#MeToo: Depictions of Doom at Frieze 2018

Laurie Anderson, Frieze Talks, Frieze London 2018 (Photo by Linda Nylind)

Frieze London 2018 has been labelled the ‘#MeToo art fair’ for featuring more female artists, particularly in the new Social Work section devoted to ‘80s and ‘90s women who challenged the art market. Taken as a whole, Frieze 2018 may have contained the usual art-fair fare, with its an array of loud formalist pieces (splatter canvases, mirrors with elaborate aluminium prints, neon signs and the like) targeted at typical first-tier art collectors. Yet the pieces that stood out were indeed, regardless of the gender of the artist, united by their resignation and profound disillusionment with monumentality. This year’s theme for Frieze Talks, Autobiography, reflects a curatorial strategy that has selected intricate manifestations of contemporary psyche over explicit references to current events. Speaking as part of the series on Friday, Laurie Anderson gave a warm yet chilling perspective on storytelling and the fate of the world in the midst of accelerating political and social change.

Upon entering the fair, visitors are greeted by the back of Urs Fischer’s Francesco, a wax sculpture of the Italian curator Francesco Bonami who emblematizes a stereotypical art-world snobbish intellectual. The figure is turned away from the front of the fair and on his phone, either imitating or setting an example for the many fairgoers refreshing feeds and taking snapshots. Nearby is Tatiana Trouvé’s installation, The Shaman. Far from being the typical man-made fountain associated with the great western civilizations