Frieze and 1:54, World's First Contemporary African Art Fair, Open in London
This week, the culturati makes its annual pilgrimage to Regent’s Park for the 11th Frieze London (Oct. 17-20), with pieces from 152 contemporary galleries from around the globe plus specially commissioned performances, pop-up restaurants, and let’s not forget the party scene. In an unprecedented partnership, British fashion house Alexander McQueen is a sponsor this time around; artworks curated by local gallerist Sadie Coles will be displayed at the brand’s London stores throughout the fair.
Of course, there’s also the second edition of Frieze Masters, the historically minded spin-off, and a full schedule of satellites. Among this year’s standouts, in collaboration with Tanzanian architect David Adjaye, Somerset House has unveiled 1:54 (through Oct. 20), the world's very first contemporary African art fair. Founded by Touria El Glaoui, daughter of Moroccan painter Hassan El Glaoui, it’s a platform for more than 70 artists—from DRC painter Chéri Samba (see La Vraie Carte du Monde, above) to Benin’s Romuald Hazoumé, with his colorful tribal-inspired “masks” made from discarded jerricans, and Gonçalo Mabunda, who turns AK47s and rocket launchers deactivated after Mozambique’s civil war into whimsical, Modernist thrones.
Meanwhile, the Saatchi Gallery and Christie’s are teaming up for Thinking Big (through Oct. 20), a public exhibition and auction (Oct. 17) of 50 large-scale sculptures by the likes of Tracey Emin and Toby Ziegler. Seeing as they’re too big for Christie’s, the installations are on display at the Sorting Office—a former postal depot on New Oxford Street.
Also of note: After launching its traveling program in Dubai this spring, the Moving Museum (through Dec. 15) has arrived with its Open Heart Surgery exhibit, showcasing more than 200 multimedia works from of-the-moment London artists such as Matthew Smith (his Glam Rock Bog repurposes a gutted bathroom to host workshops on, say, cat-walking or platform-shoe making) in the 35,000-square-foot “Brutalist” building that is 180 The Strand.
And this weekend, the Serpentine will host the 89plus Marathon (Oct. 18-19), a series of talks and events pairing artists, activists, scientists, and entrepreneurs born in or after 1989—when the Berlin Wall came down—with established (read: older) influencers. It’ll happen inside the stunning new Serpentine Sackler Gallery, a 19th-century gunpowder store turned multidisciplinary arts space designed by Zaha Hadid.
Christine Ajudua is Travel + Leisure's London correspondent.