Beyond the Fairs: London’s Must-See Exhibitions Featuring Black Artists


LONDON IS THE PLACE TO BE this week with the 1:54 Contemporary African Art Fair and Frieze London underway. The fourth edition of 1:54 is open Oct. 6-9 at Somerset House. According to the fair, 40 exhibitors are presenting more than 130 African and African diasporan artists, alongside a program of lectures, panel discussions, film screenings, artist encounters and book events. In the courtyard of the historic building, “Black and Blue: The Invisible Man and the Masque of Blackeness” (above), an amazing installation by British-born Zak Ove is on view.

There are a number of special projects of note being presented at 1:54: the first major solo show in the UK of Malian photograph Malick Sidibe (1936-2016), who died in April; “The Arab Spring Notebook” by Sudanese artist Ibrahim El-Salahi; and a special exhibition by Addis Photo Fest, which was established by Ethiopian photographer Aida Muluneh.

Also running Oct. 6-9, Frieze London features more than 160 galleries selling art by more than 1,000 artists, which the fair describes as the most exciting in the world, from the emerging to the iconic. A full schedule of programming is planned, including a Frieze Masters talk with Lynette Yiadom-Boakye and Gabriele Finaldi, director of the National Gallery in London.

Many U.S. galleries are exhibiting at Frieze. In a booth designed by architect David Adjaye, Salon 94 of New York is collaborating with Bernard de Grunne of Brussels presenting ancient miniature clay figures from Mali in dialogue with “Goddesses,” a series of voluptuous female forms made of clay in the 1970s by Judy Chicago. Sam Gilliam is among the artists David Kordansky is showing. Also look for work by Kerry James Marshall and Chris Ofili at David Zwirer, Mickalene Thomas at Lehmann Maupin, Adam Pendleton at Pace Gallery, Lorna Simpson at Salon 94, and Carrie Mae Weems at P.P.O.W., where feminist art is being presented.

Beyond the fairs, there are a number of exhibitions on view around London worth visiting to see more work by black artists. A selection follows, including Njideka Akunyili Crosby‘s first solo exhibition in Europe. CT


LYNETTE YIADOM-BOAKYE, “The Locks,” 2016 (oil on linen). | via Corvi Mora

“LYNETTE YIADOM-BOAKYE: Sorrow For A Cipher” @ Corvi Mora Gallery, London | Sept. 9-Oct. 8, 2016


This exhibition explores the life and work of Cuban artist WILFREDO LAM (1902-1982), whose “distinctive style shook the assumptions of western Modernism” and “continues to bring a historical perspective to contemporary issues.” Shown, WILFREDO LAM, “Horse-headed Woman,” 1950 (oil paint on canvas). | The Rudman Trust © SDO Estate of Wifredo Lam via Tate

“The EY Exhibition: WILFREDO LAM” @ Tate Modern, London | Sept. 14, 2016-Jan. 8, 2017


A group show featuring several gallery artists—Wangechi Mutu, Isaac Julien, and Kara Walker, among them—examining the social and political justice issues of their time. Shown, Installation view of CHRIS OFILI, “Union Black,” 2003 for “Protest” exhibition at Victoria Miro Gallery, London, 2016

“Protest” @ Victoria Miro Gallery, London | Sept. 23-Nov. 5, 2016


YINKA SHONIBARE MBE, “…and the wall fell away,” 2016, Installation in two parts: Dutch wax Batik patternhand painted directly on the wall and laser cut drawingin red and gold vinyl on the floor. | via Stephen Friedman Gallery

YINKA SHONIBARE MBE, “…and the wall fell away” @ Stephen Friedman Gallery, London | Sept. 28-Nov. 5, 2016


Njideka Akunyili Crosby %22Super Blue Omo,%22 2016 - Victoria Miro Gallery
For her first solo exhibition in Europe, NJIDEKA AKUNYILI CROSBY is presenting a new body of work, including “Super Blue Omo,” 2016 (acrylic, transfers, coloured pencils, collage on paper). | Collection of the Norton Museum of Art, West Palm Beach, Fla.; Image of courtesy the Artist and Victoria Miro, London. © Njideka Akunyili Crosby

“NJIDEKA AKUNYILI CROSBY: Portals” @ Victoria Miro Gallery, London | Oct. 4–Nov. 5, 2016


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