Trumpeting its 20th anniversary edition, Frieze London (October 11–15) opened on Wednesday with a dazzling showcase of more than 160 leading galleries spanning 40 countries—the tentpole fair’s most international roster to date. But amid such a spectacle of sensational sculptures and whimsical works, where is one to begin? Start here, with our curated collection of artist presentations that grabbed the attention of the Artnet Gallery Network, all of which you’ll want to experience before the weekend is out.
Long considered a leader in its representation of female artists, London- and Rome-based Richard Saltoun Gallery continues to drive appreciation of important yet under-recognized women artists with a solo presentation of historic pieces and new, large-scale paintings by the Tazanian-Swedish-British artist Everlyn Nicodemus. The works on view chart the evolution of Nicodemus’s late-blooming yet explosive career, following her recent residency at Princeton University and in anticipation of her first U.K. institutional retrospective at the National Galleries of Scotland, opening in September 2024. One of the strongest feminist voices to emerge from Eastern Africa in the past 30 years, Nicodemus’s powerful works, centered on personal and cultural experiences, are also notable for their exploration of the role art can play in healing.
Returning to Frieze London for its 19th presentation, Lehmann Maupin is showing two works by Nari Ward (b. 1963) ahead of the American artist’s U.K. debut and solo exhibition at the gallery’s South Kensington location in November. The pieces include Ward’s historical sculpture (2010), which features a faux-baroque mirror framing a twisted American flag made from foam, alongside a new copper panel work titled (2023). Widely celebrated for his sculptural installations of found objects, Ward often uses detritus sourced from his neighborhood in Harlem to activate the emotional resonance of everyday objects.
Other notable highlights at the booth include new works by Tammy Nguyen and Do Ho Suh, as well as works by Erwin Wurm and Nicholas Hlobo, who have concurrent exhibitions in the U.K.
At the 2023 edition of Frieze London, you won’t find the latest work by British sculptor Conrad Shawcross (b. 1977) nestled within Victoria Miro’s booth dedicated to figurative and conceptual artists like Chantal Joffe, Paula Rego, and Stephen Willats. Instead, you’ll find Shawcross’s new sculpture taking center stage in a more unlikely place: the Royal Salute Gallery Bar. Titled (2023), the kinetic artwork was inspired by the incredible expanse of time contained within a 53-year-old Royal Salute whisky blend and merges a massive, sapphire blue glass disc with an oak spindle and oblong crystal decanter to represent how time functions on multiple levels. For added theatrical flair—and to create a constellation of dancing shadows—the piece is displayed in conversation with Shawcross’s dynamic light installation (2010).
In , the bicoastal American gallery’s joint presentation of new artworks by multimedia painter Hugo McCloud (b. 1980) and multidisciplinary artist Janaina Tschäpe (b. 1973), human relationships with nature are the focus, both in subject and artistic practice. Showcasing their distinct perspectives, the project includes six of McCloud’s single-use plastic and abstract tar paintings, as well as several oil-on-linen works by Tschäpe. Where McCloud shines a light on invisible labor and the ubiquitous materials people leave behind, Tschäpe’s paintings chart memories of landscapes drawn from her inner thoughts and emotions, connecting her free-flowing imagination to evocations of the natural environment.
Though she only began painting full-time during the lockdowns in 2020, New Jersey-based artist Danielle Mckinney (b. 1981) has already made waves in the art world, with her powerful works highly sought after by everyone from curators at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden to megastars Beyoncé and Jay-Z. At Frieze, Marianne Boesky Gallery’s entire booth is devoted to Mckinney’s first solo presentation in the U.K., which includes narrative oil paintings and captivating watercolors on paper—a new medium for the rising artist. In her pensive, intimate portraits, Mckinney, who has a background in photography, captures her often solitary protagonists in leisurely pursuits or moments of deep reflection with an acute awareness of the female gaze, employing deeply colorful hues and nuanced details with cinematic effect.
Fresh off her first solo presentation in South Korea, the interdisciplinary artist Zadie Xa (b. 1983) is entrancing viewers halfway around the world with Thaddaeus Ropac’s presentation at Frieze of her kaleidoscopic new painting (2023). Known for works which incorporate diverse global references, from folklore and mythology to speculative fiction, as well as her own Korean-Canadian heritage, Xa continues her explorations of the unfamiliar while also alluding to abstract notions of homeland.
The gallery’s exceptional showcase of London’s next generation of young creators also includes a unique multimedia piece by the prolific artist and 2022 Artnet Innovator Alvaro Barrington (b. 1983), who will create a new installation for next spring’s prestigious Tate Britain Commission.
Among Xavier Xufkens’ robust group presentation is a standout work by the young German painter Constantin Nitsche (b. 1987), who draws inspiration from his immediate surroundings: people and interiors, animals and nature, street scenes and still lives. In (2022–2023), Nitsche—who now resides in Marseille—skillfully transforms an everyday scene into an enigmatic composition that seems to hover between fiction and reality.
On view is also an unmissable nude by the nonagenarian painter Joan Semmel (b. 1932), which Hufkens is premiering ahead of the artist’s first exhibition with the gallery in Spring 2024.
Occupying one of the central positions in the landscape of American painting for the past 40 years, George Condo (b. 1957) creates works that bridge an array of aesthetic gestures, moods and influences, from fields such as art history, music, and philosophy to artistic movements including Cubism, Surrealism, and Abstract Expressionism. At Sprüth Magers’ booth, Condo’s new painting, (2023), presents a bold, geometric amalgamation of faces—including the artist’s characteristic wide blue eyes—framed by rich swaths of royal greens, blues, and purples. Demonstrating Condo’s complete mastery of color, composition, and image, the work stands as an example of the artist’s painterly dynamism and searing psychic intensity which give shape to his unique vision of humanity.