Frieze Week is always peak season for London’s galleries, but this year the offerings are especially bountiful; adding to the usual bevy of blue-chip solos and must-see museum shows (head-to-head shows of Goya and Giacometti portraits!), high-profile new art spaces (including Damien Hirst’s Newport Street Gallery and yet another immense outpost of the Gagosian empire) are opening their doors. Here are a few exhibitions to add to your calendar.
Photos by Artspace, except where noted.
The Mexican conceptual artist’s big Tate commission, “Empty Lot,” fills the Turbine Hall with a grid of planters containing soil from London parks; it may not look like much now, but it’s likely to evolve over the course of the six-month show.
A major survey of the American-born, Berlin-based artist, writer, and activist, whose works expose stereotypes about American Indians and other indigenous peoples, centers on his sculptural assemblages and text-based installations. (While you’re there, don’t miss Frieze Artist Award winner Rachel Rose’s first London solo.)
The duo known for its humorous tweaking of institutional critique has two concurrent exhibitions during Frieze Week. At Victoria Miro in Mayfair, the wall labels of works by other artists (including Lynda Benglis and Martin Kippenberger) have been enlarged and rendered in lasting materials such as marble and enamel. At Massimo de Carlo, glass vases titled “Side Effects” strike a more serious tone; they have been covered in the pastel pigments used to coat HIV medications.
“GIACOMETTI: PURE PRESENCE”
National Portrait Gallery
More than 60 works by the master of the existential portrait have been assembled for this blockbuster, which takes its title from none other than Sartre.
"GOYA: THE PORTRAITS"
The other big portrait show in town promises just as much psychological intensity, with a group of 70 works that includes all the usual suspects (the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s “Boy in Red” made the trip, as did many paintings from Spanish museums and collections) and some of the master’s characteristically mordant self-portraits.
JOS DE GRUYTER & HARALD THYS
The members of this Belgian art duo make sculptures, videos, and works on paper that are often described as “deadpan.” Their exhibition at Raven Row, like their solo at MoMA P.S. 1 last summer, includes faint, fey watercolors that reinterpret historical and archival images found online.
Newport Street Gallery
Damien Hirst, in something of a return to his early YBA days as a curator/impresario, inaugurates his new 37,000 square-foot gallery in Vauxhall with a reappraisal of the British abstract painter John Hoyland.
Jacir’s first UK survey, “Europa,” presents her haunting films and installations about border-crossing, identity, and exile, including her quasi-documentary Material for a Film (the work that won her the Golden Lion award for an artist under 40 at the 2007 Venice Biennial).
The artist’s first London solo in more than a decade includes two new immersive film installations: the eight-screen, medieval-inspired processional More Sweetly Play the Dance, and the three-screen, militaristic Notes Towards a Model Opera, based on research for his recent show at the Ullens Center for Contemporary Art in Beijing.
Imperial War Museum
The American photographer, model, and Surrealist muse was also a courageous World War II correspondent, as the exhibition “Lee Miller: A Woman’s War" reminds us; she captured London during the Blitz, traveled with the American army in Europe, and saw front-line action.
The fast-rising painter’s first show at Zwirner in London includes a large installation of stitched, painted, and unstretched canvases and a video of a raucous street scene in the artist’s hometown of La Paila, Colombia.
In his first major UK solo, Rafman continues to draw from gaming culture and technology in a short movie inspired by Live Action Role Play and a large-scale artificial hedge maze that can be navigated with the help of an Oculus Rift.
Richter’s “Color Charts,” inspired by paint sample cards in a Düsseldorf hardware store, take color to be another kind of consumer product. When he first made them in the 1960s, they were a playful bridge between Pop Art and Minimalism and a radical departure from his black-and-white photo-paintings. This show brings us back to that moment, reuniting works from Richter’s original 1966 group of 19 Color Charts.
Gagosian (Grosvenor Hill)
Twombly shows have inaugurated several branches of the Gagosian gallery, and the first exhibition in the franchise’s new space at Grosvenor Hill in Mayfair continues the trend. On display are large paintings from the artist’s late “Bacchus” series of 2004-8, along with sculptures and works on paper.
Gagosian (Brittania Street)
The sought-after Los Angeles painter’s first London solo focuses on flat, collage-like interiors laden with pots and other decorative objects (some of which evoke the ceramics made by Wood’s wife, Shio Kusaka).