Top five London shows during Frieze week

Our pick of the city's must-see exhibitions, including Picasso, Pollock and two million pennies<br>


Picasso Portraits

6 October-5 February 2017

National Portrait Gallery   

When Pablo Picasso unveiled Les Demoiselles d’Avignon in his Paris studio in 1907, the painting was greeted by bafflement, anger and even laughter from friends and critics. The writer Félix Fénéon advised the 25-year-old artist to take up caricature. If the comparison rankled at the time, Picasso later conceded the point, declaring: “All good portraits are in some degree caricatures.” Caricature is a thread that runs through this exhibition that spans the eight decades of Picasso’s working life. The works range from a tentative 1896 self-portrait (aged 14 or 15) to a skull-like sketch from 1972 (aged 90), nine months before his death.

The Infinite Mix

Until 4 December

Hayward Gallery at The Store    

Any show that gets art critics pontificating about the rapper Kendrick Lamar has got to be a winner. This off-site exhibition, organised by the Hayward Gallery and The Vinyl Factory, brings together ten video works by artists including Cyprien Gaillard, Kahlil Joseph—who teamed up with Lamar for his two-screen installation—Rachel Rose and Martin Creed. Located in a disused office block on the Strand, each piece gets its own chamber, avoiding the sound leakage often found in video art shows. With holograms and 3D projections, this is probably the funnest show in town.

Abstract Expressionism

Until 2 January 2017

Royal Academy of Arts   

David Anfam, the world’s expert on the subject, has thoughtfully chosen and arranged 150 paintings, with some works in other media. He has allotted, very appropriately, Jackson Pollock, Willem de Kooning, Mark Rothko and Clyfford Still entire galleries to themselves, interspersed with thematic groupings, sculpture and works on paper. The hang satisfies the need for the undivided meditative and ocular attention that these paintings call for if they are to be experienced fully. A slow and prolonged visit is recommended. As with any classical work, no matter how familiar the Abstract Expressionism may seem, the works repay repeated close viewing.

Hyundai Commission: Philippe Parreno

Until 2 April 2017

Tate Modern

Philippe Parreno has taken over Tate’s Turbine Hall with a multi-sensory experience full of drama. The show builds on many of the elements from his recent exhibition at Gladstone Gallery in New York but on a vast scale, with balloons modelled on fish from the Thames, and an orchestration of flashing lights and sounds recorded from microphones outside the Tate. There are also walls that come down from the ceiling to make an impromptu cinema, showing images of bacteria with a voiceover by the British ventriloquist Nina Conti.  

Turner Prize 2016

Until 2 January 2017

Tate Modern   

“Wit, playfulness and a sense of the absurd” are themes of this year’s Turner Prize, according to the director of Tate Britain and chair of the jury, Alex Farquharson. It’s easy to see why, with the shortlisted artists producing work ranging from a (much)larger-than-life sculpture of a man’s buttocks (Anthea Hamilton) to a sit-and-ride train installation (Josephine Pryde). The two other shortlisted artists are Michael Dean, with an installation made of 2,043,599 pennies, and Helen Marten, whose complicated installations include visual puns. The winner of the £25,000 prize will be announced in December.  


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