Selfridges’ ongoing commitment to present art in unexpected places takes centre-stage in a major arts campaign running across the London, Birmingham and Manchester stores until 30th March.
What is the state of the arts today? How accessible is it? How can art enhance a community? Where do the lines between fashion and art fall? What role does art have in our lives today? Selfridges will explore these ideas and more in its new creative campaign, State of the Arts.
State of the Arts harnesses the collective power of dozens of contributing artists, galleries and arts collaborators to create a campaign dedicated to presenting art in unexpected places and making it accessible to all, whether within the Selfridges stores, on the go or online.
Art in unexpected places
Selfridges has been a long-standing patron of the arts, championing the showcase of artworks across its London store for many decades and its regional stores since their opening in the late 90s and early noughties. Showing art in unexpected places is therefore not a new thing at Selfridges although this is the store’ first major dedicated arts campaign take over.
The campaign marks a turning point in Selfridges’ commitment to supporting the arts and the artists behind them – especially emerging promising Britain-based talent, not only more established names.
This commitment – part of what Selfridges sees as its civic responsibilities – also extends to the promotion of art in communities within and outside Selfridges, actively allowing them to have a more frequent, organic and unfettered access to and appreciation of it.
Harnessing the visual power of its world-famous windows, shop floors and selected spaces, Selfridges has invited dozens of artists to contribute to State of the Arts and see their work exhibited and, at times, created, in full sight of the passing trade. With virtually no merchandise for sale featured in the windows or in the usual in-store displays, this is one of the most daring campaign ever undertaken by Selfridges.
Arts for windows – in an exclusive collaboration with the artists from the forthcoming Cross Rail Art Programme
Selfridges launches a series of arresting art installations in its iconic Oxford Street windows, turned galleries and exhibition spaces, featuring nine critically acclaimed artists. All nine artists were commissioned by the Crossrail Art Programme, funded by the Crossrail Art Foundation charity, to create site-specific artworks in the new stations of the Elizabeth Line due to open later this year. This includes the new Bond Street station installation, created by British artist Darren Almond and sponsored by Selfridges.
Alongside Darren Almond the artists’ lineup includes Spencer Finch, Douglas Gordon, Chantal Joffe, Yayoi Kusama, Simon Periton, Michal Rovner, Conrad Shawcross and Richard Wright.
All nine artists have conceived unique art installations for the windows that echo the piece they created for their respective station. In effect, the Selfridges windows offer a preview of sorts of artworks set to become landmarks in years to come and which together are set to form one of the capital’s biggest ever public art projects.
The Art Store at The Selfridges Corner Shop
The Corner Shop in the London store plays host to the Art Store, a multi-dimensional destination that combines retail, customer interaction and artist participation.
Along with an extensive selection of art materials brought together by Cass Art, the Art Store showcases an eclectic collection of artworks, limited editions and more, from seven world-renowned galleries. Pieces available on sale from the Art Store include an exclusive neon piece by Douglas Gordon, Carsten Höller’s enigmatic animals, a new series of Kusama’s famous pumpkin and KAWS’ collectable Companions. The Art Store will also feature major installations by Tyrrell Winston and John Margaritis, both showing for the first time in London, as well as Paola Pivi’s fluorescent feathered Polar Bears.
Collaborating galleries range from the international powerhouses to much-loved public spaces and will include: Gagosian, Pace, Perrotin, Stems, Victoria Miro, Gallery, White Cube and Yorkshire Sculpture Park.
Events in The Art Tank
Within the Art Store in the Corner Shop, The Art Tank will become a focal point of activities and interactions for the campaign. Suspended in the spacious Duke Street corner window of Selfridges London, the virtually transparent glass and steel Art Tank will host a series of captivating one-off art happenings, art classes and artist residencies, open and accessible to all (via booking at Selfridges.com/stateofthearts).
Series highlights include:
1) Michele Lamy and Paul Kooiker – Genius You (performance)
This performance piece reflects the combined interests of both these artists which centre around storytelling, experimentation and collaboration. Kooiker is a Dutch photographer known for his collection of enigmatic ‘bad’ photographs. Customers will be invited by Michele Lamy to be photographed as part of the performance and their picture captured within a limited edition book made on the day.
2) Alexandria Coe – live drawing with charcoal
Up and coming artist Coe will create charcoal drawing from live models for part of her time in the Art Tank but will aldo teach customers how to tackle the classic technique. They will be able to draw any object of their desire, including themselves.
3) Wilfrid Wood – Sculpting in plasticine
Starting with drawing, Wood will guide customers through the exciting process of creating 3D sculptures using plasticine. This workshop will focus on the creation of 3D portraits, heads and busts.
4) Kate Daudy and Konstantin Novoselov – Everything is Connected workshop
Artist Kate Daudy and Russian Nobel Prize winning physicist are working together in a special workshop welcoming audience participation and aimed at discussing and harvesting ideas around the concept of universal connectedness.
5) Ivan Morison from Studio Morison – Why Times How Equals What
Morison explores the impact of time on creativity and how it becomes a learning tool informing his art. Ivan will be creating some pieces using techniques requiring patience and time.
6) Matthew Darbyshire – Floatation tank: A Proposal for a Public Sculpture
Consistent with this artist’s famous use of words as the core of his art, this happening is playfully deceptive invitation to the customers to interact with the installation whilst forbidding them to do so. Humour and wit will disarm the viewer and make for a unique interactive experience, albeit chiefly intellectually.
More artists participating in the series of events include William Farr and residencies curated by art platform and publisher Common Editions including Fabienne Hess and The Human Printer.
State of the Arts on the go
The Art Trail
Selfridges will also host an Art Trail, available as both a map and an audio guide, produced especially for the campaign. Both devices reveal to the user the variety of unexpected artworks and amazing art pieces across the store, including the Art Block installation – an exclusive collaboration with Yorkshire Sculpture Park – which currently hosts a newly commissioned work by Matthew Darbyshire. The Art Trail will also feature arts projects from the Selfridges archive as a testament to Selfridges’ arts legacy including the now iconic bronze statue of Josephine Baker created in 1999 by Eduardo Paolozzi in the central atrium.
The Art Trail audio guided tour has been curated by Katy Hessel, creator of the celebrated @TheGreatWomenArtists Instagram account. On the tour, she will deliver inspiring insights into the artwork that can be discovered at Selfridges London. The tour will tell the amazing stories behind the State of The Arts highlights, including Chantal Joffe and Michal Rovner’s window installations, and Rebecca Ackroyd’s ‘Stems’, the major outdoor sculptures in The Courtyard at the edge of the Body Studio.
The Windows Art Tours
For the first time discovering the Selfridges windows will come with the option of a tour curated by the ideas agency CommuneEAST who have commissioned a series of changing guests – including poets, writers, activists, performers, philosophers and art critics – to make customers experience Selfridges’ State of the Arts windows like never before. Visitors are invited to absorb, discuss, collaborate, question and be part of the narrative.
Taking place each week 24 January – 2 March, and available to book in advance, each tour will start a conversation about how the experience of art is changing, as well as the way we make it.
The State of the Arts Podcasts
Beyond the confines of the store, the State of the Arts podcasts gives the listener the opportunity to enjoy enlightening content related to the Selfridges arts campaign anywhere they wish. Six episodes will consider questions such as: ‘What is the value of art in public spaces?’ or ‘Where does fashion end and art begin?’
State of the Arts at Selfridges in Manchester – with the Manchester School of Art
Selfridges continues its support of emerging talents in the arts by exhibiting selected artworks by some of Manchester School of Art’s most exciting upcoming talent. Bex Isley, Rebecca Halliwell-Sutton and Omid Ehmirahmadi will all feature work in the windows, entrance and across sites in the menswear floors of the Exchange Square store.
The Manchester Trafford Store will feature work by local artists Emilie Alstrup, Clare Calveley, Sophie Russell and Kay Shah whose installations and sculptures will be presented throughout all levels of the store.
State of the Arts at Selfridges in Birmingham – with the IKON Gallery
Selfridges extends its partnership with the internationally-acclaimed IKON gallery who will bring artist Perry Roberts to create an installation instore that draws on our experience of the seasons – prompting questions on both climate change and the nature of fashion. The in-store art trail also includes pieces by Joana Vasconcelos, Gillian Wearing and Richard Wilson. Events will include drop in art workshops for children and seasonal activities.