BY Tony Cokes in Frieze | 08 JUN 22

Frieze DJ in Residence: Tony Cokes

The artist selects tracks from his past, present and future works

BY Tony Cokes in Frieze | 08 JUN 22

For your listening (and dancing) pleasure: a playlist curated for issue 228 of frieze magazine by artist Tony Cokes, featuring music he has used in past projects, selections from works currently in the pipeline and tracks he is keeping in mind for the future.

Music plays an integral role in Cokes’s work: his videos, which usually feature lines of text set against a colourful background, are often accompanied by music as diverse as the work of Britney Spears and obscure tracks sourced on Bandcamp. Cokes is a former DJ, and the plastic, mouldable use of music that DJing requires seeps through in the way that he plays with sound in his art. Music not only acts as a background to his images, it is also used to intentionally inform the viewer’s reading of his work; music creates a counterpoint, interrogating the images – it dances with the text.  

In a profile of Cokes included in the latest issue of frieze magazine, writer Shiv Kotecha spotlights the artist’s use of music, and remarks that ‘[Cokes] showed me a way to watch his videos I had not considered before: by dancing to them.’ Art is often thought of as a domain characterised by the cerebral, the interior – physical movement is rarely considered as a method of engaging with artworks. Considering the weight of Cokes’s subject matter – anti-Blackness, US imperialism – Kotecha asks the question: Can you still dance to it? It is this question that frieze now opens to the (dance)floor.


Tony Cokes is an artist. His latest show, ‘Tony Cokes. Fragments, or just Moments’ is on view at Haus der Kunst, Munich and Kunstverein München until 23 October.