Visit the art exhibitions putting London in the frame
With a full month of artistic celebration underway in the Capital, we take a look at the most exciting art fairs and exhibitions to visit this month
Jenny Holzer, 10 Inflammatory Essays / Frieze London 2017 / Photo by Mark Blower, courtesy of Mark Blower/Frieze
When it comes to art, London is a global player with a spoiled-for-choice selection of year-round exhibitions and galleries galore. Though the highlight of the city’s cultural calendar is undoubtedly Frieze, when the cream of curators, collectors and critics descend upon Regent’s Park to witness the wares of the world’s most influential dealers.
And this year is set to be particularly special, as the fair celebrates 20 years with its most international edition to date. Visitors can expect a dynamic programme of special projects, pop-ups and brand collaborations that reaffirms London as a thriving cultural destination.
But even outside of Frieze’s orbit, you’ll find creative movers, shakers and art-spinning tastemakers revolutionising the city’s creative landscape with a flock of outward-looking satellite shows that share this year’s global perspective. We’ve rounded up some of the best events in town – so you know where to be and what to see this October.
Cory Arcangel, The Golden Ticket, 2008 / Commissioned and produced by Frieze Foundation for Frieze Projects 2008 / Frieze Art Fair 2008 / photo by Dominick Tyler, courtesy of Frieze
One of the world’s most prestigious art fairs, Frieze London reflects the city’s status as an international art hub. Focusing exclusively on contemporary art created by living artists, this year’s fair has teamed up with some of the world’s most celebrated art stars to mark its 20th anniversary. Eight artists – including names like Tracy Emin and Wolfgang Tillmans – have each proposed one of their peers for a solo exhibition in a one-off Artist-to-Artist section. Among the 160 galleries due to take part, notable newcomers include Ginny on Frederick, a shape-shifting gallery that made its name out of a sandwich shop.
Across London. 11-15 Oct
Back in its 11th edition, Frieze Masters is the art-historical arm of the fair, specialising in works made before 1980. Way before, in some cases – with some rare antiquities spanning six millennia. This year, however, there’s a special focus on the women of modernism, with a new section dedicated to female artists of the 19th and 20th centuries that have been largely overlooked by the canon. Another new section on our masters hit-list is Studio, curated by former Met chairman Sheena Wagstaff, which will explore the role of the workspace in the careers of five internationally renowned artists.
Across London. 11-15 Oct
Bernar Venet, Three Indeterminate Lines, 1998, Dickinson / Frieze Sculpture 2013 / photograph by Linda Nylind, courtesy of Linda Nylind/Frieze
Since 2012, Frieze Sculpture has been braving the English weather to temporarily transform Regents Park into an open-air gallery. This year’s al-fresco addition to the Frieze trio probes how sculpture can be at once monumental and ephemeral with new work by leading artists in the medium such as Ghada Amer and Hank Willis Thomas. And with Turkish curator Fatoş Üstek helming the show for the first time, you can expect a diverse range of approaches from conceptual and political to the downright funny. The best news? It’s free.
Regent’s Park. 20 Sept-29 Oct
Courtyard, illuminate the light / Rendering for 1-54 courtyard installation by Amine El Gotaibi / MCC Gallery
1-54 Contemporary African Art Fair, Somerset House
In-keeping with Frieze’s international focus, the 1-54 Contemporary African Art Fair is the first and only fair dedicated to contemporary African Art. Back for its 10th edition, the fair will be held in Somerset House and feature 50 galleries from 21 different countries, alongside a programme of talks, screenings, performances and workshops. “We’re delighted to welcome more galleries than ever before with a significant number based on the continent,” says founding director Touria El Glaoui. Highlights include collaborative, music-inspired works from Nigerian singer Mr Eazi and an ambitious new courtyard installation, Illuminate the Light from Moroccan multidisciplinary artist Amine El Gotaibi.
Somerset House. 12-15 October
stArt Independent Art Fair / courtesy of stArt Fair
Another fair marking its decennary in 2023 is stArt, an independent fair which, in its championing of emerging artists from across the globe, has been the catalyst for many creative careers. This year, the Prince’s Foundation School of Traditional Arts will present over 50 MA students’ work from the past decade, and, in the spirit of creative Britannia, Ben Mosely, the Official Team GB artist, will be live painting throughout the event. Be sure to keep an eye out for the intricate 3D paper works of artist Lisa Lloyd and the totem-like ceramics of sculptor Katya Emelyanova.
Saatchi Gallery. 11-15 Oct
Geraldine Swayne, Big Lips, 2023. Acrylic on board / Women in Art Fair
Women in Art Fair
Here come the girls; Women in Art Fair is a new initiative dedicated to redressing the gender imbalance in the art industry. Their inaugural exhibit will be held at the Mall Galleries, and spread across all three spaces. In the West Gallery, you’ll find a 21-booth art fair, while the East Gallery will host Unnatural Women, an exhibition interrogating the complex relationship between women and nature, featuring work by the likes of Paula Rego and Marcelle Hanselaar.
Additionally, the North Gallery will showcase pieces by lesser-known women artists responding to this year’s open-call theme, The World is a Family.
The Mall Galleries. 11-14 Oct
Fern Shaffer, Nine Year Ritual – April 9, 1998 / Photo by Othello Anderson, courtesy of the artist
At the Barbican, RE/SISTERS casts a critical lens upon issues of gender and ecology. Featuring over 50 women and gender non-conforming artists working across photography and film, the exhibition posits sexism and climate change as indivisible parts of a larger global struggle, and seeks to encourage a more reciprocal relationship to the planet. With a display of roughly 250 works, grouped across six thematic sections, the show is expansive to say the least. But if you’re left wanting more, the accompanying programme of public events includes everything from movement and embodiment workshops to curator-led tours and topical book clubs.
Barbican. 5 Oct 2023-14 Jan 2024
Jemima Wyman with Plume 20 (detail) / Photo by Chloë Callistemon, courtesy of Story, Place
Sydney-based gallery Sullivan+Strumpf take over 9 Cork Street, Frieze’s permanent exhibition space in Mayfair, with Story, Place, a group exhibition amplifying indigenous and diasporic voices from across the globe. Conceived by Australian artist Tony Albert and curator Jen Hall, the exhibition will explore ideas of land, ancestry, materiality, possession, and ultimately, hope. Bringing together an international group of contemporary artists with distinct yet shared experiences, Story, Place is an opportunity to reflect on inherited, invented or imposed narratives of home.
No. 9 Cork St. 5-29 Oct