October 04 2011
Now in its 13th year, Art London has gained a reputation for warmth and inclusiveness alongside showing and selling some serious international contemporary and historical art for both seasoned and first-time buyers. Unlike the magnificent leviathan that Frieze Art Fair has become (with more than 60,000 attendees), Art London is more intimate, having lured just over 16,000 visitors to its marquee at Royal Hospital Chelsea last year.
This year, featured emerging artists include Emma Hack, who will put on live performances of body painting, plus Tom Leighton and Alastair Gibson. At the other end of the scale, a Picasso drawing is offered, as are works by LS Lowry and Sir Alfred Munnings. My eye has already been caught by Phuong Quoc Tri’s Portrait of a Woman 41 – an image of a contemplative, down-gazing, beautiful young woman with broad brushstrokes and paint dripping down the canvas that might draw comparisons with Tretchikoff – as well as Augustus John’s portrait Gitana (second picture) and Aleix Plademunt’s Espectadores 12.
Add to all this Art London’s work with charity partners – this year’s include Survival International (an organisation that helps protect the lives, land and human rights of tribal people) and Blue Sky Healing Home (a foster home in Beijing that assists with medical care including surgery for orphans and impoverished children) – and you’ll see the attraction.
On that philanthropic note, Ghislain Pascal of the Little Black Gallery has curated some remarkable photographs for a silent auction in aid of Survival International. Images on my must-have list include Duffy’s iconic 1973 photograph of David Bowie as Aladdin Sane (first picture, edition of 100, signed), Sebastião Salgado’s stunning Bushmen of the Kalahari Desert, Botswana, and Terry O’Neill’s Audrey Hepburn (in a swimming pool, 1967). All these can be viewed online now at www.survivalinternational.org/news/art-london (email bids need to be received by October 5) and also on the first day of the fair, October 6, when bids can also be made. Winners will be announced at the charity preview that same evening, with any artworks that don’t meet their reserves open for bids until the end of the fair on October 10.