Off Frieze's beaten path in London
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Off Frieze's beaten path in London
In an image from the artist and Thaddaeus Ropac gallery, photo by J÷rg von Bruchhausen, “Figure With Remote Control” (2022) by Adrian Ghenie. The Thaddaeus Ropac gallery in London is opening a solo show of his paintings and drawings — reflections on the impact of the digital age on the human body and mind. The artist and Thaddaeus Ropac gallery, photo by J÷rg von Bruchhausen via The New York Times.

by Farah Nayeri

LONDON.- Visitors to Frieze have an embarrassment of other attractions to choose from in London. All they need to do is step off the fairgrounds in Regent’s Park and roam the capital’s many museums and galleries. Here is a selection of exhibitions taking place during Frieze week.

Queen’s Gallery — Ever wondered what treasures were contained in Britain’s Royal Collection, which Queen Elizabeth II had custody of for seven decades until her recent passing? Regular glimpses into the collection are provided by the Queen’s Gallery, part of Buckingham Palace. (It originally served as Queen Victoria’s private chapel before it was left in ruins after a World War II air raid and was turned into a museum in 1962.) Currently on display is “Japan: Courts and Culture,” a selection of more than 150 exquisite Japanese treasures received by the British court over the course of more than three centuries. They include Britain’s first samurai armor, sent as a gift to the sovereign in 1613, and an embroidered folding screen that Queen Victoria received for her Diamond Jubilee in 1897.

Hieroglyphs at the British Museum — In 1799, Napoleon’s occupying forces were rebuilding fortifications near the port city of Rosetta in Egypt when a French Army officer chanced upon a tall black granite slab covered with inscriptions in three writing systems: hieroglyphs, demotic (a kind of hieroglyphic cursive) and Ancient Greek. That etched fragment, the Rosetta Stone, allowed French researcher Jean-Franšois Champollion to decipher the writings of the ancient Egyptians two decades later — and open the doors to a world of knowledge and discovery. The Rosetta Stone, now a proud possession of the British Museum, is the centerpiece of a new exhibition of more than 240 objects titled “Hieroglyphs.” Items on view include Champollion’s personal notes; a 3,000-year-old measuring rod he used to understand Egyptian mathematics; and priceless antiquities such as vessels, sarcophagi and mummy bandages.

Carolee Schneemann — Three years after her death, trailblazing American performance artist Carolee Schneemann — whose dramatic public actions addressed issues such as sexual power dynamics, female objectification, war and pain — is getting her first-ever British survey at the Barbican. “Body Politics” features more than 300 objects (paintings, sculptural objects, films, photographs and archival material). Look out for images of her famous celebration of flesh, “Meat Joy” (1964), in which she had untrained performers (including a balloon salesman and a poet) dress and undress as they slipped and slid over bits of paper and paint, raw fish, and chicken.

Amy Sherald — The portraitist of former first lady Michelle Obama is opening her first solo show in Europe at the Hauser & Wirth gallery in London. Sherald depicts figures in everyday surroundings, but she also reinterprets well-known works of painting and photography by placing African American figures within them, as she does with a Giorgio de Chirico portrait of his wife in a leopard coat (painted in 1940), or Alfred Eisenstaedt’s image “V-J Day in Times Square” (1945).

Barbara Chase-Riboud — Born in Philadelphia in 1939, African American sculptor Barbara Chase-Riboud moved to Paris in 1961 and has lived there ever since, producing works that often combine bronze with textiles like silk and wool. The Serpentine Galleries are paying homage to her with “Infinite Folds,” a display of more than 30 pieces ranging from 1960s works on paper to sculptures from her series dedicated to Malcolm X and to Queen Cleopatra (bronze tiles stitched together with red thread).

Adrian Ghenie — Romanian contemporary artist Adrian Ghenie is a darling of the art market, with some of his pieces selling for millions of dollars. His works can recall the rawness and viscerality of Francis Bacon, yet he paints in a much brighter palette. The Thaddaeus Ropac gallery in London is opening a solo show of his paintings and drawings — reflections on the impact of the digital age on the human body and mind. Besides exhibiting his self-portraits, Ghenie will also explore Marilyn Monroe, twisting and blurring the movie star’s features in an examination of reality and artifice.

This article originally appeared in The New York Times.

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