Beyond the White Tent: The 15 Best Shows to See in London During Frieze Week

From legends such as Basquiat and Dubuffet to contemporary hits like Katharina Grosse and Hannah Black.

Katharina Grosse, This Drove my Mother up the Wall (2017). Photo Andy Keate, courtesy South London Gallery.
Katharina Grosse, This Drove my Mother up the Wall (2017). Photo Andy Keate, courtesy South London Gallery.

As the Frieze flurry descends upon London, it can be intimidating to try to wade through all the events on the art fair agenda. In addition to Frieze-related projects and the booth displays themselves, a bevy of landmark exhibitions coincide with the fair’s dates across both galleries and institutions.

Fear not, we’ve got you covered: what follows is a round-up of the 15 best shows to see in London during Frieze Week.

Barkley Hendricks, Icon for My Man Superman (Superman Never Saved Any Black People–Bobby Seale) (1969). Courtesy Barkley L. Hendricks and Jack Shaiman Gallery, NY.

1. “Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power” at Tate Modern, July 12 – October 22.

Covering the years between 1963 and 1983, “Soul of a Nation” is a critically-lauded, comprehensive presentation of Black art and artists practicing in a time period often overlooked in art history. Beginning in the Civil Rights era, it is comprised of more than 150 works by over 60 artists—many of whom are being shown for the first time in the UK. Included on the long roster are David Hammons, Barkley L. Hendricks, Sam Gilliam, Lorraine O’Grady, and Noah Purifoy, among many others.

Tate Modern is located at Bankside, London SE1 9TG. General admission to the exhibition is £15.

Rachel Whiteread, 100 Spaces (1995) at Tate Britain. ©Rachel Whiteread. Photo ©Tate (Seraphina Neville and Andrew Dunkley).

2. Rachel Whiteread at Tate Britain, September 12 – January 21, 2018.

Down the River Thames at Tate’s British-centric museum, Tate Britain has mounted the most substantial survey to date of work by British artist Rachel Whiteread, who in 1993 was the first woman to win the Turner Prize.

The show traces works dating back to 1988, covering over three decades of her oeuvre. Among the pieces on view are seminal sculptures such as Untitled (Book Corridors) (1997-8) and Untitled (Room 101) (2003), as well as 2017’s Chicken Shed, which Whiteread created specifically for the exhibition.

Tate Britain is located at Millbank, London SW1P 4RG. General admission to the exhibition is £15.

Martin Puryear, Big Phrygian (detail) (2010–2014). Photography by Ron Amstutz. ©Martin Puryear, Courtesy Matthew Marks Gallery.

3. Martin Puryear at Parasol unit, September 19 – December 6.

In what is the American artist’s first outing at a London institution, Parasol unit presents over 40 years of work from Martin Puryear’s career, exhibiting a total of 30 works on view. Curated by Ziba Ardalan, Parasol unit’s founder and director, the show includes Puryear’s signature large-scale sculptures as well as his lesser-known works on paper, providing a comprehensive look at his four-decade-long practice.

Parasol unit is located at 14 Wharf Road, London N1 7RW. Admission is free.

Hannah Black, Some Context (2017). Commissioned and produced by Chisenhale Gallery.

4. Hannah Black, “Some Context” at Chisenhale Gallery, September 21 – December 10.

Her Dana Schutz-lambasting aside, Hannah Black has made a name for herself in the contemporary art world for her sharp writing and use of language in a visual context. Commissioned by Chisenhale Gallery, Black’s solo presentation—which also serves as her first outing at a UK institution—is centered around 20,000 copies of The Situation, a book comprised of conversations between the artist and her friends. Each exchange has been transcribed, edited, and censored by Black, and in each case, “the situation” takes on a different definition, depending on who is included in the dialogue.

Chisenhale Gallery is located at 64 Chisenhale Road, London E3 5QZ. Admission is free.

Jean-Michel Basquiat, Hollywood Africans (1983), courtesy Whitney Museum of American Art, New York. ©The Estate of Jean-Michel Basquiat/ Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York/ ADAGP, Paris. Licensed by Artestar, New York.

5. “Basquiat: Boom for Real” at Barbican Centre, September 21 – January 28, 2018.

“Boom for Real”—which takes its title from a phrase Jean-Michel Basquiat used when he particularly loved something—is particularly notable, as it is his first show in the country since 1984. Comprised of over 100 works, the show will not only include painting but also his work in collage, Xerox, performance, graffiti, and music.

Ahead of the opening, artnet News spoke to the show’s co-curator, Eleanor Nairne, who discussed the aim to shed new light on Basquiat’s oeuvre: “His work was really a space in which he could play out all of the different areas from which he drew inspiration, and I think that hasn’t really been understood with a degree of sensitivity before. So hopefully we are allowing a very different, fuller picture of him to come through.”

The Barbican Centre is located at Silk Street, London EC2Y 8DS. General admission is £16.

Nathalie Du Pasquier, Untitled pattern (1983). Courtesy the artist.

6. “Nathalie Du Pasquier – Other Rooms” at Camden Arts Centre, September 29 – January 14, 2018.

Du Pasquier is having a London moment. Following her sprawling summer show at Pace London, the artist—who is a founding member of the Milan-based design group Memphis—continues blurring the boundaries between the genres of painting and installation. Her immersive presentation at the Camden Arts Centre has transformed the gallery into a 3D version of her compositions. The show also features a new series of drawings and seven new ceramic sculptures inspired by the traditional still life.

Camden Arts Centre is located at Arkwright Road, London NW3 6DG. Admission is free.

Katharina Grosse, This Drove my Mother up the Wall (2017). Courtesy South London Gallery.

7. “Katharina Grosse: This Drove My Mother Up the Wall” at South London Gallery, September 28 – December 3, 2017.

For her first solo exhibition at a institution in London, Katharina Grosse has created a new site-specific work with her signature techniques, which result in colorful installations said to “record her thoughts and actions.” Also on view are two documentary films that provide insight into Grosse’s research and interests: Women Artists (2016) by Claudia Müller, and The Gleaners and I (2000), by Belgian director Agnès Varda.

South London Gallery is located at 65-67 Peckham Road, London SE5 8UH. Admission is free.

“(X) A Fantasy” installation view. David Roberts Art Foundation, 2017. Photo Tim Bowditch.

8. “(X) A Fantasy” at David Roberts Art Foundation, September 8 – October 7.

This ambitious group exhibition at David Roberts Art Foundation (DRAF) is made up of 30 new commissions and works by a mix of historical and contemporary artists in an aim to address the blurring of boundaries between the public and private.

“(X) A Fantasy” is of particular interest as it is the final exhibition in DRAF’s Camden space, taking place before the foundation changes its structure to stage projects in different sites across the UK. This noteworthy show combines established artists—like Helen Chadwick, Theaster Gates, and Wolfgang Tillmans—alongside rising stars like Paul Maheke, Tala Madani, and Hannah Quinlan and Rosie Hastings.

David Roberts Art Foundation is located at Symes Mews, London NW1 7JE. Admission is free.

Ann Veronica Janssens installation view. Photo George Darrell, courtesy White Cube.

9. Ann Veronica Janssens at White Cube Bermondsey, September 27 – November 12, 2017

Ann Veronica Janssens will present new and recent sculpture and installation in what is her first extensive one-person exhibition in the UK. Janssens’ work is known for its subtle yet hypnotic qualities. As stated by the gallery: “By orchestrating subtle changes in light or movement with the minimum of means, she allows for multiple-interpretations, enabling each viewer to have their own unique experience.”

White Cube Bermondsey is located at 144-152 Bermondsey Street, London SE1 3TQ. Admission is free.

Rebecca Ackroyd, research image. Courtesy the artist.

10. Rebecca Ackroyd, “The Root” at Zabludowicz Collection, September 28 – November 5, 2017.

Ackroyd has produced a site-specific sculptural installation that continues to explore the relationship between the body and building construction, which is at the core of her practice. In her works Carriers, Ackroyd draws inspiration from the architectural landscape of London, creating a floor display in the gallery that mimics carpeting found on the inside of a pub with a metal manhole cover in the middle. The end result is an exhibition that looks at the psychology of space and how the body moves within it.

Zabludowicz Collection is located at 176 Prince of Wales Road, London NW5 3PT. Admission is free.

Still from Seth Price, “Painting” Sites (2000). Courtesy the artist.

12. “Seth Price circa 1981” at Institute of Contemporary Arts, October 4 – January 7, 2018.

What exactly will go on view remains hush-hush, but the ICA’s website promises a survey exhibition of film and video works by New York-based artist Seth Price, whose work concerns cultural consumerism and appropriation. His far-reaching practice has dipped into several various different mediums, and so this focus on specifically film and video works by the American artist has the potential to be particularly enlightening.

Institute of Contemporary Arts is located at The Mall, London SW1Y 5AH. Admission for the day is £1.

Thomas Ruff, L’Empereur 06 (The Emperor 06) (1982). Photo ©Thomas Ruff

13. “Thomas Ruff: Photographs 1979-2017” at Whitechapel Gallery, September 27, 2017 – January 1, 2018

This survey at the East London institution examines four decades worth of the German photographer’s work—which, according to the gallery, touches upon a wide range of dense subject matter, including cosmology, suburbia, nudity, utopianism, and catastrophe. Described as drawing from “the full range of Ruff’s output,” the exhibition can be understood to serve as a retrospective-style display of his oeuvre.

Whitechapel Gallery is located at 77-82 Whitechapel High St, London E1 7QX. General admission is £12.95.

Jasper Johns, Flag, (1958). © Jasper Johns / VAGA, New York / DACS, London 2017. Photo Jamie Stukenberg © The Wildenstein Plattner Institute, 2017.

14. Jasper Johns, “Something Resembling Truth” at Royal Academy of Arts, September 23 – December 10.

Comprised of over 150 paintings, sculptures, drawings and prints, “Something Resembling Truth” is the legendary American artist’s first comprehensive survey in the UK in 40 years. Viewers will be able to track all the shifts and consistencies across Johns’ practice. In an added perk, new works will also be displayed as well as pieces from private collections that rarely—if ever—go on view to the public.

Royal Academy of Arts is located at Burlington House, Piccadilly, London W1J 0BD. General admission is £17. 

Installation view of Jean Dubuffet’s “Théâtres de mémoire.” Photo ©2017 Pace Gallery.

15. Jean Dubuffet, “Théâtres de mémoire,” at Pace, London, September 13 – October 21.

Curated by Arne Glimcher, the founder of the dealing powerhouse Pace Gallery, in collaboration with Tamara Corm, senior director at Pace London, this exhibition focuses specifically on Dubuffet’s “Théâtres de mémoire” series, featuring 15 paintings on loan from various institutions such as the Fondation Dubuffet, Tate, Fondation Beyeler, in addition to private collections. The show is the first to unite the series in over three decades, and is also the first-ever outing of the works in London.

Pace London is located at 6 Burlington Gardens, London W1S 3ET. Admission is free.


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