A private party with Radiohead and big questions on the big screen: the latest gossip from Frieze London

Plus, Lakwena Maciver plays games at 1-54 art fair and an unsung heroine of Abstract Expressionism get her due

The big screen at Piccadilly Circus; the audience was later treated to an appearance by Marina Abramović Courtesy of Reece Watson / Circa Art Ltd

The big screen at Piccadilly Circus; the audience was later treated to an appearance by Marina Abramović Courtesy of Reece Watson / Circa Art Ltd

Circa hits the Circus with a big ask

Where do we go from now? This is a question we have all been asking ourselves over the past months and, in the lead-up to the COP 26 UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow at the end of this month and to celebrate its first anniversary, Circa—the digital arts platform that lights up the giant screens at Piccadilly Circus—has been eliciting some very diverse answers from art luminaries including Hans Ulrich Obrist and Marina Abramović. Many of these are reproduced on a printed “Roadmap” that Circa is distributing at Frieze today. Ai Weiwei, David Hockney, Patti Smith and many others have also donated prints to fundraise for Circa’s numerous projects aimed at the wider creative sector. Last night, Abramović appeared on the Piccadilly screen to announce the winner of their inaugural £30,000 Circa x Dazed award, which went to the queer artist, activist and drag performer Joseph Wilson.

Playing it straight: Radiohead’s Thom Yorke performing at Christie’s Frieze party, in front of a Gerhard Richter work Courtesy of Christie’s

Where art and pop collide

Faces may be covered but the art world still channelled its festive spirit at the two main parties to mark the opening of Frieze. Christie’s hosted a champagne and cocktail-fuelled shindig to celebrate their show of works by Stanley Donwood, who has produced all of the visuals for Radiohead ever since meeting the band’s frontman Thom Yorke at art school in Exeter. Yorke performed an experimental electronic set in front of a giant, striped Gerhard Richter painting with Radiohead bassist Colin Greenwood also in attendance. Meanwhile, the Arts Club x Evening Standard bash was presided over by the legendary house music DJ Seth Troxler, who kept the artists Conrad Shawcross, Shezad Dawood and Yinka Ilori along with Princess Eugenie on their feet until the early hours.

An untitled painting by Janet Sobel from the early 1940s—before she turned to drip painting, allegedly years before Jackson Pollock Courtesy of the Gallery of Everything

Unsung heroine makes a splash

Janet Sobel may well be one of the art world’s best-kept secrets—and James Brett, the founder of The Gallery and Museum of Everything, is determined to shine a light on this “great unsung heroine of 20th-century art” with a presentation of her works at Frieze Masters. Sobel seems to have been erased from the canon of Abstract Expressionist art—“she has been perpetually excluded,” Brett says—but some commentators argue that she pioneered the drip painting style a couple of years before Jackson Pollock splashed and smeared his way into art history. “Bad painting by Sobel’s son also inspired her,” Brett explains. Ouch.

Artist Lakwena Maciver at the 1-54 Contemporary African Art Fair

Court artist says it with flowers

The artist Lakwena Maciver is wowing the crowds at the 1-54 Contemporary African Art Fair with her vibrant basketball paintings that fill the courtyard of Somerset House. Maciver is a fan of the game and even painted two full-size courts in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, last year in honour of the state senator Stephanie Anne Flowers, who spoke out against “Stand your Ground” gun laws. Meanwhile, Maciver’s intricate hair arrangement, bedecked with an array of flowers, certainly caught the eye at the fair VIP preview. But the young London-based artist is not taking any chances with her floral hair do: “I took a hayfever tablet just in case!” she quipped.