9 Megawatt Museum Shows to See During Frieze Week, From a Bruce Nauman Survey to Artemisia Gentileschi’s Big Retrospective

The main London fairs may not have IRL editions this year, but museums are still putting on quite a show during Frieze week.

"Artemisia" at the National Gallery in London is the first-ever exhibition of the work of Artemisia Gentileschi. Photo by Judith Burrows/Getty Images.

Fall in London is usually synonymous with Frieze Art Fair taking place under massive white tents in Regents Park. This year is a little different, with the event going online, but London’s museums are still pulling out all the stops with blockbuster exhibitions.

From Tate Modern’s survey of Bruce Nauman, his first in more than 20 years in the UK, to the long-awaited exhibition of Artemisia Gentileschi at the National Gallery, here are our picks for what you shouldn’t miss this Frieze week.

 

Ann Veronica Janssens: Hot Pink Turquoise” at South London Gallery
Through November 29, 2020

Ann Veronica Janssens at the South London Gallery. Installation view of Candy Sculpture 405–805/2–405 (2019). Photo by Andy Stagg.

Ann Veronica Janssens at the South London Gallery. Installation view of Candy Sculpture 405–805/2–405 (2019). Photo by Andy Stagg.

A few key works present a highly Instagrammable overview of the Belgian artist’s four-decade interest in light and its impact on our perception. The centerpiece of the exhibition, which takes place across both of South London Gallery’s spaces, is an expanse of shifting colored glitter, which will be replaced halfway through the show’s run by a group of Janssens’s reflective-wheeled Bikes.

Tickets must be booked in advance.

 

Artemisia Gentileschi at the National Gallery
Through January 24, 2021

Artemisia Gentileschi, Judith Beheading Holofernes (1620–1621). Collection of the Uffizi Galleries

Artemisia Gentileschi, Judith Beheading Holofernes (1620–1621). Collection of the Uffizi Galleries

Arguably the biggest show of the year, “Artmeisia”—which examines the work of the most famous female artist of the 17th-century, Artemisia Gentileschi, a Baroque art star before she fell into relative obscurity—was beset with postponements due to the lockdown. But after opening to critics with rave reviews, the show is now ready for the public. 

Tickets must be booked in advance.

 

Bruce Nauman at Tate Modern
Through February 21, 2021

Bruce Nauman, MAPPING THE STUDIO II with color shift, flip, flop, & flip/flop (Fat Chance John Cage) (2001). © Bruce Nauman/ARS, NY and DACS, London 2020. Courtesy of Tate.

The first major exhibition of the American artist in the UK more than two decades, this overview asserts Nauman’s dominance in genres including video, sound, performance, and sculpture.

Tickets must be booked in advance.

 

Thao Nguyen Phan: Becoming Alluvium” at Chisenhale Gallery
Through December 6

Thao Nguyen Phan, Becoming Alluvium (2019). Installation view, Chisenhale Gallery, 2020. Produced and commissioned by Han Nefkens Foundation in collaboration with: Joan Miró Foundation, Barcelona; WIELS Contemporary Art Centre, Brussels; and Chisenhale Gallery. Courtesy of the artist. Photo by Andy Keate.

Thao Nguyen Phan, Becoming Alluvium (2019). Installation view, Chisenhale Gallery, 2020. Courtesy of the artist. Photo by Andy Keate.

For the Ho Chi Minh City-based artist’s first institutional solo show in the UK, Phan continues her ongoing research into the Mekong River and its entanglements with narratives of industrialization, food security, and ecological sustainability through a single-channel film and a series of lacquer and silk paintings.

Tickets must be booked in advance.

 

Summer Exhibition 2020 at the Royal Academy
Through January 3, 2021

Installation view of the Summer Exhibition 2020 (6 October 2020 – 3 January 2021) at the Royal Academy of Arts, London. Photo: © Royal Academy of Arts / David Parry.

A view of the Summer Exhibition 2020. Photo: © Royal Academy of Arts / David Parry.

The annual summertime group show, which sees a wide variety of works by emerging and established artists, will take place throughout the winter this year. This year’s presentation includes works by Tracey Emin, Julian Schnabel, and Anselm Kiefer, but there will be lots more to discover.

Ticket must be booked in advance.

 

Ai Weiwei: History of Bombs” at Imperial War Museum London
Through May 24, 2021

A view of “Ai Weiwei: History of Bombs” at the Imperial War Museum London. © IWM, Ai Weiwei.

This site-specific installation takes over the entirety of the museum’s atrium for the first time in the institution’s history. The show focuses on how humans try to solve crises using destructive measures. 

Ticket must be booked in advance

 

A Countervailing Theory” by Toyin Ojih Odutola at the Barbican
Through January 24, 2021

Toyin Ojih Odutola, A Countervailing Theory, 2020. Installation view, The Curve, Barbican, 11 August © Toyin Ojih Odutola. Courtesy of the artist and Jack Shainman Gallery, New York. Photo: Tim Whitby / Getty Images

A view of Toyin Ojih Odutola’s “A Countervailing Theory.” © Toyin Ojih Odutola. Courtesy of the artist and Jack Shainman Gallery, New York. Photo: Tim Whitby / Getty Images

For the Nigerian-American artist’s first UK commission, Odutola presents a site-specific installation of a new series of powerful drawings that travel along the nearly 300 feet of the Barbican. The show also includes an immersive soundscape by conceptual sound artist Peter Adjaye. 

Ticket must be booked in advance.

 

Nalini Malani: Can You Hear Me?” at Whitechapel Gallery
Through June 6, 2021

Nalini Malani, <i>Can You Hear Me?</i>, (2020), Photo: Ranabir Das © Nalini Malani.

Nalini Malani, Can You Hear Me? (2020). Photo: Ranabir Das © Nalini Malani.

This show presents a new commission by the Karachi-born artist, whose 50-year career as an artist-activist has touched on themes of violence, feminism, colonialism, and identity. Malani’s surrealist-inflected images bring humor to some of the horrific ideas she illustrates.

Ticket must be booked in advance

 

Solos” at Goldsmiths CCA
Through December 13

Installation view of Appau Jnr Boakye-Yiadom, Before, During & After, part of "Solos," at Goldsmiths Centre for Contemporary Art, London, 2020. Photo by Mark Blower.

A work by Appau Jnr Boakye-Yiadom in “Solos.” Photo by Mark Blower.

Goldsmiths has commissioned new works from four emerging artists: Appau Jnr Boakye-Yiadom, Emma Cousin, Lindsey Mendick, and Hardeep Pandhal. All of the works on view were created during lockdown and either explicitly or implicitly tell the story of the impact of the past several months on the artists’ works.

Tickets must be booked in advance.


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