Frieze London marks its 20th anniversary with standout shows and never-before-seen artistic collaborations
Words: Will Moffitt
Since it was inaugurated in 2003 Frieze, London's premier art fair, has blessed the capital with a dizzying array of exhibitions, auctions, artist talks and workshops that have only grown in scope and spectacle. Founded by frieze magazine co-founders Amanda Sharp and Matthew Slotover two decades ago it quickly boosted auction house sales and has since established itself as an indelible and unmissable fixture in the global art calendar.
The fair’s importance and influence on London’s vibrant art scene has never diminished and this year it celebrates its 20th anniversary with a raft of enticing exhibitions, sales and shows at venues across the capital. More than 160 galleries will take part in Frieze London’s 2023 edition, many of them located in Mayfair and St James’s, with one off features introduced to mark the fair’s anniversary.
To honour its 20-year run Frieze London will partner with an extended network of key cultural institutions from across London and beyond to recognise the work of the creative community and wider arts ecosystem that has evolved over the fair’s history.
Lead image: Delivery Dancer's Sphere, 2022, by Artist-to-Artist Ayoung Kim. Below: A shot from Frieze art fair in 2003, the year it launched
Of particular note is a never-before-seen Artist-to-Artist section, with eight leading artists selecting fellow creatives to receive solo stands. Examples include Mark Barker, selected by Wolfgang Tillmans (Shahin Zarinbal); Simonette Quamina chosen by Alvaro Barrington (Praxis); Deborah Anzinger proposed by Simone Leigh (Nicola Vassell); Ayoung Kim supported by Haegue Yang (Gallery Hyundai) and Vanessa Raw, who is being championed by Tracey Emin (Carl Freedman Gallery). Specially calibrated to mark Frieze's anniversary outing it's a testament to and a continuation of the fair's enduring mission to champion lesser known creatives and its legacy of collaboration between artists.
Alongside the reprisal of the critically acclaimed Frieze Artist Award the much-loved public programme Frieze Sculpture returns, helmed by a debut curator in Fatoş Üstek. The segment sees 22 leading international artists bring outdoor sculptures to The Regent’s Park, marking the beginning of Frieze London’s 20th anniversary celebrations. Participants include Leila Babirye, Angela Bulloch, Ayşe Erkmen, Louise Nevelson, Tomas Saraceno, Yinka Shonibare, Josh Smith and Hank Willis Thomas.
Other highlights include a special project with Outset Contemporary Art Fund, installed in the entrance corridor to Frieze London, and a new off-site film programme at the Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA). Key institution-led initiatives returning to the fairs include the Contemporary Art Society’s Collections Fund; the Camden Art Centre Emerging Artist Prize at Frieze and the Frieze Tate Fund supported by Endeavor. This year also sees the addition of the Arts Council Collection Acquisitions Fund, which will see the work of a UK-based early-career or overlooked artist added to their collection, as well as the second year of the Spirit Now Acquisition Fund in collaboration with Hepworth Wakefield.
Below: Untitled Transmutation 10, 2022, by Artist-to-Artist Deborah Anzinger
Across Regent's Park, Frieze Masters will renew its focus on women artists—”a task that continues to be urgent,” says its director Nathan Clements-Gillespie. Modern Women, curated by Camille Morineau, the co-founder of the non-profit AWARE (Archive of Women Artists, Research and Exhibitions), sees ten galleries devote their stands to solo presentations of women. These include the influential Brazilian Modernist Tarsila do Amaral at Almeida & Dale Art Gallery, and the French sculptor Germaine Richier at Perrotin.
Frieze Masters will see the return of the Art Fund Curators Programme, connecting early career curators from diverse and underrepresented backgrounds to exchange ideas through talks, workshops and tours,as well as the highly respected Frieze Masters Talks, in collaboration with dunhill and curated for the fourth consecutive year by Dr. Nicholas Cullinan (Director of the National Portrait Gallery), which will feature speakers including artists Maggi Hambling, Thomas J. Price, Arlene Shechet, Rachel Whiteread and more.
Similarly an artist's studio section, also at Frieze Masters, has been curated by Sheena Wagstaff, the former chair of Modern and contemporary art at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, and has an all-female line up.
Below: Glorious the East Sea A, 2009, by Joon Lee
For the 20th consecutive year, Frieze London and Frieze Masters are supported by Deutsche Bank, which this year will present a collaboration with artist Yinka Shonibare CBE RA.
Eva Langret, Director of Frieze London, said: ‘By putting an emphasis on key arts organisations and institutions that have defined the cultural landscape of the past two decades, we will look to celebrate and support their vital work. This year we are very proud of Frieze’s programming beyond the tent, actively benefitting the arts non-profit ecosystem with the establishment of new initiatives with the Arts Council Collection and the ICA. It’s also fitting to mark our anniversary by extending the series of acquisition funds that we host at the fair, enabling both major public institutions and regional museums alike to expand their collections for the public, building their legacies for the next 20 years and beyond.’
Below: Westminster Bridge from the North with the Lord Mayor's Procession by Canaletto
Nathan Clements-Gillespie, Director of Frieze Masters, added: ‘While this year’s Frieze London will celebrate 20 years, at Frieze Masters we will put some of the key figures of our past two decades centre stage with the return of Frieze Masters Talks to our onsite auditorium. We also look forward to welcoming the Art Fund’s Curators Programme back at the fair, fostering the debate and dialogue that keeps our institutions alive with ideas and expertise, and to the Frieze BBC Debate exploring the role of arts institutions in the contemporary moment.’
https://www.frieze.com/fairs/frieze-london. Frieze London runs from October 11 – October 15