Frieze London 2022: Russell Tovey reveals his highlights
The actor, art collector and podcaster speaks exclusively to Soho House about everything he’s looking forward to at the capital’s premiere art fair
Tuesday 11 October 2022 By Teo van den Broeke
You probably know Russell Tovey best as an actor – he’s recently finished filming the latest instalment of Ryan Murphy’s cultish American Horror Story – but what you may not know is that he’s also a bit of an art buff.
Alongside his friend, gallerist Robert Diament, Tovey hosts the industry renowned Talk Art podcast (which has featured such luminaries as Tracey Emin, Paul McCarthy and Soho House’s very own Global Director of Art, Kate Bryan), and he’s also an avid collector.
We caught up with Tovey in the lead-up to Frieze London to learn more about what he’s looking forward to seeing most at the art fair and, in turn, all the artists he’s most interested in adding to his collection/ podcast roster asap.
What’s your favourite thing about Frieze, Russell? Why do you keep coming back?
‘I’m an art nut – to have a whole week dedicated to art in my hometown is like Mardi Gras carnival time. Artists keep creating and art is endless, so every year is full of brand-new discoveries.’
Which artists are you most excited about seeing this year and why?
‘Jadé Fadojutimi – she’s taking over the whole Gagosian booth. She recently announced that she’s newly represented by Gagosian gallery and this is her first opportunity with them to shine.
‘Navot Miller and Lindsey Mendick at Carl Freedman Gallery – I recently curated a solo show with Navot at 1969 Gallery in NYC and he recently signed to Carl Freedman Gallery in Margate; he’s made some incredible paintings on show at the booth. And Lindsey Mendick, who will next be seen in the Hayward Gallery’s Strange Clay exhibition, has made some incredible works, including her enthralling and magnetic ceramic pots.
‘Ramesh Mario Nithiyendran at Jhaveri Contemporary gallery – a genius Australia-based artist who works mainly in ceramics. I’m a huge fan and have been following his trajectory closely – even writing the foreword for his first artist’s monograph book Ramesh, which is available at the fair.
‘Hugh Steers at Alexander Gray gallery – to have the opportunity to ever see any of Steers’ work in the flesh is incredibly exciting. Steers died of AIDS in 1995 and his paintings have taken many years to begin to really be appreciated for the genius that he was, deserving of a major museum retrospective soon. His paintings are dignified, authentic and important.
‘Nikita Gale, a very exciting multifaceted LA-based artist, has worked with BMW designers this year for their BMW Lounge Open Work commission. She’s used car technology to imagine and build a group of rock guitars that will be activated at select times during the fair. Also, make sure you check out the final week of her first UK solo exhibition at the Chisenhale Gallery, titled In A Dream You Climb The Stairs.
‘Toyin Ojih Odutola and Shawanda Corbett at Corvi-Mora gallery – they’re both incredible. I’m such a massive fan of both of these artists. And also Tommaso Corvi-Mora, who actually runs the gallery is a wonderful man and an artist in his own right, making insanely good ceramics that I’m lucky enough to own a few examples of.’
Which galleries are the most fruitful to visit and why?
‘Maureen Paley – her programme is fantastic and she always curates a beautiful booth, usually exhibiting a knock-out Rebecca Warren sculpture and Wolfgang Tillmans masterpiece.
‘Herald St gallery – I’ve loved following Herald St for well over a decade. My first big Frieze fair art purchase was with them in 2011 (a big Ida Ekblad painting that I’m about to hang at our house in Margate). They have fantastic new works by Italian-based Rwandan artist Francis Offman and the dreamboat Brooklyn-based Matt Connors.
‘Thaddaeus Ropac always brings the magic – this year I’m excited to see the works of Rachel Jones, which they are showing.
‘Arcadia Missa is also a favourite – I adore Rózsa Farkas who runs the gallery, and her roster and programme is excellent. I’m excited to see works by Lewis Hammond, and also finally the Hannah Quinlan and Rosie Hastings exhibition at Tate Britain for Art Now.’
Tell us about your event.
‘We are doing a Talk Art live event sponsored by Ruinart Champagne with the fascinating, spiritual and incredibly uplifting Danish artist, Jeppe Hein. Expect balloon painting, group breathing exercises and art.’
What sets Frieze London apart from other art fairs? Why should people visit?
‘It’s the perfect storm – London brings an incredibly unique energy to Frieze. Whether it’s cold and raining or mild and autumnal, the tent manages to always pull in the most amazing opportunities to meet fascinating minds and discuss all things art.’
Do you buy art at Frieze? What’s the most meaningful piece you’ve bought and why?
‘Yes, I usually buy something. I’ve been inspired over the years by Sadie Coles HQ gallery. She always goes out of her way to discover someone super emerging and exciting in the Frieze Focus section to acquire, which can be so encouraging and important for the artist and the gallery.’
If our readers should listen to one episode of Talk Art in anticipation of Frieze, which would it be and why?
‘Maureen Paley blessed us with the most brilliant and timely episode last week in the run-up to the fair; she is an art world icon. We also have a BMW-sponsored Nikita Gale episode going out this week, too, and that is fantastic.’