Issue 217
March 2021

‘Whenever I say to myself, “Oh my god, I’ve gone too far,” that’s when I know I’m on the right track.’ – Bruce LaBruce 

In the March issue of frieze, Tausif Noor profiles painter, writer and teacher Amy Sillman; underground filmmaker Bruce LaBruce speaks with writer Michael Bullock; and Wangechi Mutu answer our questionnaire.

Profile: Tausif Noor on Amy Sillman 

‘Above all, Sillman embraces the pleasure of process’. Following two New York shows and the publication of Sillman’s selected writings, Tausif Noor profiles an artist whose pragmatic philosophy treats mark-making not as a grand testament to creative skill but as an invitation to follow and think alongside her. 

Conversation: Michael Bullock and Bruce LaBruce 

‘A lot of gay teens have self-loathing, so self-love can be really constructive for them’. Ahead of the release of his thirteenth feature film, Saint-Narcisse, cult filmmaker Bruce LaBruce speaks to writer Michael Bullock about porn, punk rock and the aesthetics of radicalism.

Also featuring 

Novelist Deborah Levy contributes ‘1500 words’ on her memories of David Hammons’s A Fly in a Sugar Bowl (1990). A.S. Hamrah writes about Hollywood representations of Trumpland in the age of Netflix. Rianna Jade Parker responds to a single work by Charles Gaines. Plus, Amy Sherlock speaks to Kitty Anderson, Skinder Hundal, Kim McAleese and Miles Thurlow about how 2020 has re-framed localism in the UK arts.

Columns: Power Moves

Josh Freedman and Rebecca Davis examine cultural censorship in China; Lauren Van Haaften-Schick peeks into the artist contracts that rethink the terms of sale; Sean Burns delivers a lesson in the art of power dressing; and musician Sumeet Samos considers the rise of Dalit rap in India. Also, Olamiju Fajemisin speaks to Larry Achiampong about the anti-fascist movement Rock Against Racism, which is currently the subject of an exhibition at De La Warr Pavilion.  

From this issue

Cultural censorship helps reinforce Communist Party narratives within China’s borders, but can easily backfire  

BY Rebecca Davis AND Josh Freedman |

Musician Sumeet Samos on how Dalit music has helped mobilize against caste violence and institutional discrimination

BY Sumeet Samos |

The artist speaks with Olamiju Fajemisin on the legacy of Rock Against Racism in the UK

BY Olamiju Fajemisin |

The artist answers the frieze questionnaire ahead of her solo show at the Legion of Honor, Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco 

BY Wangechi Mutu |

The strengths of regional approaches in a country deeply divided by the dual crises of Covid-19 and Brexit

50 years ago, a manifesto by Seth Siegelaub reimagined what economic justice could look like in the arts

BY Lauren van Haaften-Schick |

Ahead of his 13th feature film, Saint Narcisse, the cult film director speaks with Michael Bullock about the importance of self-love and self-exposure 

BY Michael Bullock AND Bruce LaBruce |

The painter, writer, educator and self-described ‘art appreciator’ invites us to follow and think alongside her

BY Tausif Noor AND Amy Sillman |

Deborah Levy can’t stop thinking about a work seen at Kettle’s Yard more than 30 years ago

BY Deborah Levy |

Rianna Jade Parker on a new work from the artist’s first UK solo show

BY Rianna Jade Parker |

A.S. Hamrah on the portrayal of ‘red America’ in Hillbilly Elegy, Rebuilding Paradise and Nomadland

BY A.S. Hamrah |

In a culture so fixated on image, Sean Burns explores why what’s beyond ‘the look’ is more important than ever

BY Sean Burns |

At Galerie Parisa Kind, Frankfurt, the artist blends reality and fiction to address issues of precarity 

BY Radia Soukni |

At Galerias Municipais de Lisboa, the artist brings to the fore the conflicts and chances of migration 

BY Cristina Sanchez-Kozyreva |

From fish farms to factories, the artist duo’s first survey exhibition at Z33, Hasselt, looks at the different streams of production in the 21st century 

BY Hera Chan |

The artist’s retrospective at Hamburger Bahnhof, Berlin, recalls the political and economic changes of the German capital

BY Kito Nedo |

Two new films by the artist and her cohorts, on view at Lafayette Anticipations, Paris, speak to joint struggles and why collaboration is key

BY Wilson Tarbox |

The provocative artist’s major survey with British potter and ‘courier between East and West’ Bernard Leach invites the question: who has license to be so nonchalant?

BY Nicholas Hatfull |

From Luka Yuanyuan Yang's video project on America’s Chinatowns to Yu Ji's investigation of forgotten histories in an unoccupied apartment, these are the best shows from the city 

BY Alvin Li, Maya Kramer AND Yuan Fuca |

At Gianni Manhattan, Vienna, the artist presents a dystopian future in which water has dried out and technology has failed us

BY Francesca Gavin |

At Kunsthall Charlottenborg, a group exhibition aims to draw connections between witch trials and colonialism but fails to grapple with their continuities 

BY Steven Zultanski |

A new exhibition on the Italian design group at MK Gallery solemnly reminds us that the 1980s design movement was a commercial and ideological failure 

BY Alice Bucknell |

At the Wexner Center for the Arts, the artist draws connections between the US Voting Rights Act of 1965 and Albers’s theory of colour

BY Natalie Haddad |

At Yossi Milo gallery, New York, the artist’s manipulated photographs of Manitoba forests cut through the optimism of the hippie dream

BY Joseph R. Wolin |

At Prizer Arts & Letters, Austin, the artists present works that reaffirm the US experiment is ongoing

BY Lauren Moya Ford |

At Kicken Berlin the artist's work explores what it meant to be a woman in the German Democratic Republic

BY Anna Voswinckel |

‘Made in L.A. 2020: a version’, slated to open in 2021, exposes the horrors of American life pre-pandemic

BY Jonathan Griffin |

Capturing moments of stillness and anticipation, at Workplace, London, the artist uses layers of stippled colours to conjure never-ending narratives

BY Tom Morton |

Exhibited in defunct phone booths along 6th Avenue, artists including Renée Green, Glenn Ligon, Patti Smith, and Rirkrit Tiravanija ask us to engage with the world around

BY Paul Stephens |

At Gallery 1957, London, the Ghanaian artist explores Stuart Hall's theory that cultural identity 'belongs as much to the future as it does to the past'

BY Aindrea Emelife |

For his first solo exhibition at Sadie Coles HQ, the artist riffs on the iconographies and hierarchies of a bygone era

BY Kevin Brazil |

Informed by his Manchurian identity, the artist sets out by motorcycle for the Chinese Eastern Railway to explore the Northeast province's fading heritage

BY Nooshfar Afnan |

Diverging from filmic poetry, at Magenta Plains, New York, the artist presents a new body of work without his usual smattering of textual imagery

BY Paige K. Bradley |

Two concurrent shows at the Bronx Museum and Marianne Boesky Gallery, New York, track the artist’s career and ‘chopped-and-screwed’ process of reimagining art history

BY Rahel Aima |

At Karma, New York, the artist presents a new body of work that goes beyond the ‘gestural abstraction’ for which she is best known

BY Jackson Arn |

At White Columns, the artist presents a series of neon works that highlight ‘critical moments in US history’ from 1526 to 2019

BY Will Harrison |

At Auto Italia, London, a film by Invernomuto and Jim C. Nedd traces the history of Afro-Colombian sound systems

BY Allyssia Alleyne |

At CULT Aimee Friberg Exhibitions, the artist presents a series of vanitas-inspired paintings about Bay Area slang

BY Natasha Boas |

Conceptual artist Patrick Jackson presents a series of photographs and glass shelves that riff on modernism and minimalism

BY Travis Diehl |