In London for Frieze Week? Don’t Miss These 15 Must-See Gallery Shows During the Fair

Dealers are pulling out all the stops for Frieze.

Mark Bradford, Dancing in the Street (2019). Video 2 mins, 50 sec. ©Mark Bradford. Courtesy the artist and Hauser & Wirth.

Frieze Week in London is upon us once more, and there’ll be no shortage of gallery exhibitions, art fairs, and swanky parties competing for the attention of the art world’s best and brightest.

It can be hard to keep track of all the shows opening in the busy week, so we’re here to help. For what’s on in museums, we’ve already put together a guide to some of the unmissable institutional shows to see across Europe this fall. And, If you have time to travel further afield, you can always catch a train out to Kent coast for the Turner Prize Exhibition in Margate, or take a trip to the Oxfordshire countryside for Maurizio Cattelan’s show at Blenheim Palace, albeit without Cattelan’s famous golden toilet, which remains MIA since it was stolen the morning after the show’s opening party. Some hangover.

In the meantime, here are some of the top gallery shows you need to know to be up to speed during Frieze.


Mark Bradford: Cerberus” at Hauser & Wirth
October 2 – December 21

Mark Bradford, The path to the river belongs to animals (2019). ©Mark Bradford, courtesy the artist and Hauser & Wirth. Photo by Joshua White.

Mark Bradford, The path to the river belongs to animals (2019). ©Mark Bradford, courtesy of the artist and Hauser & Wirth. Photo by Joshua White.

“Cerberus” is Mark Bradford’s London debut exhibition with Hauser & Wirth. In it, Bradford will show new work, including paintings and a film, Dancing in the Street (2019), which takes inspiration from the ancient myth of Cerberus, the three-headed dog that guards the gates of Hades. Bradford has long held an interest in in-between figures and spaces, just as he himself is often occupied by both his career as an artist and his commitment to community engagement.

Hauser & Wirth is located at 23 Saville Row, London, W1S 2ET.


Kara Walker” at Tate Modern
October 2 – April 5, 2020

Kara Walker, Fons Americanus (2019). Photo: Naomi Rea.

The American artist Kara Walker promised a deep dive into Britain’s history at Tate Modern and she has more than delivered with her soaring fountain Fons Americanus. It’s a hard job to top past Turbine Hall commissions, but Walker’s riff on the high Victorian memorial outside of Buckingham Palace is an unforgettable response to Britain’s leading role in the transatlantic slave trade and its legacy.

While her fountain of tears flows on Bankside, Walker’s more familiar black cut-paper silhouettes addressing race, gender, sexuality, and violence can be seen at Sprüth Magers in Mayfair. “From Black and White to Living Color: the Collected Motion Pictures and Accompanying Documents of Kara E. Walker, Artist,” has been organized by the critic and curator Hilton Als. It opens October 4 through December 21.

Tate Modern, Bankside, London, SE1 9TG.

Sprüth Magers is located at 7A Grafton St, Mayfair, London, W1S 4EL.


“Neïl Beloufa” at kamel mennour
October 1 – November 11

Neil Beloufa, Pre-Post 1, (2019). ©Photo. archives kamel mennour, Courtesy the artist, and kamel mennour, Paris/London.

Neïl Beloufa, Pre-Post 1, (2019). Photo: archives kamel mennour, courtesy of the artist and kamel mennour, Paris/London.

Rising star Neïl Beloufa is showing a series of luminous, brightly-colored flowers and cars in resin. They look like stained glass, and the images could be straight out of a picture book, but on closer inspection you will find that they are made from recycled materials and rubbish from Beloufa’s studio. Behind that car is an old six-pack, an empty pizza box, or wrapping materials. The trash work for sale in the commercial gallery space ironically comments on the waste of consumer society, and aims to disrupt the standard cycle of consumption and destruction.

kamel mennour, 51 Brook Street, Mayfair, London, W1K 4HW.


Nate Lowman: October 1, 2017”at David Zwirner
October 2 – November 9

Nate Lowman, <i>Picture 6</i> (2019). ©Nate Lowman. Courtesy the artist and David Zwirner.

Nate Lowman, Picture 6 (2019). © Nate Lowman. Courtesy of the artist and David Zwirner.

Nate Lowman will showcase a chilling new series of paintings for his London debut at David Zwirner. Lowman, who is from Las Vegas, began the series in 2018 in response to crime-scene photographs from the mass shooting that took place at a country-music concert in his hometown on October 1, 2017. The authorities published the photos of the Mandalay Bay hotel room from which the gunman targeted his victims as part of an attempt to understand the attacker’s motive.

David Zwirner 24 Grafton St, Mayfair, London W1S 4EZ.

Betty Parsons at Alison Jacques
October 2 – November 9

Betty Parsons, Horton’s Point (1968). © The Betty Parsons Foundation. Courtesy of Alison Jacques Gallery, London, and Alexander Gray Associates, New York

One of London’s leading gallerists pays tribute to the pioneering Betty Parsons, who helped give the likes of Jackson Pollock, Mark Rothko, and Clyfford Still their first breaks in New York’s art world. The show focuses on Parsons as an artist in her own right rather than a trailblazing art dealer. She created colorful abstract paintings on the weekends in her Long Island studio. Frieze week shows still tend be mainly a boy’s club, so extra kudos to Jacques for helping to correct gender bias.

Alison Jacques, Orwell House, 16-18 Berners St, Fitzrovia, London W1T 3LN

Danh Vō at South London Gallery
September 19 – November 24

Danh Vō, installation view of untitled (2019). Photo: Nick Ash.

The South London Gallery regularly organizes solo shows by international artists that much larger institutions would give their right arm to host. The in-demand Vietnam-born, Danish artist Danh Vō is a case in point. His works weave together ideas about migration and integration with his own life history could not be more topical. Vo is the first artist whose solo show fills the institution’s main gallery and its new annex in a former fire station across the street. If you think Tate Modern is the only gallery to see in South London, then you’ve never been to South London Gallery. (Camberwell is also where it’s at.)

South London Gallery, 65 Peckham Rd, London SE5 8UH

Sterling Ruby at Gagosian
October 2 – December 14

Sterling Ruby, Acts/Robitussin (2016). © Sterling Ruby.

The US artist takes a break from the fashion world to get back into sculpture by way of a major solo exhibition at Gagosian. For his London debut with the mega-gallery, Ruby fills Gagosian’s cavernous rooms in King’s Cross in North London with works based on tables and blocks that give Minimalism a radical twist. The show includes new works from his ongoing series “ACTS” (short for Absolute Contempt for Total Serenity) and “TABLE,” which are based on salvaged welding tables.

Gagosian Gallery, 6-24 Britannia St, King’s Cross, London WC1X 9JD 


Antony Gormley at Royal Academy of Art
September 21 – December 3

Antony Gormley, Clearing VII (2019). Photo by David Perry, © the artist.

The sculptor and Royal Academician has filled the venue’s prestigious main galleries with an array of heavy-hitting works. The walls and floors required reinforcing to cope with the extra loading. But “Antony Gormley” the exhibition is not all about heavy metal showstoppers, such as the room transformed into a steel cave. The survey also features early, intimate works as well as a wealth of the artists’ sketches as a contrast to his more familiar steel-and-concrete sculptures based on his own body. Do not miss the tiny sculpture inspired by the artist’s daughter when she was a baby in the Royal Academy’s courtyard. Easily overlooked and understated, the show is a quiet triumph before Gormley blasts into the beyond.

Royal Academy of Art, Burlington House, Piccadilly, Mayfair, London W1J 0BD, United Kingdom

Damien Hirst at White Cube
September 20 – November 2

They kill butterflies at Damien Hirst studio, don’t they? White Cube gets to debut the artist’s supersized and colorfully retro mandalas made of thousands of butterfly wings, which continue to be a theme since he first began as a YBA. Never short on chutzpah, the artist’s giant canvases reference the religious symbol of the cosmos in Hindu, Buddhist, Jain, and Shinto traditions. Hirst’s trippy version of a Victorian lepidosterist’s display thrilled Guardian art critic Jonathan Jones, who gave the show a rave review.

White Cube Mason’s Yard, 25-26 Masons Yard, St. James’s, London SW1Y 6BU

James Rosenquist at Thaddaeus Ropac
September 11 – November 22

James Rosenquist, installation view of “Visualising the Sixties,” Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac, Photo: Ben Westoby.

This exhibition may revise your ideas about Pop art and James Rosenquist’s role in its irresistible rise. Highlights include experimental early works, several featuring light bulbs and Plexiglass, and Yellow Applause (1966), a motorized painting in which two hands on separate canvases clap. The show also features preparatory studies for Rosenquist’s signature works, including Marylin (1962), which is at the MoMA in New York. Museum loans and works from the artist’s estate make this a must-see exhibition.

Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac, Ely House, 37 Dover St, Mayfair, London W1S 4NJ 

Elizabeth Peyton at National Portrait Gallery
October 3, 2019 – January 5, 2020

Elizabeth Peyton, David

This is not a commercial gallery show but we wanted to include a shout-out for Elizabeth Payton, who takes on the patriarchy at London’s National Portrait Gallery. The US artist is the first to be given free reign over the UK’s collection of portraits of the “great and the good,” infiltrating its historic rooms with her own works. It is the most radical rehang of the collection so far since director Nicholas Cullinan took the helm with a mission to make the National Portrait Gallery a contemporary art player. Peyton’s expressionist portraits of Kurt Cobain, Frida Kahlo, Napoleon, and Jonas Kaufmann go head-to-head with her take on some of Britain’s finest, including David Bowie, David Hockney, and Queen Elizabeth II.

National Portrait Gallery, St. Martin’s Pl, Charing Cross, London WC2H 0HE


I’ve Grown Roses in This Garden of Mine” at Goodman Gallery
October 3 – November 2

Kudzanai Chiurai, Black Vanguard Resource Centre (2019).

The South African gallery is pulling out the stops for its London debut. The inaugural exhibition in its Mayfair space features work by an intergenerational selection from its own roster, including El Anatsui, Kudzanai Chiurai, David Goldblatt, and William Kentridge, to name but a few. The show takes its title from a searing work by Gabrielle Goliath about gender-based violence, and the exhibition looks at ways of healing and repair. All in all, it’s a blockbuster.

Goodman Gallery, 26 Cork Street, London, W1S 3ND


Dialectical Materialism” at Karsten Schubert
September 28 – October 6

Alison Wilding, In a Dark Wood (2012). Copyright the artist. Courtesy Karsten Schubert.

Alison Wilding, In a Dark Wood (2012). Copyright the artist, courtesy of Karsten Schubert.

The trailblazing and sorely missed art dealer Karsten Schubert was working on this group exhibition up until his untimely death at the end of July. It focuses on key artworks by British sculptors that Schubert believed will stand the test of time, none more so than two artists he did so much to support: Rachel Whitehouse and Alison Wilding. They are shown alongside Antony Caro, Richard Long, Barry Flanagan, and William Turnbull. Called “Dialectical Materialism,” the show is a celebration not only of British sculpture since the 1960s, but also the scholar and gallerist’s life and achievements.

A pop-up bookshop will include some of the many publications of Ridinghouse, the imprint Schubert co-founded. Well worth a detour from Frieze Masters nearby.

Karsten Schubert, 1 Park Village East, London, NW1 7PX

Anna Maria Maiolino at Whitechapel Art Gallery
September 25 – January 12, 2020

Anna Maria Maiolino, Entrevidas (2012). Photo: Coffrini  AFP/Getty Images.

The Brazilian artist, who was born in Italy, transforms the Whitechapel Gallery’s ground floor with clay works that she rolled and kneaded into slabs, balls, and sensuous loops. Maiolino’s gestural forms make a memorable start in this long-overdue survey of a veteran artist who since the 1960s has been taking sculpture in a new, often politically engaged direction. The show “Making Love Revolutionary” also includes the artist’s work on paper, textile, and on film, some of which she made during the dark years of Brazil’s military dictatorship. Opening in time for the traditionally male-dominated Frieze week makes the Whitechapel’s programming all the more impressive.

Whitechapel Gallery, 77-82 Whitechapel High St, Shadwell, London E1 7QX.


Hew Locke at Hales Gallery
September 26 – November 9

Hew Locke, Jumbie House, 1, 2019. Photo by Anna Arca.

Hew Locke, Jumbie House, 1 (2019). Photo by Anna Arca.

The London-based sculptor has been navigating Britain’s colonial-era history for the past three decades. Following Locke’s show “Patriots” at New York’s PPOW Gallery last year, which revealed the racism and anti-Semitism of some of the figures commemorated in public art, “Where Lies the Land?” at Hales Gallery brings the story of conquest, exploitation, and imperialism back home to London.

The exhibition includes a ghostly fleet of ships, plus Parian busts of Queen Victorian and King Edward VIII, among other other royals smothered in gaudy trinkets. New works include Jumbie House 1 (2019), a rickety haunted house inspired by Guyana’s traditional wooden homes. Amid the chaos of Brexit, the phrase “uncharted waters” is often invoked. Locke’s work, like Kara Walker’s fountain at Tate Britain, is a Little Englander’s worst nightmare.

Hales Gallery, 7 Bethnal Green Road, E1 6LA

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