Linda Goode Bryant famously gained her first foothold in the New York art world in the early 1970s by telling the then-director of the Met, Thomas Hoving, who was interviewing her for a fellowship, that she wanted to burn the ‘racist institution’ to the ground. She took the fight to the commercial art world in 1974, opening Just Above Midtown (JAM) in the heart of New York’s art establishment on West 57th Street to provide African-American artists like David Hammons with their first major platform. As Frieze New York returns to Randall’s Island for its eighth edition (2–5 May), it pays homage to Goode Bryant with a special section, curated by Franklin Sirmans of the Pérez Art Museum Miami, including work by Norman Lewis and Lorna Simpson.
The fair has been gradually enhancing the curatorial presence at its New York edition – last year it introduced a themed section and launched its Frieze Artist Award commission – but this year it steps up a gear. There are four themed sections: ‘Diálogos’, curated by Patrick Charpenel and Susanna V. Temkin from El Museo del Barrio, focuses on Latino and Latin American art; Daniel Birnbaum has been invited to curate an exhibition on virtual reality artworks, while artist Javier Téllez will curate ‘The Doors of Perception’, a display of outsider art from across the globe that ranges from early 20th-century figures such as Adolf Wölfli to contemporary painters and sculptors. The fair is also following the London edition’s lead by launching Frieze Sculpture, with works by artists from Joan Miró to Sarah Sze presented at the Rockefeller Center.
Among the contemporary offerings in the fair’s main section are a number of new and specially commissioned artworks, such as Sarah Faux’s site-specific mural at Capsule Shanghai. Look out too for the abstract paintings of William T. Williams at Michael Rosenfeld. Lehmann Maupin presents work by Nari Ward, coinciding with the artist’s museum show at the New Museum (until 26 May). There are also some enticing historical displays – Robert Rauschenberg and Robert Indiana are paired at Waddington Custot, while Donald Ellis Gallery presents an exhibition of Native American artworks from across the Great Plains. In this year’s ‘Frame’ section for emerging galleries, don’t miss the new works by Leslie Thornton at Vancouver-based Unit 17, drawing on the artist’s research at CERN just outside Geneva.
Across the Harlem River, 1–54 Contemporary African Art Fair is celebrating its fifth New York edition in a new venue, Industria in Manhattan’s West Village (3–5 May). Of the 24 international galleries, which between them present the work of more than 65 artists from Africa and its diaspora, half are newcomers to the fair, including Addis Fine Art, which is bringing the exuberant paintings of Ethiopian-born artist Nirit Takele. This year’s FORUM talks section is curated by the Zimbabwean collective Black Chalk & Co.
The fair again offers the opportunity to see work by canonical figures of the post-war African art scene alongside that of up-and-coming artists. Parisian gallery MAGNIN-A offers pieces by the late Congolese sculptor Bodys Isek Kingelez, whose architectural fantasies were the subject of a retrospective at MoMA last year. MAGNIN-A also presents work by two major figures of contemporary Malian photography, Seydou Keïta and Malick Sidibé, who chronicled life in Bamako from the 1950s. More of Keïta’s work is on show at Danziger Gallery. At De Buck Gallery, look out for the collages of Rashaad Newsome, which juxtapose imagery cribbed from adverts, the internet, and African-American and queer culture of the last 40 years. And don’t miss Galerie Anne de Villepoix, where Derrick Adams’s vivid, Pop-inspired paintings sit alongside the canvases of Aliou Diack, in which surreal creatures emerge from a swirling, semi-abstract ground, inspired by Diack’s childhood memories of rural Senegal.
Beyond the fairs, New York has a host of gallery shows this month. Acquavella is presenting ‘Lucian Freud: Monumental’, curated by Freud’s longtime studio assistant David Dawson, and featuring portraits from the early 1990s to the last years of Freud’s life. David Zwirner hosts a survey of polyptych works by Joan Mitchell, and there is new work by Alex Katz at Gavin Brown’s Enterprise. Finally, at Hauser & Wirth, concurrent exhibitions devoted to the Italian artist Piero Manzoni look at two series of work from the 1950s and ’60s that influenced the development of conceptualism.
From the May 2019 issue of Apollo. Preview and subscribe here.
This article was corrected on 15 May 2019. A previous version stated that ‘Nari Ward: We the People’ at the New Museum was the artist’s first museum exhibition.