THE 15TH EDITION of Frieze London was open to the public Oct. 5-8. More than 160 galleries from around the world participated in the art fair at Regent’s Park, where art by more than 1,000 artists were on view. While works by artists of African descent were few and far between, a number received special recognition with awards, acquisitions, and participation in the Focus section and Frieze Projects program. In addition, a few galleries presented works by major African American artists.

Frieze Talks features conversations and programming with artists, curators, and other art world figures. This year, Adam Pendleton joined a panel on Alt-Monuments, a debate about how to commemorate history in public spaces. Nástio Mosquito was one of three artists who participated in an innovative program called The Singing Lecture. He gave a lecture accompanied by music in an effort to explore how the meaning of words changes when they are sung, rather than spoken.

For Frieze Projects, South African artist Donna Kukama (above) set up a botanical exchange at the entrance to the art fair.


Jack Shainman Gallery: Installation view featuring, from left, works by Titus Kaphar, Richard Mosse, and Hank Willis Thomas. | Photo by Mark Blower, Courtesy Mark Blower/Frieze


Jack Shainman Gallery
For its inaugural presentation at Frieze London, Jack Shainman Gallery featured works by a selection of artists, including Nick Cave, Barkley L. Hendricks, Titus Kaphar, Andres Serrano, Hank Willis Thomas, Carrie Mae Weems, Lynette Yiadom-Boakye and Toyin Ojih Odutola, whose first solo museum exhibition in New York opens at the Whitney Museum of American Art Oct. 20. The New York gallery reported early sales of paintings by Willis Thomas, Yiadom-Boakye, Kaphar (“Shifting the Gaze,” 2017) to an “important institution,” and Marshall (“Untitled (Bathers), 2017), for $875,000 to a U.S. collector.


Installation view of MELVIN EDWARDS at Stephen Friedman Gallery at Frieze London. | via Stephen Friedman


Stephen Friedman Gallery
London-based Stephen Friedman Gallery presented a solo presentation of works by Melvin Edwards, dating from the 1960s to present. He makes modern, minimalist, abstract sculptures from found metal objects. The works are “often biomorphic forms that engage with history, culture and a sense of place.” A variety of his works were featured, including “Lynch Fragments” and “Pamberi” (left foreground) from his Rocker series. Edwards sculpture is included in “Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power” at the Tate Modern through Oct. 22.

READ interview with artist about Frieze presentation and works contributed to “Soul of a Nation”

VISIT Melvin Edwards website


DONNA KUKAMA, Frieze Project 2017. | Photograph by Lewis Ronald. Courtesy Lewis Ronald/Frieze


Frieze Projects
South African artist Donna Kukama‘s practice is mostly performance-based. For Frieze Projects, she erected a structure near the entrance of the fair, housing a botanical display of medicinal plants, encouraging fairgoers “to take part in a performance of social exchange and empathy.” The performance is her first UK work.

WATCH brief video of project

READ MORE about Donna Kukama


Installation view of Michael Rosenfeld Gallery’s booth at Frieze Masters London. From left, works by Beauford Delaney, William T. Williams, Norman Lewis, and Alma Thomas. | via Michael Rosenfeld Gallery


Michael Rosenfeld Gallery
For its Frieze Masters presentation, Michael Rosenfeld Gallery gave a nod to “Soul of a Nation,”currently on view at the Tate Modern. The New York gallery brought works by artists featured in the show, including Benny Andrews, Romare Bearden, Beauford Delaney, Sam Gilliam, Norman Lewis, Betye Saar, Alma Thomas, Bob Thompson, Charles White, and William T. Williams.


From left, Artist Isaac Julien in conversation with curator Nicholas Cullinan of the National Portrait Gallery, London, on Oct. 5, 2017. | Photography by Benjamin Westoby, Courtesy Benjamin Westoby/Frieze


Frieze Masters Talks
London-based artist Isaac Julien is known for his films and installations. He talked with curator Nicholas Cullinan about works in the National Portrait Gallery, how they’ve influenced his practice, and the “role of history, questions of representation, biography, masculinity, and portraiture in a broader sense” in his work.

LISTEN to conversation


Installation view of Arcadia Missa Gallery, Frieze London 2017. Shown, a three-channel video by Hannah Black. | Photo by Mark Blower. Courtes Mark Blower/Frieze


Tate Acquisition
The Frieze Tate Fund announced four acquisitions from the fair. Among the works selected was Hannah Black‘s “Intensive Care/Hot New Track,” an HD colour video with sound, DVD and file on USB (5 minutes 36 seconds, Edition 1 of 3). Made in 2013, it was acquired from Arcadia Missa. The London gallery presented a solo show of the writer and conceptual artist’s work at the fair.

Berlin-based Black, mostly works in New York and London, where she was born and currently has a solo show, “Some Context,” at Chisenhale Gallery (through Dec. 10). She is the artist who initiated a public rebuke against “Open Casket, Dana Shutz’s painting of Emmett Till, which was included in the 2017 Whitney Biennial. In an open letter to Whitney curators, posted online in March, she called for the removal and destruction of the work to prevent it from being sold or entering a museum’s collection. She wrote in part: “the painting should not be acceptable to anyone who cares or pretends to care about Black people because it is not acceptable for a white person to transmute Black suffering into profit and fun, though the practice has been normalized for a long time.”

WATCH brief video explaining why the acquired works were chosen

READ 500 words by the artist about her work


On rolling rack at left, ERIC N. MACK, “Supreme, Knowledge, Affirmatives,” 2017 (dye on cotton with aluminum armature), on view at Simon Lee Gallery, Frieze London 2017. | Photo by Mark Blower, Courtesy Mark Blower/Frieze


KERRY JAMES MARSHALL, “Untitled (Two Eggs Over Medium, Sausage, Hash Browns, Whole Wheat Toast),” 2017 (acrylic on PVC panel, 37 x 35 5/8 x 2 7/8 inches (93.9 x 90.3 x 7.3 cm)). | Courtesy the artist and David Zwirner, London


David Zwirner Gallery
With locations in London and New York, David Zwirner presented a new painting by Kerry James Marshall at Frieze. The gallery confirmed to Culture Type that the Chicago-based artist made the work specifically for sale at the London art fair. In “(Untitled – Two Eggs Over Medium, Sausage, Hash Browns, Whole Wheat Toast),” Marshall explores representation and the African American experience. He depicts a black man of indeterminate age, with black skin, drinking black coffee. Wearing what appears to be a striped pajama top, his subject is about to eat a hearty country breakfast in an otherwise empty public dining room. Perhaps it is a cafe, or maybe the dining hall of a retirement home, given his attire. According to DZ, the painting sold for $1 million to an undisclosed European foundation.


Installation view of KERRY JAMES MARSHALL, “Untitled (Two Eggs Over Medium, Sausage, Hash Browns, Whole Wheat Toast),” 2017, at David Zwirner, Frieze London 2017 | Photo by Mark Blower. Courtesy of Mark Blower/Frieze


Installation view of KILUANJI KIA HENDA, Frieze Artist Award, Frieze Projects 2017. | Photo by Lewis Ronald. Courtesy Lewis Ronald/Frieze


Frieze Artist Award
The winner of the 2017 Frieze Artist Award, Kiluanji Kia Henda was selected by a jury to create an installation for Frieze Projects. The Luanda, Angola-based multidisciplinary artist’s work spans photography, video and performance. For Frieze, he created “a two-part installation, taking the cult of Marxism-Leninism after independence in Angola as its starting point and drawing parallels between witchcraft practices during Angola’s civil war and science fiction narratives used by Cold War superpowers.” Kia Henda is the first African artist to receive the prize, the fourth to be awarded by the art fair.

READ MORE about the artist


Installation view of works by Billie Zangewa at blank gallery of Cape Town, South Africa, in FOCUS section, Frieze London 2017 | Photo by Mark Blower. Courtesy Mark Blower/Frieze


Artist NASTIO MOSQUITO performed a singing lecture at Frieze London 2017. | Photo by Mark Blower. Courtesy of Mark Blower/Frieze


Frieze Talks
Nástio Mosquito, works across performance, music, video, installation, sound, and poetry. The Angola-born artist based in Ghent, Belgium, performed The Singing Lecture with Mx Justin Vivian Bond, and Martin Hirsch. The trio presented two lectures intended to explore how the meaning of words change when they are sung rather than spoken.

LISTEN to The Singing Lecture

VISIT artist’s website


Frieze Sculpture 2017: Installation view of THOMAS J PRICE, “Numen (Shifting Votive One, Two and Three),” 2016. | Hales London & New York, Photo by Stephen White, Courtesy Stephen White/Frieze


Frieze Sculpture
Throughout the summer and concluding with Frieze on Oct. 8, 23 artist from around the world presented mostly new sculptures in London’s Regent’s Park. The free outdoor display include works by British artist Thomas J Price, who contributed

VISIT artist’s website

READ interview with Thomas J Price


BEYOND FRIEZE, there were prime opportunities elsewhere in London to view and buy art by artists of African descent. Most prominently, the 1:54 Contemporary African Art Fair (Oct. 5-7) marked its fifth year in London. In addition, the Tate Modern was presenting “Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power” featuring work by more than 60 African American artists (through Oct. 22), and Jack Whitten’s first-ever solor exhibition was on view at Hauser and Wirth. CT


TOP IMAGE: Installation view of Donna Kukama 2017 Frieze Project. | | Photograph by Lewis Ronald. Courtesy Lewis Ronald/Frieze


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