Already a banner year for art events, with eagerly anticipated biennials, mammoth museum shows, and major fairs luring cultural connoisseurs to market capitals like New York, Maastricht, Basel, and Seoul. This week, London stepped into the spotlight with the opening of the Frieze art fair. A who’s who of art-world insiders and celebrities—including tennis star Maria Sharapova, actors Jared Leto and Josh Hartnett, designer Raf Simons, model Claudia Schiffer, Princess Eugenie, and journalist Hamish Bowles—filtered into the 220,600-square-foot tent, designed by the London-based architecture firm A Studio Between, for the VIP preview, where 160 international galleries offered a broad palette of work.
Like many other international art happenings, the works and the events spilled beyond the host venue into the city. The late artist Carolee Schneemann’s ambitiously radical oeuvre was on view at her New York gallery P.P.O.W’s booth and also presented at the multidisciplinary art hub Barbican Centre, which dedicated its program to female empowerment. Included in the survey was Iranian artist Soheila Sokhanvari’s portraits of 27 women, tied to her nation’s revolution. The timely show honored the likes of actress Roohangiz Saminejad and poet Forough Farrokhzad. “The bravery and resilience of the ‘Rebel Rebel’ women and their sisters of the past is the genetic source for these lionesses that are in the streets of Iran right now, standing in front of machine guns with their hair uncovered chanting, ‘Woman, Life, Freedom’,” Sokhanvari told Galerie.