Frieze Masters Talks in Collaboration with dunhill

This year’s series includes artists Arlene Shechet, Sarah Lucas and Rachel Whiteread, curators Sheena Wagstaff and Valerie Cassel Oliver, and V&A East director Gus Casely-Hayford, onsite at dunhill x Frieze Masters Talks

in Frieze London & Frieze Masters , Frieze Masters | 18 SEP 23

Curated by Nicholas Cullinan, Director of the National Portrait Gallery, Frieze Masters Talks provides a platform for leading artists, writers, museum curators and directors to explore the connections between historical art and contemporary practice. 

This year’s programme has been curated in collaboration with dunhill, Official Partner of Frieze Masters Talks 2023.

The programme takes place at dunhill x Frieze Masters Talks at Frieze Masters 2023. Seats can be reserved online below. Spaces are limited. Please arrive promptly to secure your seat.

Full 2023 Programme

Thomas J Price and Dr. Gus Casely-Hayford OBE 

Wednesday 11 October, 3pm  

Left to right: Thomas J Price portrait, undated. Courtesy: the artist; Dr. Gus Casely-Hayford OBE portrait, undated. Courtesy: Suki Dhanda, Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Thomas J. Price has rapidly become one of the most important British contemporary artists of his generation, subverting stereotypical representations of figures we value in society and traditional power structures. Celebrated for his large-scale figurative sculptures, Price draws our attention to the psychological embodiment of his fictional characters, highlighting nuanced understandings of social signifiers and predetermined value. Amalgamated from multiple sources, the works are developed through a hybrid approach of traditional sculpting and intuitive digital technology. He encompasses historic constructs with a newness that at first glance can go unnoticed, but that live in the public realm as silent totems for change. 

Dr Gus Casely-Hayford is the inaugural Director of V&A East. He is a curator and cultural historian who writes, lectures and broadcasts widely, having presented series for Sky, BBC radio and television, and other channels. Formerly Executive Director of Arts Strategy, Arts Council England (Britain’s major arts funder) and Ex-Director of the Institute of International Contemporary Art, he has offered leadership to both large and medium scale organizations including the Smithsonian National Museum of African Art. In 2005 he deployed his leadership, curatorial, fundraising, communications skills to organize the biggest celebration of Africa Britain has ever hosted when more than 150 organizations put on over 1,000 exhibitions and events. 

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Arlene Shechet and Sheena Wagstaff 

Thursday 12 October, 12pm

Left to right: Arlene Schechet portrait, undated. Courtesy: the artist; Sheena Wagstaff portrait, undated. Courtesy: Eileen Travell, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

Arlene Shechet is a sculptor known for her combination of disparate elements, precarious arrangements and boundary-collapsing visual paradoxes. Her gravity-defying work seems to tilt, contort, bend and melt, and be in motion while still. Highly technical and yet intuitive, her work embraces improvisation and examines the humour and pathos of being alive and in a body. Shechet has changed the landscape of ceramics since she began working with clay in 2007, leading a resurgence of ceramic work in contemporary art through her experiments with glazes, hybrid forms and pedestals and by embracing risk, rejecting binaries, and leaning into the underlying tensions of not only form and material, but life itself.

Sheena Wagstaff was Chair of Modern and Contemporary Art at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York from 2012-22, now vested as Met’s Chair Emerita. Her leadership of The Met Breuer museum was lauded for the distinctively diverse exhibition programme she initiated. Wagstaff is renowned for her innovative concept of a trans-historic, trans-continental approach, establishing a wide cultural scope of acquisitions to enliven the context of the Met’s global collections spanning 4,000 years. Previously, Wagstaff was Chief Curator of Tate Modern where for 11 years she was responsible for devising the exhibition programme and Turbine Hall commissions. She has worked at curatorial leadership level in cultural organisations with strong civic values for 30 years, curating numerous exhibitions and writing/editing books throughout her career.

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Rachel Whiteread and Briony Fer

Thursday 12 October, 3pm

Left to right: Rachel Whiteread portrait, undated. Courtesy: the artist; Briony Fer portrait, undated. Courtesy: the artist

In Rachel Whiteread’s sculptures and drawings, everyday settings, objects, and surfaces are transformed into ghostly replicas that are eerily familiar. Through casting, she frees her subject matter—from beds, tables, and boxes to water towers and entire houses—from practical use, suggesting a new permanence, imbued with memory. The processes of looking, emptying, and filling run throughout her work, revealing how the surfaces of daily life can disappear and reappear, bearing the traces of previous lives.

Briony Fer is Professor of History of Art. In 1980 she joined the History of Art Department at the Open University as a Lecturer working on groundbreaking courses there and publishing essays in the Modernity and Modernism textbooks, published jointly by the Open University and Yale University Press in 1993. She joined University College in 1990 and was made a Reader in 1997 and Professor in 2005. She has published extensively on 20th-century and contemporary art. 

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Maggi Hambling, Sarah Lucas and Louisa Buck

Friday 13 October, 3pm  

Left to right: Maggi Hambling portrait, 2016. Courtesy the artist; Sarah Lucas portrait, 2020. Courtesy: © Sarah Lucas and Sadie Coles HQ, London; photograph: Julian Simmons; Louisa Buck portrait, undated. Courtesy: the artist 

Maggi Hambling is a contemporary British painter and sculptor. Hambling studied at the East Anglian School of Painting and Drawing, Camberwell and the Slade. In 1980 she was the first artist in residence at the National Gallery, London. Hambling’s work has been the subject of many solo exhibitions, including two solo exhibitions at The National Gallery, London, in 1981 and 2014, and at the National Portrait Gallery in 1983 and 2009. Other significant exhibitions include The Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, USA (1981), the Yorkshire Sculpture Park (1997), The Lowry, Salford (2009), Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool (2009), The Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge (2010), Winchester Cathedral (2013), The Hermitage, St. Petersburg (2013), Somerset House (2015), The British Museum, London (2016) The Jerwood Gallery (2018), CAFA Art Museum, Beijing (2019), Gainsborough’s House (2023), Museo Ettore Fico, Turin, Italy (2023). Hambling’s work is held in many important private and public collections including Tate, National Portrait Gallery, British Museum, CAFA, Beijing, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. 

Sarah Lucas is one of Britain’s most significant contemporary artists. Spanning sculpture, photography and installation, her work has consistently been characterized by irreverent humour and the use of everyday ‘readymade' objects – furniture, food, tabloid newspapers, tights, toilets, cigarettes – to conjure up corporeal fragments. The body, in its many guises, is Lucas’s prevailing subject. In the 1990s she placed herself at the heart of her work in a series of photographic self-portraits. These images’ disarming mixture of vulnerability and attitudinising set the double-edged tone of much of the artist’s subsequent work. 

Louisa Buck is a writer and broadcaster on contemporary art. She is a Contributing Editor and London Contemporary Art Correspondent for The Art Newspaper and a regular reviewer and commentator on BBC radio and TV. Her articles have appeared in publications ranging from the Guardian and Vogue to Frieze and Artforum, and her books include Moving Targets 2: A User’s Guide to British Art Now (2000); Market Matters: The Dynamics of the Contemporary Art Market (2004), Owning Art: The Contemporary Art Collector’s Handbook (with Judith Greer, 2006) and Commissioning Contemporary Art : A Handbook for Curators, Collectors and Artists (2012). Louisa was a judge for the 2005 Turner Prize and is a founding member of The Gallery Climate Coalition. 

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Mandy El-Sayegh, Valerie Cassel Oliver and Flavia Frigeri

Saturday 14 October, 3pm 

Left to right: Mandy El-Sayegh portrait, 2023. Photograph: Abtin Eshraghi; Valerie Cassel Oliver portrait, undated. Courtesy: the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts; photograph: Troy Wilkinson; Flavia Frigeri portrait, undated. Courtesy: Isabelle Young

Mandy El-Sayegh’s practice is rooted in assemblage. Executed in a wide range of media, including densely layered paintings, sculpture, installation, diagrams, as well as sound and video, El-Sayegh’s works investigate the formation and break-down of systems of order, be they bodily, linguistic or political. Drawing from a wide range of research and reference material, El-Sayegh incorporates pop cultural imagery, scientific diagrams, commercial packaging as well as objects from her personal archive, decontextualising the familiar to create new meanings. El-Sayegh characterises her works as being preoccupied with ‘part-to-whole’ relations and with the formation of subjectivity - how fragments can be unified to a coherent whole. El-Sayegh lives and works in London, where she received a BA in fine art from the University of Westminster in 2007, followed by an MA in painting from the Royal College of Art in 2009. Her first solo institutional show, the specially commissioned installation Cite Your Sources, was held at London's Chisenhale Gallery in 2019. Her work has also been shown internationally, and in 2022, her work was featured in the British Art Show, the largest touring exhibition of contemporary art in the UK, followed by her participation in the Biennale Matter of Art, Prague. She also took part in the performance festival MOVE 2022: Culture club - Corps collectifs at the Centre Pompidou, presenting her piece En Masse in collaboration with choreographer Alethia Antonia and composer Lily Oakes. Two works by the artist, Net-Grid (my dad knows nothing) (2020) and Floor (aka 'Figured Ground') (2020), were acquired by the Tate for their permanent collection in 2022 with funds provided by Simon Nixon and family. 

Valerie Cassel Oliver is the Sydney and Frances Lewis Family Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. Prior to her position at the VMFA, she was Senior Curator at the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston. Over the past two decades, Cassel Oliver has organized numerous exhibitions including the acclaimed ‘Double Consciousness: Black Conceptual Art Since 1970’ (2005); ‘Radical Presence: Black Performance in Contemporary Art’ (2012) and major survey exhibitions for Donald Moffett, Benjamin Patterson, Jennie C. Jones, Angel Otero and Annabeth Rosen. Her debut at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts was the critically acclaimed retrospective ‘Howardena Pindell: What Remains to be Seen’. Most recently, she opened the groundbreaking exhibition, ‘The Dirty South: Contemporary Art, Material Culture and the Sonic Impulse’ (2021) that toured nationally. 

Dr. Flavia Frigeri is an art historian, lecturer and ‘Chanel Curator for the Collection’ at the National Portrait Gallery, London. From 2016 to 2020 she was a Teaching Fellow in the History of Art Department UCL and a member of faculty at Sotheby’s Institute, London. Previously she was Curator, International Art at Tate Modern, where she co-curated ‘The World Goes Pop’ (2015), and was responsible for ‘Henri Matisse: The Cut-Outs’ (2014), ‘Paul Klee: Making Visible’ (2013) and ‘Ruins in Reverse’ (2013). She is the author of Pop Art and Women Artists both in Thames & Hudson’s Art Essentials series and the co-editor of a volume of collected essays, New Histories of Art in the Global Postwar Era: Multiple Modernisms (Routledge, 2021).

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National Portrait Gallery Talks, Friday 13 October

Tim Walker, Jerry Stafford, Gilbert & George

In addition to the talks hosted at Frieze Masters, the programme will extend to a special late night hosted by the National Portrait Gallery on Friday 13 October.


Dr Nicholas Cullinan in conversation with Tim Walker, and Jerry Stafford


Dr Nicholas Cullinan in conversation with Gilbert & George

Tickets for these talks can be purchased on the National Portrait Gallery website. This late-night programme will also be livestreamed by the National Portrait Gallery.



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