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Celebration of art in London


Artists took over the heart of London’s Mayfair district this weekend. The Royal Academy was festooned with banners and balloons. Tim Marlow, Vanessa Jackson, Charles Saumarez Smith and Kate Goodwin hosted “On the Beanbag,” a series of informal conversations with artists, gallerists and initiatives such as ARTiculation – a forum for young people to express their ideas on art.

The Royal Academy was among more than 60 galleries – some hidden away- which had opened up for Mayfair Art Weekend. There were lectures by artists, gallery tours, drawing workshops for adults and children and a range of other activities.

The West Yard, normally out of bounds to the public, was used to house a new collaborative installation by London-based artists Frank Kent and Jonathan Kipps.

A boutique on Burlington Arcade was transformed by Adele Morse for her exhibition: “Oh Brother Where Art Thou 2: Exhibition files.” Meanwhile, artist in-residence Murray O’Grady was in the basement generating a body of work through writing, photography, digital design, print and collage.

Children’s workshop at the Royal Academy

Visitors to a pop-up bookstore at David Zwirner were able to browse for books as well as the gallery’s current exhibition.

One of the highlights was a talk by the great-grandson of the celebrated Impressionist, Camille Pissarro, about the passion for art which has passed down from generation to generation.

Some of the works featured had never been shown in the UK before. These included Adolf Luther’s epic installation, Focusing Room (1968), on loan from the Museum of Modern Art in Goslar, Germany. This was a complex setup comprising twenty concave mirrors arranged on sets of five on a wooden table and spot-lit from above.

 Lionel Pissarro talking about his great grandfather

You could experience art in a new perspective on tours led by Gallery Directors, exploring themes like “Women in the Arts” and “Contemporary Art in its many forms” followed by a three-course lunch at the HIX Mayfair with wine pairings, surrounded by works by artists like Tracey Emin and Bridget Riley. There was even the opportunity to try the weekend’s specially created cocktail: “Less is MAW.” If you did not have time for a tour, HIX Mayfair offered an art themed all day menu, inspired by dishes from Damien Hirst’s and Mark Hix’s Pharmacy 2 restaurant.

There was something for everyone with an interest in art whether you were an expert or just a passer-by. If the weekend whetted your appetite for art which is lively and accessible, there is always next year to look forward to.

The author, Rita Payne, is a Journalist and Media Adviser, as well as President Emeritus of the Commonwealth Journalists Association. All photos and article © Rita Payne.

PHOTO: Royal Academy Courtyard

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About the author

Rita Payne - special to eTN