New York-based artist Precious Okoyomon is the winner of the 2021 Frieze Artist Award. Supported by the Luma Foundation, the award presents a major opportunity for an emerging artist to debut an ambitious new commission at Frieze New York. Launched in 2018, the initiative furthers the established program of Artist Award commissions at Frieze London. Previous recipients of the award at Frieze New York include Lauren Halsey and Kapwani Kiwanga.
This year, Frieze New York will take place for the first time at The Shed in Manhattan, from May 5 – 9, 2021. The fair is supported by global lead partner Deutsche Bank, continuing a shared commitment to artistic excellence.
Okoyomon’s commission was selected by a jury chaired by Jenny Schlenzka (Executive Artistic Director at Performance Space New York), and featuring Ralph Lemon (Artistic Director, Cross Performance), Vassilis Oikonomopoulos (Senior Curator, Luma Arles), and Stuart Comer (Chief Curator of Media and Performance Art, MOMA).
‘In recent years, the Frieze Artist Award in New York and Luma Foundation have debuted significant large scale sculptures by leading international artists. In 2021, we could not be more excited to work with an exceptional New Yorker, Precious Okoyomon on realizing their live project in collaboration with The Shed. It has been hugely beneficial to work with Jenny Schlenzka of Performance Space, a leading institution moving boundaries in New York, and our expert jury who are the world’s tastemakers in performance art amongst much more.’Loring Randolph, Director of Programming for Frieze New York
For Frieze New York 2021, Okoyomon will present a performance-activated installation conceived specifically for The Shed. Extending their practice, Okoyomon’s work will aim to create what the artist describes as ‘a portal for a space of fragilization.’ Convening poetry, sensory elements, sculpture, light, and sound, the work will celebrate self-expression and champion the value of shared, collective experience. The performance will be filmed and streamed online at Frieze.com from May 5 onwards, allowing audiences across the globe to engage with the project.
The Frieze New York commission will coincide with Okoyomon’s exhibition, FRAGMENTED BODY PERCEPTIONS AS HIGHER VIBRATION FREQUENCIES TO GOD, an installation that uses Kudzu ash, water, algae, moss, stone to transform Performance Space New York into a site for grief, mourning, and catharsis, from March 20 through to May 9, 2021. In addition, they will debut a major commission at The Aspen Art Museum (AAM), from June 10, 2021 through to October 16, 2022.
About the Artist
Precious Okoyomon is a poet, chef and artist living in New York City. They make portals into new worlds. Okoyomon has had institutional solo exhibitions at the Luma Westbau in Zurich (2018), and at the MMK in Frankfurt (2020), major performances commissioned by the Serpentine Galleries, London (2019) and the Institute of Contemporary Art, London (2019), and was an artist-in-residence at Luma Arles (2020). Okoyomon’s second book, But Did U Die?, is forthcoming from The Serpentine Galleries/Wonder Press in 2021.