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So… Frieze Week 2017 is upon us, and as the busiest art week of the year in London, with fairs, auctions and numerous gallery openings, not to mention some unmissable museum shows, it can seem more than a little overwhelming. Here are a few of our recommended highlights to help you make the most of your time if you’re visiting London. And do feel free to get in touch if you’d like more insights or information about the week.


Frieze London (5-8 October, Regents Park): 
The megalith of all art fairs, the 15th edition of this fair will unite more than 160 leading galleries from 31 countries and alongside the art, it will present it’s largest programme of talks, presentations and projects to date.  The unlikely partnership of Hauser & Wirth and Mary Beard, Professor of Classics at the University of Cambridge present Bronze Age c.3500 BC – AD 2017, recreating a fictional Bronze Age presentation from a forgotten museum.  Solely featuring works of bronze and including artefacts on loan from international museums and private collections alongside sculptures by artists including Louise Bourgeois, Henry Moore and Fausto Melotti and items bought on eBay, the show is unusual and fascinating in equal measure. Significant works by Rachel Whiteread can be seen at Galleria Lorcan O’Neill (Rome) to coincide with the artist’s retrospective at Tate Britain.  Marian Goodman (New York) presents a carefully curated show exploring man’s relationship with the environment and featuring a marble and bronze tree sculpture by Giuseppe Penone. New this year is Sex Work: Feminist Art & Radical Politics, which has been curated by independent curator and scholar Alison M. Gingeras. The section features nine solo presentations of women artists working at the extreme edges of feminist practice during the 1970s and ‘80s, all sharing a focus on explicit sexual iconography combined with radical political agency.

Frieze Masters (5-8 October, Regents Park):
Presenting over 130 exhibitors focussed on art pre-2000, the sixth edition of this fair spans six thousand years of art history and is a must for all art enthusiasts.  This year Waddington Custot are collaborating with designer Robin Brown and producer Anna Pank with the installation ‘At Work with Peter Blake’ which will appear as if torn from Blake’s studio, retaining the industrial spirit of the building in West London and blending key artworks by the seminal Pop artist with unexpected finds from his personal collecting. Kallos Gallery are returning to Frieze Masters this year with an outstanding selection of ancient art including a very striking and large Amlash terracotta steatopygous female idol (Iran, late 2nd century – early 1st millennium BC), formerly part of the eminent collection of the late Marion Schuster of Lausanne, Switzerland. Other highlights not to miss include Alexander Calder and Joan Miró with Galerie Thomas who have travelled from Munich to exhibit at the fair, while Sam Fogg will be showing sculpture, metalwork and painting from the European Middle Ages alongside a remarkable early selection of Ethiopian crosses dating from the 13th century. 

PAD Art + Design Fair (2-8 October, Berkeley Square): 
A more intimate event in comparison to the Frieze megaliths, 68 galleries are participating this year with a mix of contemporary, modern and historical design, art and antiques.  Don’t miss the Joan Miró works at Mayoral and Vertes or the René Magritte at De Jonckheere, inspired by Edgar Allan Poe.

1:54 Contemporary African Art Fair (5-8 October, Somerset House): 
The name refers to the 54 different countries of the African continent and the fair promotes a wide range of African perspectives from around the globe, featuring emerging artists as well as work by established figures such as Ibrahim El-Salahi.  42 galleries are showcasing the work of more than 130 artists, including 8 solo exhibitions. The Special Projects program includes a major solo exhibition of British-Moroccan photographer Hassan Hajjaj, a site-specific courtyard installation by Cameroonian artist Pascale Marthine Tayou and a new performance program with Hana Tefrati and Adejoke Tugbiyele. 


Jasper Johns: Something Resembling Truth at The Royal Academy (until 10 December 2017) is the first comprehensive survey of the artist’s work to be held in the UK in 40 years.  It reveals the curiosity and experimentation that Johns continues to apply to his art and looks back at the past six decades of his production.. “One hopes for something resembling truth, some sense of life, even of grace, to flicker, at least, in the work.” Jasper Johns, 2006. 

Basquiat: Boom for Real at the Barbican Centre (until 28 January 2018) is the first ever solo show of Basquiat in the UK.  Bringing together over 100 works, it includes paintings, collage, graffiti and more alongside archival film and photography of the artist and his circle.   Keep an eye out for Banksy’s homage to Basquiat on the walls outside the gallery – he painted it under the cover of night just days before the show opened.  

Ann Veronica Janssens at White Cube Bermondsey (until 12 November) explores the new and recent sculptures and installations in the first extensive one-man show of the artist in the UK.  Known for their subtle yet hypnotic qualities, the works allow for multiple-interpretations and are well worth visiting.

(X) A Fantasy at David Roberts Art Foundation (until 7 October) is the final exhibition in DRAF’s Camden space before the foundation changes its structure to stage project in different sites across the UK.  Combining established artists such as Helen Chadwick and Wolfgang Tillmans, alongside emerging talents like Tala Madani, Hannah Quinlan and Rosie Hastings.


The highlight of the week at Christie’s is expected to be Francis Bacon’s Study of Red Pop 1962.  2nd version 1971.  Having been hidden away for 45 years, it’s drama and intensity are attracting great attention and it is expected to make in the region of £60million. Major works by Peter Doig and Antony Gormley are also headlining the Post-War and Contemporary Art Evening Auction on 6 October, as well as several important works by Jean-Michel Basquiat, while the Day Auction led by a Gerhard Richter.   Sotheby’s evening sale on 5 October is led by Cy Twombly’s Untitled from 1962 – an extraordinary painting that provies a code for viewing this master’s iconic and complex fusion of word and image.  They are also offering a Basquiat as well as an imposing Grand Canyon painting by David Hockney which is expected to attract great interest. Both major auction houses are holding Italian sales this week, focusing on the biggest names in Post-War Italian Art such as Michelangelo Pistoletto and Lucio Fontana. In Context Italian Art takes place at Sotheby’s on 5 October and Thinking Italian is held at Christie’s on 6 October.


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