New York’s New Museum Is Coming to London with a Pop-Up Show in the Strand

John Akomfrah's Venice Biennale showstopper could get its London debut in Massimiliano Gioni's exhibition opening during Frieze Week.

Massimiliano Gioni, courtesy of the New Museum, photograph by Scott Rudd.

New York’s New Museum is coming to London in the fall, bringing some of the greatest hits from the Bowery to the Strand. Its artistic director Massimiliano Gioni is organizing an exhibition with the Vinyl Factory. It will be presented at The Store X, an arts space in a converted office block in the Strand, which overlooks the river Thames.

Gioni, a former Venice Biennale curator, is following in the footsteps of Ralph Rugoff, the Hayward Gallery’s director, who is organizing the 2019 Venice Biennale. When Rugoff opened “Infinite Mix” in 2016, the Hayward’s pop-up show in the Strand, he demonstrated the potential of the space to present large-scale film and video installation, as well as draw a crowd. Gioni was impressed. “It was an incredible show,” he tells artnet News.

Cyprien Gaillard, Nightlife (2015) in the Hayward Gallery’s “Infinite Mix.” Photo copyright Linda Nylind.

The New Museum’s London show will be titled “Strange Days: Memories of the Future,” and, not unlike Rugoff’s exhibition, it will feature installations by artists working in film and video. His selection will look back on some of the institution’s most impressive shows since it moved to its home on the Bowery a decade ago. 

Details of the show are still to be announced, but when asked if John Akomfrah’s Vertigo Sea (2015) might be included, Gioni tells artnet News, “I can’t confirm or deny it”—adding that he would, indeed, like to feature the work. A hit from 56th Venice Biennale, Akomfrah’s work has toured the UK but never been shown in London. Gioni, who showed the work last year in Milan as part of its Triennale in an exhibition for Fondazione Nicola Trussardi, is also co-curating Akomfrah’s solo show at the New Museum, which is also due to open in the fall. 

John Akomfrah, Vertigo Sea (2015). © Smoking Dogs Films. Courtesy of Lisson Gallery.

John Akomfrah, Vertigo Sea (2015). © Smoking Dogs Films. Courtesy of Lisson Gallery.

Another key work and artist in “Strange Days” could be LA-based Kahlil Joseph. The relationship between the New Museum and the Vinyl Factory started when the latter stepped in to help fund the production of the artist’s latest work Fly Paper (2017) for his New York debut, “Shadow Play,” at the New Museum. Joseph’s ambitious film installation riffing on Harlem’s rich cultural history just opened at The Store X’s new space in Berlin.

Gioni says that his show in London will be a “compendium” of works shown over the past decade at the New Museum in New York. In many of them, artists meld fact and fiction and the works have a “nocturnal” quality, he says. “There is a play between reportage and more personal and intimate reflections.” 

“Infinite Mix,” which turned the floors from the basement to the top of 180 the Strand into a series of mini-studios for film and video installations, attracted around 78,000 visitors in its three-month run. Last fall, Lisson Gallery presented another sprawling exhibition at 180 the Strand called “Everything at Once” to mark its 50th anniversary. The show attracted more than 100,000 visitors. Gioni is reluctant to forecast attendance, however. “I feel like we’ll be set up to fail,” he says, adding: “We don’t want to break the internet.” Still, he feels that, like New York, London is “incredibly open and curious” to see things that have not been shown before.  

Ossian Ward, Lisson Gallery’s head of content who co-curated “Everything at Once” with his colleague Greg Hilty, says: “Vinyl Factory were such great partners and the Store Studios such an exciting venue that we were blown away by the reception of our show last year.” Ward adds that he was honored to co-curate the show, “especially so as it sat between those curated by Ralph Rugoff and Massimilano Gioni, two Venice Biennale curators, which reveals the ambition of the program there.”

The creative director of The Store X, Alex Eagle, said in statement that they are delighted to be partnering with the New Museum, adding that its program of film and video art “resonates with our own commitment to presenting multidisciplinary work, beyond the confines of traditional artistic practices.”

“Strange Days: Memories of the Future,” from October 2 through December 9,  The Store X, 180 the Strand, London.

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