Oh, London! I don’t think many of us have felt more at the beating (palpitating) heart of the action than we have over the past few weeks. As our island bobs on this choppy sea, and the rats abandon ship at an astonishing rate, many people in our city attempt to set it apart from the rest, for better or worse. The demonstration on Saturday 2 July was a largely peaceful, happy affair, but charged with political conviction and fervour: placards reading “S.O.S.” and “I will always love EU” were humorous pleas to those on the continent not to leave us behind.
But life goes on! And, as ever, Art can give us pause for thought, cause for doubt, outlets for frustrations, talking points… Also on Saturday in London was the inaugural Art Night. Inspired by Paris’ Nuit Blanche, this year’s event, hosted by the ICA, saw the Duke of York steps taken over by choirs, waltzing couples, and human rabbits. The events and happenings continued at the admiralty arch, down to an abandoned Jubilee line underground platform where Koo Jeoung A had created a multi-sensory installation, up again to the church at Aldwych, on to Somerset House and several other venues. It was a quirky, lively, and at times bizarre night, which was just what we all needed.
Also this week was London Art Week, a collaboration of specialist art galleries around Mayfair and St. James’ celebrating pre-Contemporary Art. My favourites included a beautiful watercolour by Leonard Tsuguharu Foujita, Les Tulipes, 1920 at the Aktis Gallery, part of their exhibition ‘Inter-War Paris: Works of Paper’, a Bugatti hippo shown at Sladmore Gallery and a portrait of Charles II by Cornelius Johnson at The Weiss Gallery, celebrating 30 years of the gallery.
Continuing in full swing are Masterpiece London and the Old Masters sales at Christie's and Sotheby’s. By all accounts, the current downturn in the pound is stimulating international sales for the time being, so we await with interest the results from this week.