornabuoni Art, Victoria Miro, and Waddington Custot. Can you make it to all?

West End Night is happening across various venues on the evening of Thursday October 5.

5. 1:54 Contemporary African Art Fair

1:54 at Somerset House in 2016. Photo: ©Victor Raison, courtesy 1:54.

The contemporary African art fair returns to the cultural hub of Somerset House for its fifth London iteration, open to the public Tuesday through Friday of Frieze Week. As suggested by its name, which references the 54 different countries of the African continent, the fair promotes a diverse set of African perspectives from around the world, showcasing emerging artists from Africa and its diaspora, as well as work by established figures like Sudanese artist Ibrahim El-Salahi, one of the highlights of last year’s fair.

This year, 42 leading specialist galleries are showcasing the work of more than 130 artists, including 8 solo exhibitions. Highlights of the Special Projects program include a major solo exhibition of British-Moroccan photographer Hassan Hajjaj, a site-specific courtyard installation by Cameroonian artist Pascale Marthine Tayou and a new performance program with Hana Tefrati and Adejoke Tugbiyele. Koyo Kouoh is once again behind the fair’s exciting talks program, FORUM, which will feature artist talks by Emeka Ogboh (Friday) and Pascale Marthine Tayou (Saturday). Senzeni Marasela will speak on Sunday, when there will also be a conversation with the tireless tastemaker Hans Ulrich Obrist and Emmanuel Iduma, who co-curated the Nigerian Pavilion at this year’s Venice Biennale.

1:54 Contemporary African Art Fair is at Somerset House Thursday October 5 through Sunday October 8.

6. Studio Wayne McGregor Performance at Zabludowicz

Haroon Mirza, scenography for Wayne McGregor’s Alea Sands, with Lucy Carter (lighting design), Gareth Pugh (costume design), Paris Opera, 2015 Photo: ©Julien Benhamou / OnP.

In the first of four onsite public residencies at Zabludowicz, dancers from the company of multi-award-winning British choreographer Wayne McGregor will use the gallery as a studio for three days to explore the crossovers between McGregor and the artist Haroon Mirza, whose “For A Partnership Society” is on at the gallery in celebration of Zabludowicz’s 10th anniversary.

The exhibition is structured around a re-imagining of two major works by Mirza owned by the Zabludowicz Collection: The System (2014) and Adam, Eve, others and a UFO (2013), with the performance taking place inside The System. Also on view will be a new installation entitled Pathological Theology (2017), 9/11-11/9 Fear of the Unknown (2017) and a new commission: Chamber for Endogenous DMT (Collapsing the Wave Function) (2017). The performance at Zabludowicz is open to all and free to attend, although booking is required.

The Studio Wayne McGregor performance in collaboration with Haroon Mirza is on at Zabludowicz Collection on Thursday October 5 from 7 to 9pm.

7. Sunday Art Fair

Sunday Art Fair. Photo courtesy the organizers.

Held in the 14,000-square-foot underground space of Ambika P3, developed from the former concrete construction hall at the University of Westminster in London’s chic Marylebone neighborhood, Sunday Art Fair is just a stone’s throw away from Frieze London. Contrary to what is suggested by its name, the annual international contemporary art fair for young galleries opens to the public on Friday. The gallery-led initiative offers new and emerging galleries a platform and gives buyers a chance to discover new work and survey the best young artists working today. This year, the fair will host 25 galleries, including Barbara Seiler, Zurich; garcía | galería, Madrid; Piktogram, Warsaw PM8, Vigo; Supplement, London; Suprainfinit, Bucharest; The Goma, Madrid; and yours mine & ours, NY. Maybe you can make it?

Sunday Art Fair is on at Ambika P3 from Friday October 6 to Sunday October 8.

8. East End Night

Detail from Jala Wahid, Bare and Writhe (2017). DETAIL. Current exhibition: Jala Wahid – Akh Milk Bile Threat September 9 to October 14. Photo courtesy Seventeen.

Friday night is your chance to explore London’s vibrant East End and go gallery hopping around the neighborhood that’s home to the city’s most committed hipsters. Spot the street art and grab a cocktail at one of the area’s many trendy bars. Special mentions go to Thibault Poutrel, who is hosting a cocktail party at TCPA for his “ID” exhibition, and the Frieze Week party at Parasol Unit with Elephant Magazine celebrating the foundation’s 50th exhibition (Martin Puryear) and the launch of Elephant’s newly redesigned autumn issue. Other East End galleries and non-profits hosting special evening viewings for Frieze audiences include: Campoli Presti, Carl Freedman Gallery, Carlos / Ishikawa, Chisenhale Gallery, Emalin, Hales, Herald Street, Maureen Paley, Seventeen, The Approach, and Union Pacific.

East End Night is happening across various venues on the evening of Friday October 6.

9. Moniker Art Fair

RISE Gallery booth at Moniker 2016. Photo courtesy Moniker.

Established in 2010, the urban and street art fair has tripled in size for its eighth edition, where it will be showcasing the offerings of 40 contemporary and urban art galleries from around the world. Running Friday to Sunday of Frieze Week, this year the fair is titled “Transient Tales,” and will focus on the origins of urban art, tracing the international street art scene back to 1914 and illustrating its important place in the contemporary art world. The fair’s immersive art installations are usually fun and this year’s edition will feature a young galleries initiative, a benefit auction, an industry conference, a curated film program, and a New York style pizza restaurant.

Moniker Art Fair runs Friday October 6 through Sunday October 8 at The Old Truman Brewery.

10. The Serpentine Marathon

Amnesia Scanner, 2017. Photo: Alba Ruperez.

This year will mark the twelfth edition of the marathon event conceived by the Serpentine’s artistic director Hans Ulrich Obrist. Titled “GUEST, GHOST, HOST: MACHINE MARATHON!,” the theme of the 2017 marathon is artificial intelligence. 50+ participants—including artists, creatives, scientists and thinkers like Etel Adnan, Ian Cheng, Federico Campagna, Chus Martinez, Marina Warner, and Zadie Xa—will tackle the questions of consciousness, non-linear time, mechanisation, and interspecies co-operation. Tickets for the all-day Saturday event are just £10-15 but booking is required and they will go quickly. But don’t worry, the full program of talks, readings and performances will be broadcast online via Serpentine Radio

GUEST, GHOST, HOST: MACHINE MARATHON! is at City Hall on Saturday October 7 from 10am to 10pm.

11. Cultural Traffic

Oxnard Plain Press. Photo Jaime Bailon.

Oxnard Plain Press. Photo Jaime Bailon.

On Sunday, if you want to avoid the last minute Frieze stampede, you can check out Cultural Traffic, the print publishing art fair that hosts independent and experimental publishers, as well as artists and dealers of vintage books, ephemera, and pop culture. Founded in 2016 and with iterations in New York, Los Angeles, and Miami, this year the fair will move to a new cultural space inside the ticket hall of what was formerly Shoreditch Station in the heart of East London. Stroll around and flick through the best printed matter as well as the collectibles of the future; you could stumble upon a gem. Cultural Traffic is free to visit and this London edition is giving a special shout out to Accumulate, a local enterprise that offers creative workshops to young homeless people, as well as a special presentation of UK-wide feminist DIY publications from punk platform Grrrl Zine Fair.

Cultural Traffic London is on Sunday October 8 from 11am to 8pm at Kachette.

12. Frieze Sculpture Park

Alicja Kwade, Big Be-Hide (2017) at Frieze Sculpture 2017. Kamel Mennour. Photo courtesy Stephen White/Frieze.

If you love art but you don’t feel like shelling out the hefty price of Frieze tickets, you can still enjoy the Frieze experience by taking a stroll through the free sculpture park temporarily set up in Regent’s Park until the close of the fair. This year for the first time the sculptures were erected in the beginning of the summer and Londoners have been enjoying them all summer. Watch out for VIPs making the trek from Frieze to Frieze Masters and check out KAWS‘s unsettling Mickey Mouse, Miquel Barceló’s elephant tree balancing on its trunk, and Alicja Kwade’s highly instagrammable mirror sculpture.

Frieze Sculpture Park 2017 is at Regent’s Park until Sunday October 8.


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