North London's Cultural Guide

Can’t afford Frieze? Visit these free local galleries instead

Within walking distance of the annual Regent's Park art fair are some stimulating options - which all cost zilch

Ryan Trecartin, Still from CENTER JENNY, 2013

Eagle-eyed arty types may have observed that the week-long Frieze Art Show frenzy is in full champagne-clinking swing. The good news is that its accompanying sculpture park is free, so the impecunious can still gawp at the work of twenty exhibitors, including Martin Creed, Yayoi Kusama and Franz West.

But if you’ve done that and don’t fancy paying over £30 for entry into the show itself, why not support some local galleries instead, many of which have extended opening hours this weekend?

As ever, leading the charge is the cavernous Zabludowicz Collection. A new show by Lizzie Fitch and Ryan Trecartin opened earlier this month, exploring the impact of technology on communication and identity. But fear not, it’s not half as dry as it sounds: the whole gallery has been turned into a unified space through the application of “an internal skin” of paint and carpet, and visitors enter a sealed environment. The showpiece? Four movies screened in sculptural theatres, including CENTER JENNY (pictured), set in a post-human future. Prince Of Wales Road, open till 7pm tonight and 11-6pm all weekend. Show runs until Dec 21.

Further south at the DRAF, a rather excellent freebie takes place tonight (Thurs 16 Oct, 7-10 pm). The gallery becomes a live venue with performances from Quinn Latimer and Megan Rooney, Joe Moran, planningtorock, Sarah Lucas, and Eloise Hawser. Free entry will be on a first come first served basis. From 7pm at 13-15 Camden High Street NW1.


Nina Beier

If you can’t make that, the current Nina Beier exhibition at DRAF is operating a special late opening tomorrow (Fri 17 12midday-7.30pm) and Saturday (until 630pm). It’s a 125 square-metre mosaic of ceramic tiles individually printed to imitate concrete, marble and mud; in a surreal twist, boxes of fresh vegetables, hacked flatscreen fireplaces, tangled garden hoses and stacks of handmade carpets (see image, above) are littered around too. Free entry Thurs-Sat, Symes Mews NW1, ends Dec 12

Heathers at Rowing Projects.

And don’t forget the local smaller creative spaces: just near Camden Road overground is the always-interesting Cob Gallery, which features artists Walter Hugo and Zoniel’s Life With and Nature of Interdependence, showcasing the techniques and processes of early photography (until 19th October, open daily 12 – 6pm). If you’re free, why not have breakfast with the artists tomorrow (Friday 17th October) from 9:30am?

Bobbo 2012 acrylic on canvas 60x81cm
Atta Kwami: Bobbo 2012 acrylic on canvas 60x81cm @Beardsmore Gallery

Meanwhile, up at Flaxon Ptootch (237 Kentish Town Road NW5), graphic illustrator Victoria Scott is exhibiting prints and collages with painter Hannah Pratt for their show Geometric Psychedelic (until Oct 31). A skip away, the Beardsmore Gallery (22-24 Prince of Wales Road NW5) sees Ghanaian artist Atta Kwami’s paintings inspired by black African footballers.

And finally, at Rowing Projects, just east of Kentish Town tube, are twenty two works by nine artists using the 1988 US black comedy Heathers as a starting point (see above, 3 Leighton Place NW5, open 12-6pm, daily, until Oct 25).

Phew. You’ll need a decent pint after all that – perhaps from the nearby Rose and Crown, the newish boozy kid on the block.

The Frieze Art Fair runs until Sunday in Regent’s Park. Know of an arty event taking place imminently? Add it to Your Kentishtowner or tell readers about it below

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The award-winning print and online title Kentishtowner was founded in 2010 and is part of London Belongs To Me, a citywide network of travel guides for locals. For more info on what we write about and why, see our About section.