Beyond Frieze: Other Art Attractions in London

LONDON — It’s that time of year again: Frieze Week, when London’s museums, galleries and exhibition venues pull out all the stops to attract the legions of international collectors, curators, museum directors, patrons and cognoscenti flying into town.

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Farah Nayeri
, New York Times

LONDON — It’s that time of year again: Frieze Week, when London’s museums, galleries and exhibition venues pull out all the stops to attract the legions of international collectors, curators, museum directors, patrons and cognoscenti flying into town.

Most of those visitors will be ambling through the Frieze London and Frieze Masters fairs at some point. But there are plenty of exhibitions to see outside of the fair tents. Here is a selection of other places to visit.

— The National Gallery

For a break from the fresh-out-of-the-studio artworks that tend to proliferate at contemporary fairs, head over to Trafalgar Square. There, you’ll see the exhibition “Courtauld Impressionists: From Manet to Cézanne,” a group of paintings completed a century ago or more that still manage to dazzle the crowds.

Gathered under the same roof are textbook masterpieces of impressionism and post-impressionism — one from Cézanne’s series “The Card Players” (1892-96), Manet’s “A Bar at the Folies Bergères,” (1882) and Seurat’s “Bathers at Asnières” (1884).

Of the more than 40 works on display, 26 are loans from the nearby Courtauld Gallery, which has just closed for renovations. The rest are from the National Gallery’s own collections. The paintings were once either owned by or acquired with the help of Samuel Courtauld (1876-1947), a British businessman and philanthropist.

— Tate Britain

For a glimpse of the boundary-pushing art being produced these days, see the exhibition “Turner Prize 2018,” a display of this year’s nominees for one of the top accolades in contemporary art.

This year’s four nominees include Forensic Architecture, a collective consisting of designers, filmmakers, etc., based at Goldsmiths, University of London, which uses the tools of architectural rendering and computer modeling in conflict zones (such as Iraq) to investigate instances of violence or human rights violations, and uncover untruths. Forensic Architecture’s video and archival display focuses on an Israeli police raid on a Bedouin village in the Negev Desert.

This year’s shortlist is film- and video-heavy. Luke Willis Thompson, whose art is concerned with social injustice, has been chosen for his black-and-white 35-millimeter portrait of Diamond Reynolds, the American woman who livestreamed video just after her boyfriend, Philando Castile, was shot by police in Minnesota. You can see the portrait in the show.

Charlotte Prodger, a film artist who will represent Scotland at the 2019 Venice Biennale, uses old and new film equipment to explore the relationship between queerness and the landscape. And Naeem Mohiaemen examines issues of identity, migration and postcolonialism using the medium of film.

— Royal Academy of Arts

Renzo Piano is one of a handful of “starchitects” — big-name architects with landmarks all over the globe.

The 1998 Pritzker Architecture Prize winner has one right here in London: the Shard, the glass skyscraper south of the Thames that is one of Europe’s tallest buildings. And he has one (codesigned with Richard Rogers) at the heart of Paris: the Centre Pompidou, with its multicolored tubular exterior.

Maquettes, sketches and plans for both of those projects are on show in the retrospective, “Renzo Piano: The Art Of Making Buildings.” His designs for other career-defining projects are also included, such as the Whitney Museum of American Art and The New York Times Building.

The most eye-catching part of the show is a sculpted island that represents all of his projects in one spot, as if they were one big city. The exhibition won’t give you any insights into Piano the man, but it is a well presented overview of his architectural career.

— Tate Modern

“Christian Marclay: The Clock,” a 24-hour video, is a watchmaker’s dream come true. It is a sequence of movie and television scenes masterfully edited together to show the actual time, minute by minute, hour by hour, in a 24-hour cycle.

The clips are from all eras. You’ll see everyone from Humphrey Bogart to Meryl Streep, Julia Roberts and Johnny Depp. In every movie excerpt, the time of day or night is signaled somehow: by a wristwatch, a stopwatch, a clock, a computer screen, a church bell.

As you watch, you soon forget to look for the time indicator and let yourself be absorbed by the wonder that is cinema. Marclay’s masterpiece is in a massive screening room fitted with rows of comfortable sofas. And it is free of charge.

— Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac

Ever wondered what it’s like to be the holder of a Swiss passport? You can find out by visiting Tom Sachs’ Swiss Passport Office installation from 6 p.m. Wednesday to 6 p.m. Thursday. For 24 hours, the artist will be issuing a serial-numbered Tom Sachs Studio passport for 20 euros, about $23.

You’ll get your picture taken there, and your name will be hand-typed on a passport that looks very much like something the Swiss would issue.

Sachs’ installation is a comment on an era in which millions of people are displaced around the globe, seeking to become citizens of prosperous Western democracies — and meeting with closed borders and virtual or actual walls wherever they turn.

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