The Ultimate Guide To Frieze: What To See And Do During The London Art Fair
Mr Ugo Rondinone, “yellow blue monk”, 2020. © Ugo Rondinone. Photograph by Mr Stefan Altenburger, courtesy of the artist and Gladstone Gallery
Next month (indeed, next week for Frieze Sculpture), an arts cornucopia opens across this city – the pinnacle being annual contemporary art fair, Frieze. This edition of the doggedly influential venture, which coincides with the 10th anniversary of its historically oriented sibling fair, Frieze Masters, will feature presentations by galleries from 42 nations. Simultaneously, a whole other world-class affair, 1–54 Contemporary African Art Fair, lands at Somerset House. Just as a cascade of new Frieze Week shows, landmark and avant-garde, at spaces vast and minuscule, vie to lure art fiends away from Regent’s Park.
Given that insane aesthetic pick’n’mix, it pays to plot any potential adventuring now. Naturally, mid-gallivanting, you’ll require top sustenance and a serene resting place. Thus, for residents and tourists alike, here’s MR PORTER’s guide to doing Frieze 2022 right.
What to see
Mr Ro Robertson, “Drench”, 2022 (artist’s impression, detail). Digital render Mike Gregory. Courtesy the artist and Maximillian William, London
Frieze Sculpture: Regent’s Park (14 September-13 November)
The 10th edition curated by Yorkshire Sculpture Park director Ms Claire Lilley, this year’s celebration of 3D artistry sees 19 pieces by talents, rising and iconic, installed in the English Gardens. Below, you’ll find those we’re keenest to see in (relative) wild:
Mr Ugo Rondinone, “yellow blue monk” (2020) In dialogue with centuries of artistic iconography, the Swiss creator’s gigantic, primary-hued representations of avowedly religious humans have previously graced European and NYC galleries. Doubtless, this monk’s preternatural impact will only be upped by a genteel lawn setting.
Ms Shaikha Al Mazrou, “Red Stack” (2022) With a host of formally innovative and immediately captivating works to her name, it’s easy to see why creations by Emirati sculptor Ms Shaika Al Mazrou have garnered her high praise to date.
Mr Robert Indiana, “Imperial Love” (1966-1971) Despite cliche-potential, Mr Robert Indiana’s “LOVE” is (almost) universally cherished. Conversely, its originator came to (mostly) detest it due to its overwhelming popularity. So try encounter this piece with open mind and heart. Or, at least, properly look at it before snapping it.
Ms Péju Alatise, “Sim and the Yellow Glass Birds” (2022) Regardless of expressive form, creations by lauded Nigerian artist, architect and novelist Ms Péju Alatise are emphatically political and experimental. At Frieze, a new work inspired by female and non-binary healing in nature will be unveiled.
Mx Ro Robertson, “Drench” (2022) Emerging multidisciplinary artist Mx Ro Roberston will also debut a sculpture from this thematic terrain. Indeed, their practice actually centres upon bounds of the body as situated in the environment. Promising.
Mr Dash Snow, “Untitled (Self-Portrait with Cigarette)”, 2009. Photograph courtesy of the Dash Snow Archive, NYC and Morán Morán
Frieze London – Regent’s Park, 12-16 October
Works from close to 300 global galleries will be presented across 2022’s Frieze London and Masters. Given that bounty, over-saturation becomes a pressing concern. For those sans professional agenda, it’s perhaps cannier to fly by instinct, seeking booths that viscerally intrigue. Or just throng dodge. Even so, here are some of our must-sees:
Indra’s Net This is a specially curated group show intended to entice viewers into contemplating vital ideas circulating in the contemporary arts realm. Here, the eponymous theme refers to an ethics of being in which an individual atom holds within it the structure of reality as drawn from Buddhist and Hindu thought.
Morán Morán The Los Angeles and Mexico City gallery, first conceived as an active alliance between makers and curators, will present pieces by innovative early- and mid-career artists, including Mr John Giorno, Mr Tunji Adeniyi-Jones, Ms Becky Kolsrud, Mx SoiL Thornton and Mr Dash Snow.
The Breeder The progressive Athens institution will show recent programme highlights, such as furniture-sculptures by Canadian designer, Mr Philipe Malouin alongside new works by feted Greek artist Mr Jannis Varelas, South African practitioner Ms Lulama Mlambo Wolf, Ghanian painter Mr Larry Amponsah and the photography of choreographer-artist Ms Maria Hassabi.
Focus Section From this year’s bespoke collection of spaces championing emerging talent, we’re particularly eager to stop by the booths of Addis Fine Art (London/Addis Ababa) Hong Kong’s Blindspot Gallery, Vienna’s Gianni Manhattan, Hot Wheels of Athens, and London’s Soft Opening and Edel Assanti galleries.
1–54 Contemporary African Art Fair, Somerset House, 13-16 October
While dozens of enticing exhibitions open in tandem with Frieze London in a bid to attract collectors, buyers and tourists visiting for Frieze Week, if plausible (especially for Londoners) it pays to wait out the crowds and pace visits throughout chillier months. And having relished 2021’s iteration, the 10th anniversary of this phenomenal fair, which features work by both Africa-residing and diaspora talent as presented by 50-plus galleries, including 14 newcomers to 1–54, is too enticing a prospect to swerve.
Where to eat
Arroz De Marisco at Lisboeta, London. Photograph by Ms Eleonora Boscarelli, courtesy of Lisboeta
Rita’s @ Frieze
After three years’ serving enticing American fare that showcases exemplary British produce, and having since launched an outstanding Soho site, Rita’s returns to Frieze with a 70-cover restaurant. Begin with a cult favourite, the mini Martini and stracciatella with giardiniera and chilli, and trust all that follows will be equally delectable. frieze.com/ritas
Barrafina, King’s Cross
It’s rare any outfit can expand an operation as stellar as Barrafina without tanking in quality, but it seems the Harts – in cahoots with marvellous chef Mr Angel Zapata Martin – have nailed the magic formula. Their King’s Cross space is nearest Frieze, but the Balearic-leaning, Borough Yards newbie is worth a ride south for heavenly Caldereta del Día alone. barrafina.co.uk
Cavita London, Marylebone
This authentic Mexican restaurant from authentically brilliant Mexican chef Ms Adriana Cavita only opened this May, yet it’s already proven an exhilarating addition to London’s dining landscape. The smoked beef shin quesabirria tacos and mussel esquites are quite bliss-making, while the house margaritas are a dream. cavitarestaurant.com
An impassioned paean to Lisbon and Portuguese cuisine and culture, traditional and hyper-contemporary, by famed chef, Mr Nuno Mendes. Savour petiscos such as presa Alentajana (black pork) and grilled carabineiro (red prawns) over Port’n’Tonics at the bar, or go whole hog via their tachos (pots) and travessas (platters). lisboeta.co.uk
Honey & Spice, Marylebone
Less than 10 minutes’ walk from the fair sits Honey & Spice, the gorgeous Middle Eastern grocery and deli by the adored and esteemed, Honey & Co team. Select daily specials such as chicken tagine, or courgette and olive cheesecake, and picnic at leisure. honeyandco.co.uk
Where to stay
Suite Terrace at The Standard, London. Photograph courtesy of Standard Hotels
The Standard, King’s Cross
The sleek, brutalist bastion of mid-century modern offers vibrant terraced suites and cosier quarters, including the windowless, for those after womb-like slumber. Once revitalised, hop in the lift to dine at elevated Mexican-Spanish restaurant, Decimo. standardhotels.com
The Twenty Two, Mayfair
An opulent cultural hideaway that embraces lingerers (apparently). With commercial gallery titans and many Michelin-starred restaurants in dawdling distance, it’s the refined idlers’ choice. the22.london
Chateau Denmark, Soho
Billed as “a rare hustle” (AKA bang on spenny nose for certain Frieze attendees), this maximalist boutique aims to pay dues to Denmark Street’s rock’n’roll heritage. It’s handy for visiting Fitzrovia galleries and restaurants en route to and from Regent’s Park. chateaudenmark.com
Henry’s Townhouse, Marylebone
This Georgian ultra-boutique hotel boasts just seven sumptuously upholstered rooms, and with that the promise of ultra-luxe calm. henrystownhouse.co.uk
One Hundred Shoreditch, East London
If Hackney’s more your vibe, make a nest of the zhuzhed-up ex-Ace. With three bars, including panoramic The Rooftop, an Ozone coffee outpost and seafood-centric Goddard & Gibbs on site, post-fair decompression is a breeze. onehundredshoreditch.com
Where to drink
Seed Library, London. Photograph by Ms Caitlin Isola, courtesy of One Hundred Shoreditch Hotel
KOL Mezcaleria, Marylebone
Try an agave temple, replete with divine spirits from Mexico’s prime independent distillers and producers. Sip individually, or relish in cocktail guise as combined with seasonal ingredients. Either way, don’t neglect chef Mr Santiago Lastra’s glorious Antojitos. kolrestaurant.com
Seed Library at One Hundred Shoreditch
The latest opening by (likely) the world’s premier bartender, Mr Ryan “Mr Lyan” Chetiyawardana, is intentionally more stripped down than his prior star bars, but the artistry remains flawless. Note: a strong choice for booze-avoiders, too. onehundredshoreditch.com/seed-library
Quality Wines, Farringdon
Sure to delight every oenophile – no matter intervention-level preference – this spruced-up, laid-back neighbourhood bar also dishes up exemplary plates by chef, Mr Nick Bramham. qualitywinesfarrington.com
Duke’s, St. James’
World-class martinis, mixed at your table. Masterful. dukeshotel.com
The French House, Soho
A legendary haven for artists, Bohemians, libertines and wits. With proper pints, 30 champagnes and wines on by the glass, and Mr Neil Borthwick’s excellent cookery – old-school good times remain guaranteed. frenchhousesoho.com