Issue 243
May 2024

‘I wanted to pile meaning into all those layers  Joan Jonas

In the May issue of frieze, writer Lynne Tillman speaks to artist Joan Jonas as she prepares for her current show at MoMA. Plus, Thomas J. Lax, Rodney McMillian and Zoé Whitley pen a survey on the iconic exhibitions at Studio Museum in Harlem and the projects that shaped them.

Conversation: Lynne Tillman and Joan Jonas

‘I really saw all the forms coming together: writing, drawing, performing, music. For me, it was about different aspects uniting and informing each other in my work.’ The artist speaks to Lynne Tillman about rituals, fairy tales and the interdisciplinarity which underlines her practice. 

Survey: Studio Museum

‘The Black radical tradition taught us that the only way out is through.’ As the museum prepares to open its new building on 125th Street, writers and curators reflect on its essential role as a site of connection, exchange and debate for Black artists.

Also featuring 

Hettie Judah meets with artist Ghislaine Leung to discuss motherhood and the labour conditions around art making; Brian Dillon retraces photographer Robert Frank’s prolific career in honour of his upcoming centenary; and Gary Zhexi Zhang documents Ali Sultan Issa’s socialist Zanzibar.

Columns: Behind the Scenes   

Ellen Mara de Wachter outlines the significance of absence in Kobby Adi’s practice, Carlos Valladares assesses the contentious depiction of 1960s Harlem in Shirley Clarke’s The Cool World (1968); Theodora Skipitares speaks to Franklin Melendez about the critical legacy of puppetry; Isabel Parkes pens a guide to staging a performance piece and Alastair Curtis delves into the elusive queer theatre archive to ask how it might be revived.

Finally, in honour of Donald Rodney’s upcoming exhibition at Spike Island, Eddie Chambers responds to the artist’s 1992 work Doublethink. Plus, Lynne Tillman contributes to our series of artists’ ‘to-do’ lists.

From this issue

The elusive artist’s subtle works prompt viewers to question their ways of looking

BY Ellen Mara De Wachter |

The director’s 1963 film, ‘The Cool World’, is a unique misstep in her lauded career

BY Carlos Valladares |

Thomas J. Lax, Rodney McMillian and Zoé Whitley reflect on the exhibitions and projects that shaped the iconic institution

How a filmmaker’s research into historic Afro-Asian solidarities led him to Zanzibar in search of a little-known political icon

BY Gary Zhexi Zhang |

On the occasion of the artist’s exhibition at Spike Island, his former collaborator dissects the 1992 sculptural installation

BY Eddie Chambers |

Does our understanding of pre-Stonewall theatre rely on the memories of vanishing people?

BY Alastair Curtis |

The intimate and resolute character of an artist who leaves no trace

BY Hettie Judah |

The master performer reconsiders the critical legacy of the form by pulling a few strings

What are the questions that you should ask yourself and your curator before sharing your artwork?

BY Isabel Parkes |

On the 100th anniversary of the birth of influential photographer, we revisit his landmark photo book, ‘The Americans’

BY Brian Dillon |

Lynne Tillman meets with her long-time friend to discuss fairytales and the artist’s beautifully layered works

BY Joan Jonas AND Lynne Tillman |

Her pseudo-sacred sculptures at Lisson Gallery create a bricolage of Christo-medieval relics, high fashion and doomsday aesthetics

BY Macaella Gray |

At the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, the late artist’s conceptual practice exists in the polarity between obsessive documentation and rigorous anti-interpretation

BY Sarah Lehrer-Graiwer |

The 2024 edition faces the challenges of past iterations while overcoming their many pitfalls with an impressive and beautiful showcase

BY Terence Trouillot |

An exceptional retrospective at WIELS, Brussels, showcases how the late artist meticulously documented his life’s journey by carefully observing his surroundings

Despite a lackluster inaugural exhibition, Hampi Art Labs shows promise as a revitalizing institution in the region

BY Rahel Aima |

At Zurich’s Haus Konstruktiv, the artist reanimates a past work to make sense of Germany’s present

BY Ela Bittencourt |

The artist’s new installation at SculptureCenter is a strained metaphor for colonization, gender binaries and time itself

BY Travis Diehl |

A concise and subtle exhibition of drawings and gouaches at FLAG Art Foundation, New York, offers a melancholic meditation on beauty, glamour and artifice

BY Christopher Alessandrini |

At Alberta Pane Gallery in Paris, Regina José Galindo and Iva Lulashi take different approaches to articulating the experience of women in society

BY Wilson Tarbox |

A group exhibition at Tai Kwun Contemporary in Hong Kong argues for feminist-ecological consciousness as a mode of resisting colonial oppression

BY Ysabelle Cheung |

Across five installations at Ateneo Art Gallery in Manila, the artist inflects national history with personal history

BY Carlos Quijon, Jr. |

At Selma Feriani, Tunis, the artist uses the ruins of the ancient city of Carthage to find connections between the past and the present

BY Chloe Stead |

In his survey show at Oslo’s Astrup Fearnley Museet, the late painter depicts the vast swaths of machines and technical systems that underpin everyday life

BY Nicholas Norton |

Inspired by a theory of the mind, ‘EGOSTATE’ brings together two artists who mirror each other in their dislocation

BY Zoe Cooper |

In her exhibition at Travesía Cuatro in Mexico City, the passion of Christ becomes a parable for the antihuman politics of the global gig economy

BY Anna Goetz |

At Martina Simeti, Milan, the artist’s free-form paintings speak to the musical and artistic traditions of Black communities

BY Saim Demircan |

At Ingleby Gallery in Edinburgh, the artist draws inspiration from his Orkney heritage to create a unique style of painting with a whimsical touch

BY Lou Selfridge |

An exhibition at London’s Frith Street Gallery showcases delicate graphite, wax and pastel dust drawings that attempt to capture a moment in time for reflection or reliving

BY Salena Barry |

At McMichael Canadian Art Collection, the artist revisits landscape painter Tom Thomson’s Canoe Lake as it’s threatened by floods and forest fires

BY Brandon Kaufman |

The artist’s exhibition at Greene Naftali, New York, recasts Icarus within a modern-day exploration of Black emancipation and freedom

BY Zoë Hopkins |

An exhibition in London features intricate drawings that blend daily life with traditional animism and shape-shifting beings

BY Nevan Spier |