AnOther columnist Alayo Akinkugbe shares the exhibitions and Frieze booths on the radar of Black Gazes
Art historian, curator and writer Alayo Akinkugbe is behind the popular Instagram page A Black History of Art, which highlights overlooked Black artists, sitters, curators and thinkers, past and present. In a new column for titled Black Gazes, Akinkugbe examines a spectrum of Black perspectives from across artistic disciplines and throughout art history, asking: how do Black artists see and respond to the world around them?
It’s art week in London and the city is brimming with solo exhibitions and satellite art fairs, to coincide with Frieze Masters and Frieze London. From Danielle Mckinney’s paintings of Black women at ease, revelling in their solitude, to Amber Pinkerton’s debut exhibition of film and photography, these are the exhibitions and Frieze booths on the radar of Black Gazes.
Grandma’s Land, Alvaro Barrington at Sadie Coles HQ
Alvaro Barrington’s exhibition, Grandma’s Land at Sadie Coles HQ is an ode to the Caribbean and the artist’s early memories of growing up in Grenada. The exhibition includes works made for this year’s Notting Hill Carnival, and others that draw on Caribbean traditions. They range from vivid large-scale paintings on corrugated steel with reclaimed wood frames, to steel drums overlaid with Bottega Veneta’s signature intrecciato leather. Also included in the exhibition are works by artists Sonia Gomes and Paul Anthony Smith and a film by Akinola Davies Jr which centres on Notting Hill Carnival.
Self Dialogues: Hard Food, Amber Pinkerton at Alice Black
Photographer and moving image artist Amber Pinkerton’s long-anticipated debut solo exhibition, Self Dialogues: Hard Food, is on view at Alice Black gallery. The first in an ongoing series, ‘Hard Food’ centres on a six-channel super-8 and 16mm film, which explores the artist’s personal experiences of migration, isolation, contradiction, and belonging, like a series of thoughts running through her mind. Accompanying the film are photographic stills and self-portraits – on the bubblegum-pink walls of the gallery – which show Pinkerton exploring her own movements.
Tripping Over My Joy, Christina Quarles at Pilar Corrias
Pilar Corrias Gallery inaugurates its 5,000-square-foot gallery with LA-based artist, Christina Quarles’ solo exhibition Tripping Over My Joy. Seven of Quarles’ large-scale canvases which portray distorted, stretched-out bodies in fragmented settings are displayed on pale lilac walls, while nine works on paper line the gallery’s basement. Quarles’ patterns and digital-like application of layers of acrylic paint are mesmerising to view up-close.
Simeon Barclay: At Home, Everywhere And Nowhere at Workplace Gallery
Across Workplace and Gathering galleries is Simeon Barclay’s solo exhibition of large-scale sculpture, installations and paintings. A series of acrylic paintings, which feature the nonchalant faces of models in Hedi Slimane’s Celine Autumn/Winter 2023 campaign – is on view at both galleries. At Workplace the artist presents a film installation that fills the gallery space with strobe lighting, alongside translucent bins and neon text, and at Gathering he presents sculptural installations, including the enormous inflatable of the artist wearing a Donald Duck costume, which refers to a 1980 performance by Elton John in New York City.
Jaylon Israel Hicks
At Maximillian William, Minneapolis-based conceptual artist, Jaylon Israel Hicks, presents his installation The Universe is Coming to Town: USA Playhouse (Castle of Peace). Taking the form of an abandoned playhouse, emblazoned with stars and stripes motifs, from the US flag, the eerie installation subverts the joys of childhood which are associated with a playhouse, and addresses the complexities of Hicks’ national identity.
At Frieze London, Marianne Boesky presents a booth of new oil paintings and watercolours by Danielle Mckinney. Black women protagonists at leisure: smoking, reading, reclining, and contemplating, take centre stage for Mckinney’s first solo presentation of her work in the UK.
Also to look out for is Pippy Houldsworth’s booth, which presents works by Wangari Mathenge, Nengi Omuku, Shaqúelle Whyte and Qualeasha Wood among others, and Hauser and Wirth’s solo booth of sculptures by legendary American artist, Barbara Chase Riboud.