Our suggestions for things to do, see, learn, and avoid, and facts and figures about the year's biggest art week in London.
1:54 Is Our Top Fair for 2015
Mimi Cherono Ng'ok, Untitled, (No one but you, Dakar series), 2014, Inkjet print on cotton rag paper, edition of 6, 120 x 120 cm. Courtesy of Fondation Donwahi
In case you hadn't noticed, the popularity of African art is exploding, and 1:54 is the only fair of its kind dedicated to contemporary art from the continent and diaspora. 1:54 returns to London for an anticipated second Frieze Week appearance at Somerset House, with 14 out of 38 exhibitors coming from Africa—an achievement that 1:54 highlights as the result of a commitment to working with the people who are building local art scenes on the ground. It's a rare chance, above all, to see what those galleries are doing. If there's one fair outside Frieze you should see, we think it's this one.
You Can Get Your Portrait Painted by Ken Okiishi for Free
Ken Okiishi, gesture-data (feedback), 2015. Oil Paint on flat-screen televisions, feedback .mp4 files (color, silent), 2 panels- 107.4 x 61.9 x 5.1 cm (each).
Courtesy of the artist and Pilar Corrias Gallery
If you head to Pilar Corrias Gallery's booth at Frieze, there's a solo presentation of the Japanese artist Ken Okiishi, who will be present and painting visitors' portraits, for free, but with a twist: you won't be walking away with the work. All will be revealed...
Tickets Cost £34
Rodrigo Matheus, Coqueiro Chorão, 2014, potted bamboo plant, 207 x 300 cm, 81 1/2 x 118 1/8 in. Courtesy of the artist & ibid., London
Ticket prices are always a thorny issue. London's economy has been a hot topic this year across the board, and for many, the price remains prohibitively high. The added irony is that Frieze will present a talk on whether artists can afford to live in London (let alone enter the fair). We'll be reporting on that in our Saturday edition this week.
Wednesday ticket prices are the highest, but from Thursday to Sunday £34 will get you in the door—though it'll be £50 if you want to check out Frieze Masters, too. You could stay outside and enjoy the free sculpture park, with works by Haroon Mirza and Richard Serra, plus Seung-Taek Lee's giant balloon model of the earth. Or just go on Instagram.
There's a New Section at Frieze Masters
Curated by Sir Norman Rosenthal, Collections features the art collections of eight individual dealers, covering a range of historical subjects. Among the highlights is Sydney L. Moss' collection of Japanese Netsuke—the miniature sculptures that were worn around pocketless kimonos as practical solution for personal belongings. Like so many things Japanese, they weren't just practical, but beautiful too.
Find Out What Bulgarian Nightclubs Are Like
Filmaker Gery Georgieva presents a new commission at Frieze, documenting Pop-Folk clubs in her native Bulgaria. Music from her homeland has been a recurrent theme in the artist's work: if you miss it, the film also broadcasts on Channel 4's Random Acts, later this year.
Sunday Art Fair Has the Best Emerging Art
Darja Bajagic, Untitled Collage (Bored & Blind) 2015. Courtesy Room East
Sunday Art Fair's focus is emerging artists and galleries: 25 galleries will be present at Ambika P3 this year, which is within walking distance from Regent's Park. We recommend seeing some of New York's Lower East Side galleries who are presenting emerging female talents: Darja Bajagic at Room East; Louise Gagliardi at Tomorrow; and Andrea Crespo, presented by Hester.
Larry Gagosian's Massive New Gallery Will Be Open
Cy Twombly, Light Flowers, Edition of 6, © Nicola Del Roscio Foundation
Gagosian Grosvenor Hill (in London's Mayfair) opened its doors on 10 October, so if you're in town you could be among the first visitors to the 18,000-square-foot space. The inaugural show presents works by Cy Twombly, who has been on Gagosian's roster for three decades.
1,000 Artists Are on Show at Frieze Alone Edward Thomasson & Lucy Beech, 7 Year Itch, 2015, HD video with sound. Courtesy of the artists and Southard Reid, London
The whole point of the fair for smaller galleries is to generate a market audience, as they might not have access to one in their usual location. It also means their artists get bigger exposure, and to an international crowd. Not all bad, eh? That being said, there are 1,000 artists being shown at Frieze London alone...
The Official Party Is at the ICA
London Short Film Festival. Via Flickr Creative Commons
The ICA is the official host of the Frieze Bar at Frieze Week, in collaboration with K11 Art Foundation. Open for five days from 7:30pm to 1am, the bar will host live band play offs, DJs, and special guests, programmed in partnership with East London's NTS radio, and a drunken art darling or two.
East and West London Have Their Own Events
Tunga, Xifópagas Capilares, 1984, fine art, 33,5 x 25 cm. Courtesy the artist and Galleria Franco Noero, Torino and Luhring Augustine, New York
Wednesday night is the East End night, where the area's surviving galleries stay open til 8pm. The next night, you can do the same in the West End, where things are a little fancier. Let's hope next year South and North are added to the mix, with all the incredible galleries and spaces that are on offer there.
On Friday the Museums are Staying Open Late
Ai Weiwei with his installation Straight, Royal Academy of Arts, 2015. Courtesy of Royal Academy of Arts, London. Photo © Dave Parry
Pop Art at Tate Modern; Ai Weiwei at the RA; Eddie Peake at the Barbican—there are some giant shows on around town during Frieze week, and on Friday night many will be staying open late to accommodate the extra footfall. Be sure to see what some of the galleries have on offer too, with very credible exhibitions such as Elmgreen & Dragset at Victoria Miro, Oscar Murillo at David Zwirner and Ryan Gander at the Lisson Gallery.
You Can See Lots of Celebrities Crying
Xavier Cha's film abduct debuts at Frieze as part of Frieze Film. The series of short films presents well-known actors in heightened emotional states, exploring how emotion is expressed, contained, and mediated by the body and contemporary culture. The film will be presented as part of an installation and live performances at Cha's solo show at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Cleveland, from January 2016.
—The ArtSlant Team
(Image at the top: Katherine Bernhardt, Hammerheads, Tostones, Malta De India, and Cigarettes, 2015 Acrylic and spray paint on canvas 96 x 120 inches. Courtesy of the artist & Canada, New York.)