A Night of Culture, Galleries, and Public Art With Kate Bryan
As an art addict I am thrilled when given any excuse to create my own gallery hop and Art of London, in partnership with Mayfair Art Weekend, is delivering an excellent opportunity to make a night of it with Art After Dark. This is a free, seasonal late night culture programme returning on 29th and 30th June which sees world class galleries keeping their doors open until 9pm.
First up on Thursday 29th June are some of London’s best independent commercial galleries including Cristea Roberts, Stern Pissarro and 3812 Gallery are staying open late for you to absorb their cultural treats. On Friday 30th June opening later are the Royal Academy, National Gallery and very excitingly, the National Portrait Gallery, which will be revealing its new look after a three-year refresh programme.
Additionally, Art of London is back again with its striking public art installations and to celebrate the launch of Art After Dark, Piccadilly Circus will be transformed into a tranquil night garden with calming video content screening on the Piccadilly Lights. Created by artist Amelia Kosminsky, it’s a great place to begin your art tour and will be hard to resist capturing some insta content.
I’ve selected some of my highlights and pointed out some good spots to eat and drink and even sleep along the way!
On St James’s a veritable treasure trove of art awaits with a visit to Stern Pissarro. The gallery’s latest show Art on Paper delivers blue chip names like Chagall, Picasso, Matisse, Christo, Kusuma and Calder whilst still being a gorgeously quiet, intimate selection that takes us closer to the masters through drawings and paintings on paper. I loved seeing a different side of Yayoi Kusuma who is world famous and easily the most Instagrammed living artist thanks to the feelgood, photogenic quality of her mirrored Infinity Rooms. Red River Inside my Eyelids is an earlier work from 1975 and is far more sombre in tone that the brightly coloured work she boldly projects now. Works on paper often show us the interior life of the artist working things out, plotting their next big move or simply making swift pieces to work through emotion.
Other works in the exhibition have a more public facing appeal like the fantastic drawings by the late great Christo known for his ‘wrapping’ pieces made with his artist partner and wife Jeanne-Claude. Never simply sketches, these works on paper are manifestations of huge ideas that often took decades to realise such as the Wrapped Reichstag (Project for Berlin), a powerful work on paper made with pencil, fabric, twine, charcoal, map, and wax crayon on board that dates from 1979. The project was finally realised – by which I mean they audaciously wrapped the entire German parliamentary building in 100,000 square meters of silver fabric!! – in 1995 nearly two decades later. So, this piece is like a promise for future masterpiece. The feeling of stepping back in time to commune with these artists is certainly heightened by visiting out of the gallery’s normal opening hours with the daytime rush of the West End on pause.
Cristea Roberts is one of my favourite independent galleries in London, a specialist in works on paper, multiples and editions from some of the world’s greatest artists. Their latest exhibition brings together to remarkable talents to focus on the late works of Etel Adnan (1925 - 2021) and Howard Hodgkin (1932 - 2017). Both artists enjoyed long careers and continually pushed the boundaries between abstraction and figuration. You’ll notice straight away they were both innovative colorists and created evocative work into their older years. This show features over 40 prints which come from the estates of Adnan and Hodgkin. Movingly, one area of the exhibition includes some of the final work ever made by the artists. Although the two artists never worked together, it’s a compelling combination and a refreshing take on two giants of the twentieth century.
London’s West End is where many of the world’s great cultures meet. 3812 Gallery specialise in Chinese Contemporary Art and this June are hosting the first solo show in the UK for a rising star of the Chinese art scene, Qian Wu. His exhibition Black and Blue demonstrates his talent for combining Eastern and Western influences and modes of working. Born in 1991 in Xiamen, Qian Wu studied traditional Chinese brush painting but also studied in America, drawing influence from the Abstract Expressionists Franz Kline and Hans Hofmann. He arrives in London after having been listed as Forbes China 30 under 30 as well as being included in the Forbes China Global 100 Outstanding Chinese list in 2022. You’ll remember that you saw him here first!
© Stern Pissarro Gallery
@ Cristea Roberts Gallery
20.06.2023 - 5 months ago