Galerie names Ming Smith one of 10 artists to rediscover

Ming Smith

Untitled (Grace Jones in Ballet Costume), 1975

gelatin silver print

16 x 20 inches

By Paul Laster



The Spotlight section of Frieze Masters, which opens for previews in London on October 2 and to the public October 4, highlights the work of 24  artists from the 20th century who are ripe for rediscovery. This year, the solo presentations were selected by Laura Hoptman, executive director of the Drawing Center in New York.


Over the past five years, this highly anticipated section of Frieze Masters in London and Frieze New York has brought the work of overlooked artists to worldwide attention. Some notable names include Carol Rama, who was later celebrated with a New Museum survey in 2017; Carolee Schneemann, who gained a retrospective at MoMA PS1 last year; and Betye Saar, whom MoMA will survey with an in-depth solo exhibition in October.


“The Spotlight section brings together some of the most fascinating figures working in the mediums of painting, photography, sculpture, drawing, and conceptual art,” Hoptman told Galerie in advance of the fair. “From photographers Gordon Parks and Ming Smith to German artist K. P. Brehmer to the radical Canadian collective General Idea, this edition offers both revelations and confirmations of the depth and richness of art history of the last century.”


Among the many mediums and variety of works that will be on view, we have picked ten exceptional artists that are being “spotlighted” for the first time at the fair. Read on for our top picks below.


Ming Smith at Jenkins Johnson Gallery


Purportedly the first black female photographer to have her work collected by the Museum of Modern Art in New York, Ming Smith (b. circa 1951) graduated from Howard University in 1973 and then moved to New York, where she got her introduction to photography through modeling. Most often considered in the context of Gordon Parks and Roy DeCarava, who were members of the black photography collective Kamoinge and where Smith was the only female member, she’s celebrated for the humanity that she sensitively captured in her subjects. She’s made her mark with black-and-white street photography and candid portraits of important black cultural figures, including Grace Jones, Tina Turner, and Sun Ra, who are all featured in the pictures on view in the gallery’s Spotlight presentation.