Art

London-Art-Galleries

Anarchy In Knightsbridge!

As if cocking a snook at the surrounding glitz and glamour, I found this anarchic gem of a window by Gina on Sloane Street. Riffing on the iconic 1977 Jamie Reid “Never Mind The Bollocks, Here’s The Sex Pistols” album cover, Gina are clearly having a tongue-in-cheek moment with their “God Save Gina”, and “Anarchy In Knightsbridge” tag lines.

What an appropriate way to merge the heritage of the nearby King’s Road and the Sex Pistols’ fashion connection with Vivienne Westwood to Her Majesty The Queen’s 90th birthday. Full marks to Gina for creativity and humour, my favourite combo.

Of course, when the original artwork for the Sex Pistols’ album came out it was hugely controversial. The record sleeve was originally intended to read “God Save Sex Pistols”, but  just before its release Steve Jones – the Pistols’ only functioning guitarist – provided an admonishment he’d overheard from a pair of fans and replaced it with “Never mind the bollocks”, meaning “stop talking rubbish”. Many of the mainstream record stores refused to carry the album, album charts refused to list it, and shops refused to display the artwork in their windows on grounds that the word “bollocks” was offensive.

Eventually the band was taken to court under the antiquated obscenity laws of the day, but were able to prove that in the context of the album sleeve it means something akin to “nonsense”. On trial for indecency and inciting moral outrage, they were acquitted on all counts.

Jamie Reid broke down the conventions of record sleeve design by pointedly not including a shot of the band on the cover. Instead, opting for an acid yellow background as offensive to the eye as possible and crudely cut out lettering. An artist’s two fingered salute to the storied traditions of typesetting and commercial graphic design.

The lurid yellow album sleeve, the ripped and safety-pinned Union Flag poster for “Anarchy In The UK” established an unforgettable visual aesthetic for the punk movement. A design language that was provocative and unsettling at the time has mellowed with age, and has become as comfortable and familiar as a favourite armchair. But it’s worth noting that this most recognisable of brand languages almost never saw the light of day. Amid a storm of controversy the Sex Pistols were dropped by their label A&M on the eve of the album’s release, resulting in thousands of already pressed “God Save The Queen” singles being destroyed. The band were subsequently rejected by CBS, Polydor, Pye and Decca until finally an eleventh-hour deal was struck with Richard Branson. With the ink still wet on their contract with Virgin, the record was rushed into production.

I’m not sure what Jamie Reid would make of the modern day commercial derivatives of his groundbreaking graphic art. Reid was involved with the Situationists, an appropriately left-wing anti-authoritarian movement attempting to critique capitalism. But then again, although shunned by the big retailers, the album sold extremely well through independent record shops in exchange for capitalist money tokens. So perhaps by now he’d regard Gina’s window with good humour and marvel at his design’s long-lived cachet.

I’d known about BADA Fair long before I’d visited it for the first time last year. I’ve always regarded this annual event on Duke of York Square as the go-to for the interior design industry as well as individuals who are serious about antiques and fine art. This hasn’t changed. But what is different about BADA Fair 2016 is the recent appointment of Madeleine Williams. I’ve had the privilege of meeting Madeleine over coffee and to say I’m excited about the refreshed energy running through BADA is an understatement.

BADA Fair

I’d also considered BADA Fair as somewhere the OH’s mother goes to pick up a beautiful piece of antique furniture, I hadn’t realised until recently that you’re as likely to come across a Warhol or even a Banksy as you are a piece of Victorian jewellery or antique rug. Looking around you really get a feel that you are amongst the best.

BADA Fair

I had to take a snapshot of this parrot because it made me think of the man with the two macaws always on his shoulders as he walks around Chelsea and Fulham.

BADA Fair

Beaux Arts London also impressed me last year and I had to make a beeline for their stand this year. I find their Modern British sculptures both striking and beautiful and their paintings exciting. There’s a fresh perspective on the world when you discover the artists here.

BADA Fair

Each time I visit (and I’ll certainly be popping in again before BADA Fair ends for another year on March 15th), I discover another beautiful gem, striking painting or stylish piece of furniture. So my advice when planning a visit is to give yourself some time to browse and take in the exquisite details. If you love antiques, fine art or design you will be in for an indulgent treat.

Chelsea Girl

The Serpentine Gallery’s Summer Pavilion is now open and with such glorious weather over the weekend, I eagerly made a visit with the OH and Little Man.

Serpentine Gallery Summer Pavilion 2015 Designed by Selgascano

This year’s installation was designed by José Selgas and Lucía Cano who together make up Selgascano. Established in Madrid where the majority of their buildings have been commissioned, these architects have created a vibrant and exciting structure for Kensington Gardens.

Serpentine Gallery Summer Pavilion 2015 Designed by Selgascano

And with the pavilion being used for private events, especially for the fashion industry, I wasn’t surprised when I stumbled upon an impromptu photo shoot.
Serpentine Gallery Summer Pavilion 2015 Designed by Selgascano

As well as feeding the photographer’s compulsion to snap away at every detail in sight, this structure is also a real joy to walk around. Little Man had a field day running around as did plenty of other kids, which was fantastic to see. Crossing Kensington Gardens, Little Man was keen to visit ‘the playground’ so when we arrived at the pavilion I explained that this was an architectural playground. And in a moment he ran off with OH running after him.
Serpentine Gallery Summer Pavilion 2015 Designed by Selgascano

There is plenty for everyone to appreciate with this year’s pavilion. I think it has a lot to do with the myriad of shapes and colours.

Serpentine Gallery Summer Pavilion 2015 Designed by Selgascano

Serpentine Gallery Summer Pavilion 2015 Designed by Selgascano

There are also cafés inside and outside so if you want to linger around this psychedelic wonderland for a while longer you can.

Serpentine Gallery Summer Pavilion 2015 Designed by Selgascano

I have generally been a fan of most summer installations at The Serpentine Gallery but this year’s pavilion feels particularly inspiring. It’s always great to see a burst of colour on the London landscape.

Chelsea Girl

If you have any spare time between now and 2nd May 2015, I urge you to visit the Saatchi Gallery for an exhibition that is truly full of wonder and surprise.

Hermès Wanderland is pure escapism whether you are an ardent fan of Hermès or someone who has been secretly longing for a trip down the rabbit hole ever since you picked up a copy of Alice in Wonderland.

Hermès Wanderland at Saatchi Gallery

From the moment I stepped into the exhibition I couldn’t help but be in awe of every detail in every room and on every corridor.
Hermès Wanderland at Saatchi Gallery

Even more , I’ve had to think carefully about which photos I was ready to share from the exhibition because I do think the less you know about Hermès Wanderland, the more you will get from it. But from the two photos I have selected, I hope I have conveyed another exciting concept from the exhibition, that the visitor is immersed in the art. You walk through it and you become part of it which is reflective in what is described as flânerie: “that wonderfully liberating art of urban wandering”, which is “second nature to Hermès.”Hermès Wanderland at Saatchi GalleryFor more information about Hermès Wanderland, if you can’t resist, see Saatchi Gallery’s webpage here. And one last note, the exhibition is free. Now there’s no excuse. 😉

Chelsea Girl

This is a long overdue post and one that is still worth writing because there is still time to pop into Pradasphere at Harrods.

Prada at Harrods

But in case you don’t make it to the 4th floor of Harrods by May 29th 2014, here are some snapshots to give you a taste of the fabulousness of this Prada exhibition.

Prada at Harrods

Prada at Harrods

The exhibition is divided into sections akin to the Natural History Museum with the first area to explore being Origins.

Prada at Harrods

And as you make your way around this space, which is normally known as the Georgian Restaurant, you discover the evolution of the Prada brand.

The whole thing is really quite amazing and I love the original Prada artefacts on display …Prada at Harrods

Prada at Harrods

Prada at Harrods… as well as these beauties which give you a chance to browse past editorials. These books are especially stunning and if you have the time to take to look through them, I would suggest doing so. (Unfortunately, I arrived at the countdown to closing time and so attempted a quick flick through.)

Prada at Harrods

Prada at HarrodsOf course, there are also accessories and clothes on display …

Prada at Harrods

Prada at Harrods

Prada at Harrods

Prada at Harrods

Prada at Harrods

Prada at Harrods

… which include the beautiful dress from The Great Gatsby.

Prada at HarrodsThere is also a Prada timeline which gives you details on landmark dates as well as the names of artists, which the Prada Foundation has nurtured over time.

Prada at Harrods

They include, Sam Taylor-Wood …

Prada at Harrods… Anish Kapoor …Prada at Harrods… and Laurie Anderson.

Prada at HarrodsThere is also a screening room which shows short films by Prada. I didn’t have a chance to see them this time round but it gives me a reason to pop in again.

In fact, this exhibition has something for everyone which is testimony to how influential Prada has been over the years in the arts and in the case of the Prada Transformer, architecture …

Prada Transformer… as well as food, with the Marchesi Café. You can read about my lunch, here.

Marchesi Café at Harrods

The whole exhibition was a revelation. I walked in thinking I knew what to expect and I walked out with layers of knowledge which were all a complete surprise to me. This is a great exhibition!

Prada at HarrodsHarrods, 87-135 Brompton Rd, London SW1X 7XL.

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