There's always a veritable tonne of reasons to head down to St. James's, from fine dining to unique shopping experiences (not to mention a trip to Favourbrook), but right now there is a plethora of art exhibitions to whet your creative sensibilities. With some of the most renowned art galleries in the world all nestled cheek by jowl, we're never short of artistic inspiration and education, so we've selected some of our favourite current and upcoming exhibitions in and around the neighbourhood that you should put on your must-see list. Enjoy!
Philip Mould Gallery: Charleston - The Bloomsbury Muse
14th September - 10th November 2021
Our next door neighbour Mr Philip Mould has one of the most interesting galleries in St. James's and always boasts a remarkable array of British classics. At the moment, his gallery walls are treating us to the works of Duncan Grant and Vanessa Bell, stalwarts of the Bloomsbury group, that "liberal band of artists, writers and intellectuals, allied through their political ideals, love of fierce intellectual debate and stance on sexual freedom." Their artistic theories and experiments refashioned the landscape of British Modernism.
The exhibition focuses on their time spent at Charleston in East Sussex, at the foot of the South Downs. Throughout the interwar years, it became a weekend and holiday retreat. Gradually, throughout the 20th Century, Charleston became a hub of artistic innovation for the Bloomsbury Group.
"Vanessa and Duncan's enduring attachment to their home at Charleston, its idyllic surroundings, and constant flow of visitors can be witnessed through their art. Beginning with radical modern works influenced by European trends, this exhibition presents over thirty-five years of astonishing artistic productivity. Charleston was not just the Bloomsbury Group's country retreat, but an empowering muse for their collaborative, progressive social self-expression."
The African Art Series - Bvlgari Hotel
We can think of worse places to go and view art than the Bvlgari Hotel, especially when you can lubricate your artistic cogs with a cocktail or three from the Nolita Social bar. But before the martinis take full effect, drop into the ballroom and check out the African Art Series pop-up event, which celebrates a diverse collection of contemporary African art, including works by acclaimed Nigerian artist Ben Enwonwu alongside Ghanaian sculptor El Anatsui, plus many others.
Part of a series, this first event is only running for the duration of this weekend so don't delay. Register for a viewing by clicking here.
Royal Academy Summer Exhibition
22 September 2021 — 2 January 2022
An annual favourite, the Royal Academy’s acclaimed Summer Exhibition this year featuring over 1,300 works selected by artist Yinka Shonibare alongside a panel of artists. The theme for 2021 is ‘Reclaiming Magic’, with works from the likes of Njideka Akunyili Crosby, Michael Armitage, Jade Montserrat, Rita Keegan and Alvaro Barrington. Don't miss Shonibare's Robot Painting by Rob and Nick Carter, which is the world’s first artwork to go from blank canvas to finished painting without being touched by human hands.
Beano: The Art of Breaking the Rules
21 October - 6 March 2022
Rule breakers and status quo challengers will absolutely love this one! At the end of the month, our friends down the Strand at Somerset House are allowing you to step into the pages of the comic and take a trip into Beanotown to explore how this beloved icon of British comics has fired up successive generations to break the rules, while discovering artists who push boundaries in their own original and wonderful ways.
The exhibition is curated by artist and lifelong Beano fan Andy Holden, who gathers today’s greatest creative rule-breakers, including writers, musicians, painters, sculptors and photographers. Each creative revels in their own spirit of rebellion and contributors include Sarah Lucas, Hardeep Pandhal, Phyllida Barlow, pop star Chris Sievey (otherwise known by his alter-ego Frank Sidebottom), Martin Creed, Heather Phillipson, Ryan Gander, Jann Haworth, Emma Hart, editorial cartoonist Martin Rowson, Rene Matić, Bedwyr Williams and many more. New works include a recording featuring young fiction writer Alex Wheatle, a comic strip from artist Nicola Lane and a neon sculpture from Simeon Barclay.