Issue 209
March 2020

The March issue of frieze looks at art in an age of crisis. How can cultural institutions acknowledge their complicity in growing social and environmental inequalities? How are artists responding to increasingly precarious socioeconomic conditions? We lead with a special section on museum patronage, with contributions from performance artist Andrea Fraser, curator Michelle Millar Fisher, climate activist Mel Evans, curator and editor Priya Khanchandani, novelist and political commentator Ahdaf Soueif, and curator and former Queens Museum director Laura Raicovich. Plus, novelist Hermione Hoby reflects on Lynda Benglis’s exuberant and iconoclastic career. And answering our questionnaire is Amsterdam-based curator, creative advisor and board member Beatrix Ruf. Plus, 36 reviews from around the world, including the second Lagos Biennial and the sixth Singapore Biennale.

From this issue

State of the Art

The art world is not the world, but what the world needs, artists need, too

BY Evan Moffitt | 28 MAR 20

Neutrality is a veil for wielding power: this is the status quo that requires resistance

BY Laura Raicovich | 27 MAR 20

The psychoanalyst Karen Horney argued that neurosis killed productive artistic practice

BY Rob Sharp | 23 MAR 20

One year into the authoritarian president’s term, Brazilian artists are pushing back against state violence and censorship by summoning the spirit of the ‘sertão’

BY Silas Martí | 23 MAR 20

Former British Museum trustee Ahdaf Soueif asks: who our museums for?

BY ​Ahdaf Soueif | 20 MAR 20

Q. What should stay the same? A. Curiosity, generosity, care.

BY Beatrix Ruf | 17 MAR 20

Hardline, right-wing policies restrict entry to the country to ‘the great minds’

BY Skye Arundhati Thomas | 17 MAR 20

Five months after its abrupt closure, the LA museum shows no sign of reopening. Where does that leave the growing movement of art worker unionization?

BY Dana Kopel | 13 MAR 20

The first entirely state-funded art museum on the continent is also a relic of a turbulent political and economic history

BY Rebecca Anne Proctor | 10 MAR 20

Addressing inclusivity isn’t just about the workplace – it’s about a richer arts scene that is properly reflective of society

BY Priya Khanchandani | 06 MAR 20

In a pastoral Welsh landscape where poets once gathered, the Royal Air Force now trains pilots in warfare

BY David Birkin | 03 MAR 20

Shuttered in the city’s crackdown on independent initiatives, the artist-run space provided a model for low-budget, experimental art making

BY Carol Yinghua Lu | 03 MAR 20

Michelle Millar Fisher and Andrea Fraser discuss how to radically reshape the power structures of museums today

BY ​Andrea Fraser | 26 FEB 20

The translator of the Nobel Literature Prize winner on jet lag, death threats and insomnia in Poland

BY Jennifer Croft | 26 FEB 20

As major exhibitions at Nasher Sculpture Center, National Gallery of Art and the Museum of Cycladic Art honour the iconoclastic sculptor, novelist Hermione Hoby reflects on her six-decade career

BY Hermione Hoby | 26 FEB 20

From school strikers at the Royal Shakespeare Company to a Trojan horse at the British Museum, protests over oil sponsorship have gripped the arts

BY Mel Evans | 11 FEB 20

From the first steps of the internet to vibrant raves, ‘Time Is Thirsty’ at Kunsthalle Wien aspires to create a ‘temporal mash up’

BY Kimberly Bradley | 30 JAN 20

At Fort Gansevoort, New York, a 30-year survey of the artist’s work articulates a political and ethical accountability to the land

BY Lou Cornum | 29 JAN 20

A recent exhibition at Carlos/Ishikawa, London, conjured an experience of being controlled within a carceral capitalist state

BY Matthew McLean | 28 JAN 20

A major retrospective at Dresden’s Albertinum sheds new light on the artist’s relationship with his hometown

BY Sarah E. James | 23 JAN 20

The artist’s show at Tramps, New York, asks if we’re too eager for young artists to self-destruct

BY Diana Hamilton | 23 JAN 20

Collezione Maramotti, Reggio Emilia, exhibits the painter’s postmodernist appropriation of philosophical and historical narratives

BY Ana Vukadin | 21 JAN 20

Or, why the Gulf conflicts never really went away

BY Melissa Gronlund | 16 JAN 20

How the recently restored Abraham’s Farewell to Ishmael, on view at the Pérez Art Museum, Miami, speaks to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict

BY Monica Uszerowicz | 16 JAN 20

A recent show at London’s Cecilia Brunson Projects allowed the late artist to speak for himself

BY ​Rebecca Jagoe | 15 JAN 20

At Marta Cervera, Madrid, the artist conjures up survival mechanisms and congealed debris

BY Lorena Muñoz-Alonso | 14 JAN 20

At Matthew Marks, New York, the artist’s enigmatic marbles and projections perform a subtle excavation of the gallery’s architecture 

BY Travis Diehl | 14 JAN 20

The artist’s first exhibition at DREI, Cologne, reflects on the social implications of everyday objects and the permanent switching between self and role

BY Moritz Scheper | 13 JAN 20

At the Blaffer Art Museum, Houston, the artist screens the lost films of a Hollywood huckster, a reminder that the media industry runs on broken dreams

BY William Harris | 10 JAN 20

At the Morgan Library and Museum, New York, the artist’s photographs of words and light receive their due

BY Evan Moffitt | 10 JAN 20

At Parker Gallery, Los Angeles, the 80-year-old ‘professor emeritus’ presents new works as dazzling and personal as ever

BY ​Juliana Halpert | 08 JAN 20

The artist’s exhibition at Marian Goodman Gallery, London, seems to mirror the evanescent nature of experience

BY Sean Burns | 07 JAN 20

At Converso, Milan, the artist transforms a baroque church into a playground for sculptural interventions

BY Barbara Casavecchia | 06 JAN 20

A recent exhibition at Jenny’s from one of Los Angeles’s most elusive artists

BY Gracie Hadland | 06 JAN 20

With rapid cuts, spatial leaps and sudden bursts of sound, two films at Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, create a maze-like experience

BY Ren Ebel | 06 JAN 20

The artist’s recent retrospective at Kunsthalle Bern wittily reflects on the circumvention of originality

BY Jörg Scheller | 05 JAN 20

Nicole Gravier’s ‘fotoromanzi’ at Ermes-Ermes, Vienna, create an escapist melodrama that stresses the dependence of capitalism on unpaid housework by women

BY Max L. Feldman | 05 JAN 20

At the Hirshhorn Museum in Washington, DC, Steir synthesizes two dominant modes of American painting: abstract expressionism and minimalism

BY Dereck Stafford Mangus | 03 JAN 20

Iqra Tanveer’s quiet show at Grey Noise, Dubai, is full of puzzles and meditations

BY Skye Arundhati Thomas | 03 JAN 20

A public installation in London’s Bermondsey suggests that the linguistic landscape is deteriorating along with the ecological one

BY Paul Carey-Kent | 30 DEC 19

At LABOR, the artist has captured airborne contaminants on 52 canvases, damning evidence of the capital’s unsafe conditions

BY Kit Schluter | 27 DEC 19

At Sophie Tappeiner, Vienna, the artist highlights the ways in which Kurdish culture is expressed at the intersection of myth and reality

BY Tom Hastings | 26 DEC 19

From bratwurst sculptures to Prussian monuments, at Sammlung Philara, Düsseldorf, the artist looks at the construction of German identity 

BY Chloe Stead | 24 DEC 19

40 years on, the fight for reproductive rights, and against sexual violence, has never been more pressing

BY Alice Butler | 23 DEC 19

At Sesc Pompeia, São Paulo, five decades of the artist’s immersive work speak to the brutality and sensuality of American life

BY Fernanda Brenner | 20 DEC 19

The video artist Li Ran’s return to painting, at Shanghai’s Aike gallery, is suffused by a sense of cinema

BY Alvin Li | 20 DEC 19

At David Lewis, the artist repurposes ephemeral Americana to remark on the disintegration of 1960s countercultural dreams and ideals

BY Robert Fitterman | 18 DEC 19

With ‘Cantiere’, the sculptor shows himself to be one of Italy’s best kept secrets

BY Ana Vukadin | 17 DEC 19

All attention is an act of devotion, and patience is the pleasure of this touring exhibition of contemporary paintings 

BY Cal Revely-Calder | 16 DEC 19

The artist’s latest commission pulls back the curtain on state power

BY Chris Sharratt | 05 DEC 19

Patrick D. Flores’s southeast Asia-focused exhibition is hopeful, in spite of its sometimes academic tenor

BY Max Crosbie-Jones | 29 NOV 19

In an exhibition at Focal Point Gallery, the artist looks to the local marshes of Canvey Island with a weird degree of hope  

BY Tom Morton | 29 NOV 19

The provocative and politically prescient exhibition grapples with hard truths and traumatic histories 

BY Kojo Abudu | 25 NOV 19