Frieze Editors on What to Look Forward to in 2024

From the postponed Lagos Biennial to the first career retrospective of architect I.M. Pei at M+ in Hong Kong, these are the top picks for the year ahead

BY Sean Burns, Andrew Durbin, Marko Gluhaich, Chloe Stead, Vanessa Peterson AND Lisa Yin Zhang in Opinion | 05 JAN 24

Sean Burns, Assistant Editor

I am anticipating a few exhibitions in 2024. Tate Modern will host a retrospective spanning seven decades of Yoko Ono’s art and activism in February. Glasgow International, opening in June, is always a highlight and will be the first under Richard Birkett’s leadership. In July, painter Peter Davies will curate a group show titled ‘On Feeling’ at The Approach in London; although the details of the show are yet to be released, Davies is a great supporter of young artists in London and has a keen eye.

Yoko Ono, Half-A-Room, from Half
Yoko Ono, Half-A-Room, 1967. Courtesy: the artist and Lisson Gallery, London; photograph: Clay Perry 

Then, in September, Jack O’Brien’s first UK institutional show will be held at Camden Art Centre, following his win of the Emerging Arts Prize at Frieze London in 2023. In Dublin, the Irish Museum of Modern Art will present a survey of Hamad Butt’s work, marking the first exhibition of his art outside of the UK. Butt, who passed away in 1994, has recently received renewed attention as artists and academics continue to reflect on and respond to the work of practitioners lost to HIV/AIDS during the 1980s and ’90s.

Andrew Durbin, Editor-in-Chief

Though next year will see the return of many major international exhibitions – including the Gwangju Biennale, Manifesta and the Venice Biennale – I’m most excited about Prospect New Orleans, which will open its sixth edition in November. As with previous iterations, we can expect artists from the American South – and further afield – to engage with the unique history and landscape of the city, from its great institutions to its lively streets. Besides the Yoko Ono retrospective at Tate Modern, there is another monographic exhibition here in Europe that I am glad to have a second opportunity to catch: Mike Kelley’s ‘Ghost and Spirit’, which will make its way to K21 in Düsseldorf in March, following the show’s opening at the Bourse de Commerce, Paris, last autumn.

Mike Kelley, Kandors Full Set (detail), 2005-2009
Mike Kelley, Kandors Full Set, detail, 2005–09, stained urethane resin, hand-coloured Pyrex glass, silicone rubber, MDF, wood veneer, Plexiglas, tempered glass and lighting. Courtesy: © Mike Kelley Foundation for the Arts and Pinault Collection; photograph: Fredrik Nilsen

Finally, I’m also looking forward to Primary Information’s publication of Paul Thek’s letters to Peter Hujar – a 14-year correspondence of which only Thek’s half survives. I’ve read the letters; they are a beautiful – and sometimes heartbreaking – document of a friendship that evolved into a famous love affair before eventually dissolving into something much more acrimonious.

Chloe Stead, Assistant Editor

As a wannabe film nerd, I attempt to watch all the films nominated each year for above-the-line categories at the Oscars. This year, I will make a head start by watching a few predicted nominees, such as Jonathan Glazer’s The Zone of Interest (2023), concerning the homelife of Auschwitz commandant Rudolf Höss, and Andrew Haigh’s All of Us Strangers (2023), an intriguing fantasy romance starring Andrew Scott and Paul Mescal.

Andrew Scott and Paul Mescal in ALL OF US STRANGERS. Photo by Parisa Taghizadeh, Courtesy of Searchlight Pictures. © 2023 Searchlight Pictures All Rights Reserved.
Andrew Haigh, All of Us Strangers, film still, 2023. Courtesy: Searchlight Pictures; photograph: Parisa Taghizadeh

In terms of art, I’m most looking forward to the Venice Biennale, which will celebrate its 60th edition this spring. Curated by Adriano Pedrosa, the biennial’s theme, ‘Foreigners Everywhere’, raised a few eyebrows when it was announced last summer but, even if it turns out to be a flop, there are so many great artists representing the national pavilions – from John Akomfrah and Jeffrey Gibson to Gülsün Karamustafa and Yuko Mohri – that there will surely be plenty of stand-out moments. 

Marko Gluhaich, Associate Editor

I’m eagerly awaiting the US releases of three films (all 2023) by directors whose work I’ve grown to admire over the years. Wang Bing’s expert documentaries serve as epic, meditative depictions of labour conditions and social issues across China, and his newest, Youth (Spring), promises to be no exception. Likewise, Bruno Dumont’s films are always something I look forward to: from earlier works, such as the expansive murder mystery P’tit Quinquin (2014), to his upcoming sci-fi epic, The Empire. Lastly, Ryusuke Hamaguchi’s Drive My Car (2021), a strange retelling of Anton Chekhov’s Uncle Vanya (1897), was one of my favourite discoveries last year, so his latest town-and-country drama, Evil Does Not Exist, which won the Grand Jury Prize at Venice Film Festival, is high on my watch list for 2024.

Evil Does Not Exist, 2023
Ryusuke Hamaguchi, Evil Does Not Exist, 2023, film still. Courtesy: NEOPA Fictive

Vanessa Peterson, Associate Editor

I’m looking forward to the continued rise of great UK-based independent publishers, such as Prototype, which supports both emerging and established writers via development programmes and prizes, and in-house favourite Fitzcarraldo Editions, which will perhaps see a fifth Nobel Prize for Literature this year following two consecutive wins with Annie Ernaux (2022) and Jon Fosse (2023). I’m also a huge fan of MACK’s 2024 release catalogue, including Teju Cole’s Pharmakon, a photobook combining short stories and images taken on his international travels; and a new anthology focusing on Black women photographers in Britain, edited by artist Joy Gregory, winner of the 2023 Freelands Award.

Shining Lights, MACK Books, 2024
Shining Lights: Black Women Photographers in 1980s–90s Britain, 2024, double page spread. Courtesy: MACK Books

There is an abundance of biennials and exhibitions on the African continent this year, such as the postponed Lagos Biennial in February, featuring ‘Traces of Ecstasy’ curated by KJ Abudu, as well as another edition of Dak’Art in Senegal in May. Closer to home, I’m looking forward to seeing Lap-See Lam’s ‘Tales of the Altersea’ at Studio Voltaire, London: a continuation of a body of work shown last year at Portikus, Frankfurt, and the Swiss Institute, New York. Other highlights include Dora Budor at Nottingham Contemporary this month, Alvaro Barrington’s Tate Britain commission, which opens in May, and Glenn Ligon at The Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge this autumn.

Lisa Yin Zhang, Assistant Editor

Two very different shows are taking place this year on the sprawling campus of M+ in Hong Kong. The first, ‘Life Is Architecture’, is a retrospective honouring late Chinese-American architect I.M. Pei, most recognized for designing the glass pyramid entrance to the Louvre in Paris. Long overdue, the exhibition will trace the arc of his work in structures as wide-ranging as his urban redevelopment plan for Oklahoma City to Fragrant Hill Hotel in Beijing, where he eschewed his signature use of glass and steel for an aesthetic reminiscent of the imperial garden that formerly occupied the site. The second exhibition, in September, will present the designs of Guo Pei, the couturier behind Rihanna’s infamous yellow-caped Met Gala look in 2015.

I. M. Pei at the Louvre’s Pyramid. Courtesy: Getty Images; photograph: Bernard Bisson
I. M. Pei at the Louvre. Courtesy: Getty Images; photograph: Bernard Bisson

In February, Nightboat Books will publish The Beauty of Light: Interviews with Etel Adnan. I love the playful shapes and wonky edges of the late artist’s gloaming paintings – a sensibility illuminated by these interviews. In an extract published by The Paris Review, for instance, we learn that the first poem she ever wrote, when she was just 20 years old, was ‘about the marriage of the sun and the sea’. Her speech often reads like snippets of poetry: ‘Colour is an affirmation of presence,’ she tells interviewer Laure Adler, ‘so strong that it’s almost alive, almost human.’

Main image: I. M. Pei's Museum of Islamic Art, Doha. Courtesy: Getty Image; photography: Alex Pantling

Sean Burns is an artist, writer and assistant editor of frieze based in London, UK. His book Death (2023) is out now from Tate Publishing.

Andrew Durbin is the editor-in-chief of frieze. His book The Wonderful World That Almost Was is forthcoming from FSG in 2025.

Marko Gluhaich is associate editor of frieze. He lives in New York, USA.

Chloe Stead is assistant editor of frieze. She lives in Berlin, Germany. 

Vanessa Peterson is associate editor of frieze. She lives in London, UK. 

Lisa Yin Zhang is assistant editor at frieze.