What to See in London this July

From Thomas J Price’s Windrush Commission in Hackney to Alex Margo Arden’s bizarre ‘not closing down sale’ in Clerkenwell

BY frieze in Critic's Guides , Exhibition Reviews , UK Reviews | 01 JUL 22

Alex Margo Arden 

Ginny on Frederick, London 

28 May – 10 July 

Alex Margo Arden
Alex Margo Arden, ‘All Clear’, 2022, installation view. Courtesy: the artist and Ginny on Frederick, London

Alex Margo Arden’s solo show ‘All Clear’ waggishly delights in a disorientating restaging of history. On the windows of Ginny on Frederick, a former shop unit, the artist has hung a series of large signs that announce, in red and black font, a ‘not closing down sale’. The works, which initially appear mechanically printed, are, in fact, painstakingly hand-rendered in soft pastel: Arden has duped us. The signs draw on the sarcastic marketing strategy employed at a store in Farringdon ten years ago, when preliminary construction work on London’s new Elizabeth line threatened local businesses. By the time the railway eventually opened in May, the original store had long since closed. – Donna Marcus Duke 

Amie Siegel 

Thomas Dane, London 

27 April – 23 July 

Amie Siegel
Amie Siegel, Bloodlines, 2022, 4K colour video, sound, exhibition view. Courtesy: © Amie Siegel, Thomas Dane Gallery, London; photograph: Richard Ivey

In more than two decades of filmmaking, Siegel has documented the circulation of modernist furniture (Provenance, 2013); the afterlives of an Italian villa (Genealogies, 2016); and the cleaning of Sigmund Freud’s antiquities (Fetish, 2016). Her most recent installation, Bloodlines (2022), continues this filmography with a different cast of things. Commissioned by the National Galleries of Scotland, Bloodlines takes as its ostensible subject an exhibition of paintings by the 18th-century portraitist and equine artist, George Stubbs. – John Menick 

Thomas J Price

Hackney Windrush Commission, London 

22 June – ongoing 

Installation view, ‘Warm Shores’, 2022 Hackney, London, UK Photo: Damian Griffiths
Thomas J Price, ‘Warm Shores’, 2022, installation view, Hackney, London. Courtesy: the artist; photograph: Damian Griffiths

I want people to meet themselves in these sculptures. So, from the beginning, I said I wanted to meet with residents in Hackney who are connected with the Windrush Generation, to talk to them, to gather photographs, to create 3D scans of them – to connect with them and their experiences. The access to this history is really pivotal to this project. I’ve also been looking at local archives, like the RA Gibson Collection which this photograph is from. Gibson ran a photography studio on Lower Clapton Road for decades, beginning in the 1950s. His pictures are a record of transformation. – Thomas J Price 

‘Sun & Sea’ 

The Albany, London

23 June – 10 July 

Rugile Barzdziukaite, Vaiva Grainyte, Lina Lapelyte, Sun & Sea (Marina), 2019, opera-performance view, Biennale Arte 2019, Venice. Photograph: © Andrej Vasilenko

The initial effect of Sun & Sea (Marina) (2019) – produced by director Rugilė Barzdžiukaitė, librettist Vaiva Grainytė and composer Lina Lapelytė, and curated by Lucia Pietroiusti – lies somewhere between Big Brother and operetta. But as the composition drifts on, it begins to contend with one of climate change’s key questions: how can we build an ecological consciousness? ‘It’s not an activist work,’ Pietroiusti tells me. ‘It’s a political work that asks something fundamental about the possibility of conceiving something so vast.’ – En Liang Khong

‘Black Chapel’ 

Serpentine Galleries, London 

10 June – 16 October 

Serpentine Pavilion 2022 designed by Theaster Gates © Theaster Gates Studio. Photo: Iwan Baan. Courtesy: Serpentine.
Theaster Gates, ‘Black Chapel’, 2022, Serpentine Pavilion. Courtesy: the artist and Serpentine; photograph: Iwan Baan

A sense of magnitude invariably dominates discussions of Theaster Gates’s practice. Over the past 15 years, the Chicago-based artist has created a body of work that exists within ever-widening parameters. Gates makes paintings, sculptures, installations and films, though is perhaps most recognized for his purchase of abandoned buildings in Chicago’s South Side, which he restores as spaces for community use. These social projects are cultivated through the artist’s non-profit Rebuild Foundation, launched in 2009. – Allie Biswas 

Main image: Photograph from Hackney People's Press, 1973–85. Image copyright Hackney Archives

Contemporary Art and Culture