Issue 214
October 2020

‘I’m increasingly interested in those possibilities outside and beyond the solely human.’ – John Akomfrah 

In the October issue of frieze, the ground-breaking UK filmmaker John Akomfrah is in conversation with The Otolith Group’s Kodwo Eshun and Anjalika Sagar; Akinbode Akinbiyi, Natasha A. Kelly, Mahret Ifeoma Kupka and Susan Neiman draw attention to the history of Afro-Germany; and Willem de Rooij answers our questionnaire.

The cover artwork, Our Skin Is A Monument (2020), was specially designed by John Akomfrah for the issue. It is available to buy as an exclusive limited edition, with 60% of sales proceeds benefiting the Frieze x Deutsche Bank Emerging Curators Fellowship, which supports UK-based Black and POC curators. 

Also featuring: A thematic essay by Stephen Squibb on the aesthetics of disinformation. A profile by Muna Mire of the filmmaker Tourmaline. 1,500 words by Elvia Wilk on how Nancy Baker Cahill’s augmented-reality works are freeing public monuments from the ideology of control. Maika Pollack responds to Thao Nguyen Phan’s Perpetual Brightness (2019). 

Kyle Chayka on Patreon’s new model of art patronage; Liv Fontaine offers ten tips on how to be a performance artist; Evan Moffitt interviews Stefan Benchoam and Jessica Kairé, the co-founders of Guatemala City’s NuMu; Jessica Loudis on the new magazines giving speed to cultural revolution; and Ana Tuazon on the emerging alternative spaces, led by artists of colour, that are leaving a stagnant art world behind. 

Plus, a special supplement with selected texts from Frieze Masters: contributing editor Jonathan Griffin on how Gianfranco Gorgoni’s photographs documented the Land Art movement and Charles Saumarez Smith on the changing fashions in exhibition design. Also, 28 reviews from around the world and online, including exhibitions by James Benning, Sonia Boyce, Marlene Dumas, Toyin Ojih Odutola and Tai Shani. 

Our Skin Is a Monument I (2020), the artwork which is the cover for this issue, is also available to purchase as an exclusive limited edition.

From this issue

Commsisioned in partnership with Chisenhale Gallery, Okon’s latest exhibition at Void Derry captured creative labour in complicated states of flow and arrest

BY Eva Kenny | 30 OCT 20

Ahead of his exhibition at Portikus, Frankfurt, the Berlin-based artist answers our questionnaire

BY Willem de Rooij | 26 OCT 20

Tourmaline’s films speak a simple truth: Black, queer and trans people were always here and always will be

BY Muna Mire | 16 OCT 20

Jessica Loudis on the magazines attempting to upend contemporary media

BY Jessica Loudis | 13 OCT 20

A new, limited edition made by John Akomfrah for Frieze 

08 OCT 20

Can the story of performer and activist Paul Robeson help us reconcile universalism with Black progress? 

BY Susan Neiman | 30 SEP 20

The photographer retraces the history of the German capital's 'African Quarter'

BY Akinbode Akinbiyi | 30 SEP 20

A look at Germany’s exhibition landscape shows the importance of identifying blind spots

BY Mahret Ifeoma Kupka | 30 SEP 20

Germany's Green Party wants to get rid of the word ‘race’ in the German constitution. Natasha A. Kelly writes about what actually needs to change in Germany

BY Natasha A. Kelly | 30 SEP 20

In 'Perpetual Brightness', Phan’s ailing animal becomes a metaphor for a culture, and a world, adrift on the verge of ecological disaster. 

BY Maika Pollack | 25 SEP 20

During the turbulent summer of 2020, the filmmakers met to discuss contemporary filmmaking and decentring the human

BY John Akomfrah | 23 SEP 20

How Gianfranco Gorgoni’s photographs documented a radical art movement

BY Jonathan Griffin | 17 SEP 20

The art historian recalls standout displays from the past five decades

BY Charles Saumarez Smith | 16 SEP 20

For the inaugural exhibition at I.L.A. Gallery, the artist used the Japanese paper-making technique of washi to connect with rural histories

BY Yosihiro Yabe | 16 SEP 20

At Birmingham’s Eastside Projects, the artist’s latest curatorial project probes at what might happen when the digital bleeds into the physical

BY Aurella Yussuf | 16 SEP 20

With works by 11 artists, ‘Study of Things’ at Guangdong Times Museum offers regional perspectives on rampant industries

BY Alvin Li | 15 SEP 20

The founders of Guatemala City’s NuMu, Stefan Benchoam and Jessica Kairé, discuss how their program extends far beyond its shell

BY Evan Moffitt | 15 SEP 20

The artist's augmented-reality works are freeing public sculpture from the ‘ideology of control’

BY Elvia Wilk | 15 SEP 20

Does the crowdfunding platform live up to its promise to ‘change the way art is valued?’

BY Kyle Chayka | 15 SEP 20

Emerging alternative spaces led by artists of colour leave a stagnant gallery system behind 

BY Ana Tuazon | 15 SEP 20

The artist's exhibitions at galeria stereo pays tribute to Blecher's ferible dream diary The Lit-Up Burrow 

BY Krzysztof Kościuczuk | 11 SEP 20

Glasgow-based performer Liv Fontaine’s top tips

BY Liv Fontaine | 10 SEP 20

For her first UK exhibition at London’s Barbican, the artist builds a narrative of two lovers caught up in a matriarchal society

BY Rianna Jade Parker | 08 SEP 20

A touring retrospective at Kunsthalle Bremen and Gemeentemuseum Den Haag reveals the comic side of the artist’s work and its unique position in the history of German painting

BY Kito Nedo | 07 SEP 20

At Zeno X Gallery, Antwerp, the artist takes a second look at the social and emotional aspects of images 

BY Noemi Smolik | 03 SEP 20

A public art exhibition by the artist whose life was claimed by the Grenfell Tower Fire is a salve for a wounded borough

BY Natalie Nzeyimana | 02 SEP 20

An exhibition at Kunstverein Braunschweig explores the life of the first African philosopher in Germany and an overlooked chapter in the country’s history

BY Stanton Taylor | 31 AUG 20

A retrospective at Taxispalais Kunsthalle, Innsbruck, shows that the artist was bold both in her combinations of typefaces and in her political statements

BY Carina Bukuts | 27 AUG 20

The artist’s bracing performances demonstrate that institutions – and perception itself – can never be neutral

BY Madeleine Seidel | 27 AUG 20

At Braunsfelder, Cologne, a series of painted rubber plants speaks to our need for calmness

 

BY Moritz Scheper | 25 AUG 20

Tender yet brutal, Deacon's work melds violence and merriment at the NGV, Melbourne

BY Sophie Knezic | 24 AUG 20

A new exhibition at Turner Contemporary, Margate, proposes a backyard narrative of the US civil rights movement

BY Amanda Holiday | 19 AUG 20

The artist’s online project enacts a daily fantasy of revenge – or reparation – for the Western history of institutional racism and colonialism

BY Simon Wu | 18 AUG 20

The artist’s exhibition at Galerie Imane Farès, Paris, shows the multiple faces of resistance

BY Oriane Durand | 17 AUG 20

The Turner prize winner's exhibition at Grazer Kunstverein shows how fate can always be challenged

BY Sonja-Maria Borstner | 12 AUG 20

At Friends Indeed, San Francisco, the artist mines European and indigenous American sources to form a new abstract language

BY Natasha Boas | 06 AUG 20

The artist’s new works at La Virreina, Barcelona, predict that the culture industry will never be automated

BY Max Andrews | 05 AUG 20

The late US photographer challenges perceptions of African Americans in a two-part series

BY Candice Nembhard | 04 AUG 20

At Capitain Petzel, Berlin, the artist pays homage to writers such as Jane Austen and James Joyce

BY Chloe Stead | 29 JUL 20

The artist’s current exhibition at Weiss Berlin is a nuanced critique of the notion of Black masculinity

BY Eric Otieno | 23 JUL 20

‘FIVE’, an online exhibition curated by artist Nina Chanel Abney, assembles moving-image works around ‘anxiety, stillness, isolation, escapism and fear’ 

BY Anthony Hawley | 23 JUL 20

A retrospective of the Japanese artist's work at Louisiana Museum, Humlebæk, sheds new light on his merging of the biological and the artificial

BY Steven Zultanski | 21 JUL 20

A pop-up DIY exhibition across 400 homes became an unexpectedly timely evocation of resilience and loss

BY Joseph R. Wolin | 14 JUL 20

An online presentation organized by Julie Ault and Martin Beck documents the artists’ friendship and creative exchanges 

BY Gracie Hadland | 07 JUL 20

The artist’s online game, ‘Screen Talk’, satirizes the bad politics and fake news muddling responses to COVID-19

BY Travis Diehl | 03 JUL 20