From ‘Suffragette City’ to Black Lives Matter in “ASSEMBLY”

Renée Green, Alfredo Jaar, Lara Schnitger and Hank Willis Thomas explore protest and collectivity in Frieze New York’s new Live section

Inspired by protest and collectivity, “ASSEMBLY” is a new, time-based curated program curated by Adrienne Edwards: the first Live section at Frieze New York.

Featuring Renée Green, Alfredo Jaar, Dave McKenzie, Raúl de Nieves with Erik Zajaceskowski, Adam Pendleton, Lara Schnitger, and Hank Willis Thomas, the program encompasses every day of the fair’s seventh edition (May 2-6, 2018): and beyond, with Adam Pendleton’s Black Dada Flag (Black Lives Matter) flying over NYC Parks’ Randall’s Island for six full months, from May 1 until November 1, 2018.

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Adam Pendleton, Black Dada Flag (Black Lives Matter), 2015–2018. Digital print on polyester, dimensions variable. Courtesy: the artist and PACE

Adam Pendleton, Black Dada Flag (Black Lives Matter), 2015–2018. Digital print on polyester, dimensions variable. Courtesy: the artist and PACE

Besides a host of flags and banners, the Live program features processions, performances and sound installations which combine new and existing works, and explore themes including gun violence, feminist marches, racism and queer utopias.

Presentations include the New York debut of Lara Schnitger’s ‘Suffragette City’, an ongoing hybrid performance that fuses feminist protest with stereotypes of feminine presentation, sculpture with ritual; Furtive Movements (2018), Dave McKenzie’s day-long solo performance as a magician, exploring the ways in which the gestures of black bodies are said to signal danger or the need for surveillance; recorded messages commissioned from a range of artists and writers, which Alfredo Jaar broadcasts over the fair loudspeakers; and Hank Willis Thomas’s 15,093 and 15,580 (both 2018): fabric works embroidered with stars that recall the Stars and Stripes, but which in fact record annual deaths by gun violence in the U.S.

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Lara Schnitger, Suffragette City (Palais de Tokyo, Paris, France), 2017. Performance. Courtesy: the artist and Anton Kern Gallery, New York

Lara Schnitger, Suffragette City (Palais de Tokyo, Paris, France), 2017. Performance. Courtesy: the artist and Anton Kern Gallery, New York

‘I hope that together these projects will help us imagine what is possible today through the poetics of protest,’ Edwards - who joins the Whitney as Curator of Performance in May - said, adding that “breaking down boundaries between galleries and the street, the artist and their audience” might ‘open up conversations about the role of art in today’s society.’

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Hank Willis Thomas, Pledge (detail), 2018. Screenprint on retroreflective vinyl, mounted on Dibond, 192 x 246cm. Courtesy: the artist and Jack Shainman Gallery, New York

Hank Willis Thomas, Pledge (detail), 2018. Screenprint on retroreflective vinyl, mounted on Dibond, 192 x 246cm. Courtesy: the artist and Jack Shainman Gallery, New York

Frieze’s Loring Randolph praised Edwards's program for ‘connecting global political realities with vital urban histories’, noting that Live affirms Frieze’s commitment to both curated programming and boundary-pushing practices. ‘The fair aims to support galleries in presenting experimental works beyond the confines of their booths’, Randolph added. Indeed, Frieze has a significant history of presenting and commissioning time-based work by artists. Recent editions of Frieze New York have featured live and participatory works by Dora Budor, Pia Camil, Maurizio Cattelan, Giosetta Fioroni, Liz Glynn, Anthea Hamilton, Adam Linder, Ryan McNamara and Eduardo Navarro, while the first performance work in the Tate Collection (UK), was acquired from Frieze London in 2004. 

Main image: Hank Willis Thomas, Pledge (detail), 2018. Screenprint on retroreflective vinyl, mounted on Dibond, 192 x 246cm. Courtesy: the artist and Jack Shainman Gallery, New York

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