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Frieze week highlights: poetry on demand and Duchamp’s readymades

6 October 2021

With hundreds of exhibitions and events vying for your attention in London during Frieze week, Apollo’s editors pick out the shows they don’t want to miss

Almine Rech has teamed up with the John Giorno Foundation for an exhibition of paintings produced in the final years of the artist’s life, before his death in 2019 (12 October–13 November). With characteristic jubilance, the two series on view are entitled Rainbow and Perfect Flowers, and feature snippets of Giorno’s poetry on brightly coloured backgrounds. What I’m most looking forward to, though, is the launch in the UK of Dial-a-Poem, the hotline that Giorno set up in New York in 1968, which connected callers to an answering machine playing recordings of poems read aloud by the likes of Allen Ginsberg, Sylvia Plath and Patti Smith. Suspicious of its countercultural credentials, the FBI shut it down in 1970 but there have been various reboots over the years, usually in museums. To mark the exhibition at Almine Rech, callers will be able to access the original recordings from their phones anywhere in the UK (and there are no hidden charges!).

MARIGOLD TIGHT AS A CRAB’S ASS (2017), John Giorno.

MARIGOLD TIGHT AS A CRAB’S ASS (2017), John Giorno. Photo: Dan Bradica; courtesy Almine Rech; © John Giorno

That said, I’m going to be making the most of not having to phone everything in this autumn. For one thing I’m keen to check out the new gallery hub set up by Frieze itself, No.9 Cork Street, where among the inaugural shows is a display of work by Elisabeth Wild and her daughter Vivian Suter, organised by the Guatemala City-based gallery Proyectos Ultravioleta (8–23 October). Until Wild’s death last year at the age of 98, mother and daughter had since the mid 1990s lived and worked side by side in their home in the Guatemalan rainforest: now Wild’s intricate collages and Suter’s roughly painted canvases are reunited once more.

Meanwhile, a couple of roads over on Dover Street, Thaddaeus Ropac is putting together an exhibition dedicated to Marcel Duchamp (13 October–13 November). With more than 30 works, including a number of loans, the show makes the case for the centrality of fetishism to Duchamp’s thinking – hopefully reigniting the transgressive spirit of a now canonical artist.

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