St James's London - Art All Weekend Long

Art & Theatre

Art All Weekend Long

The biggest ever Mayfair Art Weekend is imminent. We speak to organiser Victoria Luxem for her tips on how to make the most of it

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What do you feel is special about Mayfair Art Weekend?

It’s for all; it completely democratises the arts. Anyone, whether an art aficionado or someone with an untapped curiosity can join in the free events. It’s a chance to wander around the historic, beautiful streets of St James’s and Mayfair, discover some of the smaller galleries you may not usually explore, engage in artist-led discussions and enjoy some delicious street food. We have a wonderful team of over 45 volunteers – art students and recent graduates – on hand to offer advice, recommendations and enthusiastic art-related chatter.

How are things shaping up in 2018?

As with any kind of initiative, these things take time to grow. The event is now in its fifth year and feels bigger than ever. It has so much more energy now, with amazing partners involved. We are now in our second year partnering with the Royal Academy of Arts, which is busy celebrating its 250th anniversary (see p. 4-5) and this has naturally given us more gravitas, and also more scope to grow. The courtyard at The RA is the hub for all this year’s events. We open with the free Gallery HOP!, where visitors can take a self-led route across the area’s many galleries, with cocktails courtesy of Sipsmith Gin and Fevertree.

This year, a new element is the Long Artists’ Lunch on Sunday afternoon, where Burlington Gardens will be temporarily pedestrianised to accommodate an afternoon of delicious food, art and lively conversation. It’s hosted by British artist and Royal Academician Patrick Brill, better known by his pseudonym Bob and Roberta Smith, with lunch served on a 15-metre- long surrealist art themed tablescape complete with lobster chairs designed by duo Philip and Charlotte Colbert.

What else should we keep an eye out for in St James’s?

There is so much to select from, but I’m particularly looking forward to Georgina Adam and Stephanie Dieckvoss in conversation on the topic: Is Faking on the Rise. Also, The Mall Galleries exploration of The Art of Collecting, with works from various majors including the Fleming and the Jerwood collections. Christo and Jean Claude, A Life of Projects will be exhibited at Stern Pissarro, 66 St James’s Street complementing the great Mastaba project on The Serpentine Lake, where you can learn how the artists imagined and funded their amazing temporary projects by selling drawings. Lacerated Rhythms at Whitford Fine Art, 6 Duke Street, explores the work of French Abstract Painter Caziel, while Stoppenbach and Delstre at 17 Ryder Street will be exhibiting French works.

Richard Prince, Early Joke Paintings, will be on show at The Skarstedt Gallery, 8 Bennet Street, and finally Christie’s will be providing a friendly welcome and allowing visitors to see inside the great rooms of this famous auction house. But mostly I just enjoy wandering the streets, which will be abuzz with people, from young art students to families, hopefully all discovering things that will inspire them in the years to come.