SUMMER IN THE CITY
Discover the most intriguing creators and curators at the Mayfair Art Weekend
The delights of Mayfair Art Weekend
Ever since the Royal Academy of Arts relocated from Trafalgar Square to Piccadilly’s Burlington House in 1867, Mayfair has been the epicentre of the London art scene. In the early 20th century, Cork Street became a creative hub: it was here that everyone from Francis Bacon to Paul Klee were shown for the first time in Britain, and leading collectors including Peggy Guggenheim opened commercial galleries. While the 1990s saw some venues migrate eastwards, Mayfair and St James’s have attracted the highest-profile openings of the past decade – among them Pace Gallery, Gagosian Grosvenor Hill and Phillips auction house – culminating in the long-anticipated unveiling of the Royal Academy’s new building on Burlington Gardens last month. Its chief executive Charles Saumarez Smith expects the launch to ‘reinforce the experience of art and culture as being at the heart of Mayfair’s economy’.
Celebrating its 250th anniversary this year, the Royal Academy is one of more than 40 venues taking part in the fifth annual edition of the Mayfair Art Weekend. From self-guided tours, which give visitors out-of-hours access to local galleries and boutiques, to the drop-in lunchtime artists’ conversations on Burlington Gardens, the events programme will reflect the area’s thriving arts scene. ‘We never sit still here,’ says the renowned art dealer David Zwirner, who opened his London outpost on Grafton Street in 2012. ‘There’s always something new to see and someone new to discover.’
Trailblazing creative women will be in the spotlight over the weekend. The artist Rose Wylie has designed a series of flags to be suspended above Bond Street, where the stores are to be brought to life with unique window installations, while Victoria Beckham will showcase established and emerging artists in her Mayfair boutique. Work by two of the women on the shortlist for the Max Mara Art Prize go on display at the Italian fashion house’s Old Bond Street branch, which is also hosting a talk by the Whitechapel Gallery’s director Iwona Blazwick. Elsewhere, Dover Street’s Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac is paying tribute to three female pioneers of the avant-garde movement: Rosemarie Castoro, Lydia Okumura and Wanda Czelkowska. ‘These outstanding artists represent three distinct cultural geographies united in one dialogue,’ says the gallery’s senior global director Julia Peyton-Jones, ‘and this echoes the way in which the concentrated area of Mayfair offers such a diverse range of art.’
The Mayfair Art Weekend (www. mayfairartweekend.com) runs from 29 June to 1 July.
Clockwise from left: Rose Wylie’s 2015 Bazaar Art cover. ‘The Great Escape’ (2017) by Deborah Azzopardi. Wylie’s ‘YellowGirls I’ (2017)