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Various locations, London
October 12, 2018
Just as Frieze Art Fair opened last Wednesday, Prime Minister Theresa May gave her keynote speech—and dared to dance again—at the Conservative Party Conference in Birmingham. She announced that freedom of movement would be terminated “once and for all” by limiting access to “highly skilled workers” (in short, migrants earning over 30,000 British pounds per year). Countless art professionals earn much less (including entry-level curatorial staff at Tate, and yours truly), as well as doubtless many of the myriad gallery and museum folks involved in the city-wide jamboree of Frieze week. How do we imagine London’s contemporary art ecology post-Brexit, a scene that has grown exponentially since Tate Modern’s opening in 2000 and the first Frieze Art Fair in 2003? The question of how the 2019 edition of the fair is going to be affected was the elephant in the tent. Most people I asked shrugged: negotiations are still ongoing, consequences are yet to be seen. “It’ll be fiiiiine,” a London museum director told me. “Maybe we’ll visit a smaller fair, like the first editions—remember those days?” opined a British gallerist friend working in New York. Although one could put this upbeat denial down to the cliché of dark British humor and the spirit of “muddling through,” I nevertheless left worried that something more troubling lay behind it.
If Frieze might have triggered the relocation of many contemporary art galleries from the East to the West of the city, two recent institutional openings are enforcing a southern axis. The new Goldsmiths Centre for Contemporary Art in New Cross, housed in a listed Victorian bathhouse refurbished by 2015 Turner Prize winners Assemble, kicked off with a sparkling survey show of Mika Rottenberg’s absurdist film installations offering grotesque parodies of current labor conditions. The second home of the South London Gallery at Peckham Road Fire Station, elegantly renovated by 6a architects, opened with “Knock Knock,” a group show about the uses of humor—from political satire to visual puns—in contemporary art. The addition of these spaces will surely benefit Gasworks, a short bus ride away in nearby Vauxhall, whose truly international program of residencies and exhibitions over the last two decades has been a vital antidote to the dangers of isolationism in the British art scene.
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Text originally published in Art-agenda on October 12, 2018.
Lucy Dodd at Sprüth Magers, London.
Façade of the new Goldsmiths Centre for Contemporary Art in New Cross.
Detail of Mika Rottenberg's show at Goldsmiths Centre for Contemporary Art in New Cross.
Part of Tania Bruguera’s 2018 Hyundai Commission at Tate Modern.
Visitor's comments on the Turner Prize 2018 board.
Installation from Atelier E.B's show at the Serpentine Sackler Galleries, London.
Detail from Cayetano Ferrer's solo exhibition “Demaster” at Southard Reid, London.
Martine Syms at Sadie Coles HQ, London.
Judith Kopf's "Flock of Sheep" (2017) at the South London Gallery.Cornelia Parker Transitional "Object" (PsychoBarn) at the Royal Academy. Johanna Unzueta at Proyectos Ultravioleta, Focus section, Frieze Art Fair. (Above + below) Sam Lewitt, "Core (the "Work")", BMW Open Work commission, Frieze Art Fair. Ian Law at RODEO, Frieze Art Fair.(Above and below) Oscar Humphries' "Sèvres and Japonism" at Frieze Masters, London.
(Above and below) Chris Burden at Gagosian, London. Lawrence Abu Hamdan at Chisenhale, London.
Daniel Silver at Frith Street Gallery, London.
Kemang Wa Lahulere at Marian Goodman Gallery, London. Alicja Kwade's work in the "Space Shifters" exhibition, Hayward Gallery, London. (Above and below) Elmgreen and Dragset, "This is how we bite our tongue", Whitechapel, London.
Amy Sillman at Camden Art Center, London.
- Writing archive on Latitudes' website;
- art-agenda review of Jennifer Allora & Guillermo Calzadilla exhibition at the Fundació Antoni Tàpies, by Mariana Cánepa Luna, 12 October 2018.
- art-agenda review of Ana Jotta's exhibition at ProjecteSD, Barcelona, by Mariana Cánepa Luna 11 November 2016.
- art-agenda review of Francesc Ruiz exhibition at garcía galería, Madrid, by Mariana Cánepa Luna, 4 March 2016.
- art-agenda review of Andrea Büttner exhibition at NoguerasBlanchard, Barcelona, by Latitudes, 21 July 2014.