BY Sean Burns in Opinion | 26 MAY 23

Editor’s Picks: Isabel Waidner’s Hotly Anticipated New Novel

Other highlights include a collection of poetry and ephemera by US writer John Wieners and a beautiful monograph of the Scottish painter Carole Gibbons

BY Sean Burns in Opinion | 26 MAY 23

Frieze Editor’s Picks is a fortnightly column in which a frieze editor shares their recommendations for what to watch, read and listen to.

Aside from revisiting Tina Turner’s back catalogue – including the Mark Robinson-directed music video for ‘What’s Love Got to Do with It’ (1984) – my suggestions this month are primarily new books.

Isabel Waidner
Isabel Waidner, Corey Fah Does Social Mobility, 2023. Courtesy: Penguin Books

First up is Isabel Waidner’s hotly anticipated follow-up to the stunning Sterling Karat Gold (2021), Corey Fah Does Social Mobility (2023), released on 13 July. Waidner’s original prose spins fantastical imagery with social commentary. The book follows the massive success of their previous novel, which won the Goldsmiths Prize in 2021, and follows a similarly fast-paced and emphatic tact. (Note: Linda Stupart’s collaged cover featuring Bambi.)

John Wieners
John Wieners: Solitary Pleasure, 2023. Courtesy: Pilot Press

Next is a new release from the ever-consistent Pilot Press, a London-based publishing project by artist Richard Porter. John Wieners: Solitary Pleasure (2023) seeks to reappraise a somewhat forgotten figure in 20th-century queer poetry: Wieners, a gay rights/anti-war activist and member of the 1950s San Francisco Renaissance, produced writing thematically ahead of its time. The book contains an introduction by academic Nat Raha and reproduces poetry and ephemera from Wieners’s oeuvre, including a curious recipe for an ‘Orgasm Tonic’ (Fuck You, 1965) that I might attempt at the weekend.

Carole Gibbons in her St. Vincent Crescent studio, Glasgow, c.1994
Carole Gibbons in her St. Vincent Crescent studio, Glasgow, c.1994. Courtesy: the artist and 5b

Finally, Glasgow-based publisher 5b has realized a beautiful monograph of the Scottish painter Carole Gibbons, an artist of whom Alasdair Gray said: ‘No collection, no show of modern Scottish art is complete without.’ It’s a fantastic achievement for a small imprint, with the launch taking place in Glasgow at 20 Albert Road on 29 June, and an exhibition of Gibbons’s works on view until 2 July.

Martin Wong, Big Heat, 1986. Courtesy: Martin Wong Foundation and P·P·O·W, New York

In terms of art, I recommend Martin Wong’s posthumous (and brilliantly titled) retrospective, ‘Malicious Mischief’, at London’s Camden Art Centre, which has travelled from KW Institute for Contemporary Art, Berlin, and opens on 15 June. I’m also intrigued to see what Jaime Welsh has – literally – in store for Ginny on Frederick, London, when his show opens on 3 June.

Main image: Carole Gibbons, Mary Queen of Scots (detail), 1966, tempera on canvas, 1.4 x 1.4 m. Courtesy: the artist and 5b

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.