Describing the 1990s as “historical” will make many in the art world feel old, but Frieze London is dedicating a new section to the decade this year. The Nineties, headed up by the critic and curator Nicolas Trembley, will see 14 galleries (some working together) revisit important exhibitions from that decade that helped shape the contemporary art scene.
“The whole Nineties generation was working in a period of radical shift—from the fall of the Berlin Wall to the AIDS crisis and the creation of the internet,” Trembley says. “The art market was still emerging… Daniel Pflumm founded a nightclub in Berlin, and Rirkrit Tiravanija invited audiences to solve puzzles over a picnic together. There was constant creative overlap between cultural and social worlds."
Trembley adds: “This was also a decade in which galleries were key leaders rather than institutions: artists were collaborating with the galleries first.”
Among the presentations, Massimo De Carlo Gallery is revisiting Aperto 93, a group exhibition that first showed at the Venice Biennale and introduced work by Rudolf Stingel, Carsten Höller, Maurizio Cattelan and Félix Gonzalez-Torres to a global audience, while Air de Paris Gallery will resurface two figures from the artist Pierre Joseph’s Characters to be Reactivated series (1991-95), a performance in which different characters, from policemen to sex workers, took over the gallery.
In other news, the fair’s new investor, the entertainment agency WME-IMG, will take over from the Outset Contemporary Art Fund in supporting the Frieze Tate Fund, while London’s Contemporary Art Society has announced that it will buy a work for the Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art. With Middlesbrough having the highest proportion of migrants of any town in the UK, the museum hopes to acquire a work that addresses the themes of borders and migration.
At the other end of Regent’s Park, Frieze Masters celebrates its fifth birthday. This year, the fair’s expanded spotlight section (up from 15 to 21 stands) will focus on under-represented artists from the 20th century including women, those who challenged prevailing cultural narratives, and outsiders.
• Frieze London and Frieze Masters, Regent’s Park, London: VIP preview, 5 October; public days, 6-9 October