Tate, the powerhouse museum network based in London, has named the works it has acquired from the Frieze London art fair, which runs through this Sunday.
While the offerings at Frieze range from new pieces by younger artists to more expensive works by blue-chip ones with cemented careers, Tate’s acquisitions from the fair tend toward the cutting-edge and the lesser-known. The purchase of these nine works was made possible via a £150,000 fund facilitated by Endeavor, the Hollywood talent agency that owns Frieze.
Since Frieze London’s inception in 2003, Tate has purchased 160 works at the fair, including pieces by Jack Whitten, Leonor Antunes, Lorna Simpson, Johanna Unzueta, and Rene Matić.
“As Frieze Art Fair celebrates its 20th year, it is wonderful to look back at the many outstanding works Tate has acquired here since 2003,” Tate director Maria Balshaw said in a statement. “Those works have since been enjoyed by millions of visitors to Tate’s galleries, and they will be cared for and shared with the public for generations to come.”
She continued, “Thanks to Endeavor’s support, I am delighted that we can continue that tradition today by welcoming yet another brilliant selection of works into the collection.”
Three of the five artists whose work Tate purchased from the fair hail from Asia and Latin America; two of the five are dead artists whose art has gone under-recognized in mainstream institutions.
Below, a look at some of the works acquired by Tate at Frieze London 2023.
Tate acquired four works by Adam Farah-Saad from Public Gallery’s booth, which featured some of the British artist’s “momentations,” sculptural pieces that evoke queer and marginalized communities without rendering any people present. One sculpture that Tate acquired formed from poppers and wind chimes; another, seen above, features KA Black Grape soda that drains into a sink modeled on one found in the men’s bathrooms of the Wood Green shopping center in London.
Both a large wallpaper and a video by South Korean artist Ayoung Kim were acquired from Gallery Hyundai’s booth, which was selected as one of the best at the fair by ARTnews. The video, Delivery Dancer’s Sphere (2022), follows Ernst Mo, a female delivery worker in Seoul as she navigates the city while also fulfilling the demands of an algorithm called Dancemaster.
I Gusti Ayu Kadek Murniasih
I Gusti Ayu Kadek Murniasih, a Balinese painter better known as Murni, had a short artistic career—she died just before turning 40 of ovarian cancer in 2006—but her work may soon enter the canon with this acquisition by Tate via Gajah Gallery. In her paintings, she tested gender norms for women, alluding in the process to her sexual abuse as a childhood.
Santiago Yahuarcani, a community leader of the Uitoto peoples in Peru, produces the barkcloth that he used for this work himself by wielding a machete in the forest near where he lives, making it into a pulp, and then creating a type of raw paper. The dyes, too, utilized in this painting, bought by Tate from Crisis Gallery, were made Yahuarcani.
“Tessa Boffin was one of the leading lesbian artists in Great Britain during the AIDS Crisis, but you’ve likely never heard of her,” Hyperallergic wrote in 2019. Tate’s acquisition of five prints from Hales Gallery’s booth suggests a changing reputation for the artist, who died just before turning 33 in 1993. Earlier this year, Hales mounted an exhibition at its New York location focusing on the final four years of Boffin’s career.