In celebration of 250 Years of Art, The Royal Academy of Arts and London’s West End have commissioned four celebrated artists to design street flags in each of their characteristic styles. Grayson Perry and Rose Wylie are joined by Joe Tilson and Cornelia Parker to inject some colour and creativity into London’s busy streets.
The installation is made up of 200 flags and will be on view throughout Bond Street, Piccadilly, Regent Street and Regent Street St James’s. Half of these flags will be on display in Regent Street and have been designed by pop-artist Joe Tilson. Influenced by Venice’s urban landscape, Tilson has incorporated ecclesiastic architecture into his designs to reference Regent Street’s Venice-inspired buildings.
Rosie Wylie’s flags have taken over Bond Street. In her designs, Wylie builds on her most recent body of work, Lolita’s House, which was exhibited at David Zwirner last month. Rose’s work draws on various cultural artefacts like film, fashion photography and sports and explores the ever-changing aspect of memory.
Grayson Perry has designed 30 of the RA’s flags for Piccadilly, which he wanted to resemble “a series of doodles and sketches that just came about spontaneously”. His cites West African Asafo flags as his main influence. Meanwhile, Regent Street St James’s will be transformed by Cornelia Parker’s artworks taken from her One Day This Glass Will Break series in which Parker transformed mundane objects into striking abstractions.
The Royal Academy of Arts’ artistic director, Tim Marlow, said: “What a wonderful opportunity for four great Royal Academicians to be allowed to stage an epic intervention above the hallowed streets of London’s West End. This will, therefore, be the most expansive Summer Exhibition in our 250-year history.”
The flags will be available to the public as of today (5 June) and were made possible through the support of Heart of London Business Alliance (HOLBA), New West End Company (NWEC) and The Crown Estate (TCE). All artists’ work will be exhibited in the RA Summer Exhibition 2018.