This year, The Royal Academy of Arts celebrates its 250th Summer Exhibition. To mark this momentous occasion, art by Academicians is spilling out onto the streets of London’s West End for the very first time, with installations of flags designed by four internationally renowned artists.
Taking place from the 5th June and running throughout July, in partnership with Heart of London, New West End Company and The Crown Estate, the installations include over 200 flags which are displayed throughout Bond Street, Piccadilly, Regent Street, and Regent Street St James’s. The project will enable Londoners and visitors alike to experience new ways of encountering art and architecture for free, in the heart of one of the world’s great creative cities.
Royal Academicians Cornelia Parker, Grayson Perry, Joe Tilson and Rose Wylie, will transform the streets of London with their individual and bespoke flag designs. Regent Street will be home to 100 of these flags, designed by renowned Pop-artist Joe Tilson RA, whose flags take inspiration from the historical architecture and churches of Venice, a theme he has been exploring for the past ten years and that is echoed in the architecture of Regent Street.
For the Bond Street flags, Rose Wylie RA has drawn on her most recent body of work, Lolita’s House, which was on display at David Zwirner, London, between 20 April – 25 May. The title references a house across the street from Wylie’s Kent home in the 1970s, where the neighbour’s teenage daughter would often wash her car in the driveway. It continues her ongoing fascination with the shifting nature of memory and the multi-layered external associations that become attached to it over time.
Taking over Piccadilly are Grayson Perry RA’s 30 flags. The artist explained that he wanted his designs to “be like a series of doodles and sketches that just came about spontaneously”. The main influence of his style is from Asafo flags traditionally made by the Fante people of West Africa.
For Regent Street St James’s, Cornelia Parker RA’s designs are taken from her One Day This Glass Will Break series, which takes the familiar every day object and pushes it to point of abstraction. All artists’ work will additionally be on display in the RA Summer Exhibition 2018.
Tim Marlow, Artistic Director, Royal Academy of Arts, said:
“What a wonderful opportunity for four great Royal Academicians to be allowed to stage an epic intervention above the hallowed streets of London’s West End. This will therefore be the most expansive Summer Exhibition in our 250-year history.”
Justine Simons, Deputy Mayor for Culture and Creative Industries, said:
“The RA’s 250th anniversary is a landmark moment, and London’s West End collaboration brings Royal Academicians such as Grayson Perry and Rose Wylie to the streets of London. Culture is at the heart of London’s success – art and creativity in the capital drives tourism, improves the quality of our lives, and brings us all together.”