SUM­MER IN THE CITY

Dis­cover the most in­trigu­ing cre­ators and cu­ra­tors at the May­fair Art Week­end

Harper's Bazaar (UK) - - Contents - By FRANCES HEDGES

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)

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