City of Art – Brown’s London Art Weekend, July 1st-3rd 2016

For the third year running, Brown’s Hotel has organised yet another truly exceptional weekend of art events in Mayfair and St. James’s’.

BLAW Launch_Dan Weill Photography-1

With just days to go until Brown’s London Art Weekend (BLAW) commences, curators are sprucing up their gallery spaces, and, in the case of those leading guided art tours, brushing up on their facts and digging out their finest walking shoes.

Over 60 galleries and auction houses, including Bonhams, Messum’s and the John Martin Gallery are taking part in the 2016 edition of BLAW, which offers free talks, walks, and exhibitions for all to enjoy. Aimed not just at collectors, but also at anybody with an interest in art, the event encourages visitors to explore the area and meet the specialists who work here. For 150 years Mayfair’s galleries and auction houses have welcomed the world’s greatest art collectors to this area steeped in art history. And thanks to BLAW, this tradition continues to flourish.

The weekend’s art programme begins on Friday 1st July with an after hours ‘Gallery Hop’, where visitors are invited to a number of exclusive Mayfair gallery previews. If that sounds like it might be thirsty work, La Perla’s stylish soiree in Burlington Arcade will be serving cocktails from 8-10pm.

Throughout the weekend there will be a number of the already established and respected Brown’s Art Tours taking place. Once again, former fashion designer turned sculptress Nicole Farhi will be setting-off from Brown’s Hotel to lead a themed walk around her favourite Mayfair galleries. Designer Sir Paul Smith, portrait photographer Gemma Levine and curator Kate Goodwin will also be doubling as local art guides.

There are over 100 independent art galleries in the area immediately surrounding Brown’s Hotel. As well as being frequented by artists, dealers, gallery owners, collectors and enthusiasts, the luxury hotel is also home to a huge array of artworks including photographs by Terence Donovan in the Donovan Bar, Bridget Riley’s in the suites, Tracey Emin’s in the dining room at HIX, and many more desirable pieces dotted across the walls.

A VIP programme is also running during BLAW, though be sure to RSVP. For example, Bellini’s and Bloody Mary’s will be served in the Collector’s Lounge, located in the Niagara Room at Brown’s between 11am and 1pm on Saturday 2 July. Art law specialists from Boodle Hatfield will also be on hand to answer any investment-related questions.

Of the numerous talks, of which there are too many to mention here, ‘Shakespeare Revisited’ by contemporary portrait painter Ralph Heimans (the only artist chosen to paint HM The Queen in her Diamond Jubilee year) will no doubt delight the discerning BLAW crowd. Running on July 1st at maze in Grosvenor Square, the 3pm discussion will focus on Heiman’s latest portrait exhibition of contemporary authors for the Random House Shakespeare 400 book series.

Further information on ticket bookings and a full programme of VIP events can be found here:

Fingers on Buzzers – The Arts Club Annual Arts Quiz

Aside from art fairs and gallery launches, rarely do you get this many art world luminaries in one room. And when you do, it’s guaranteed to be a fun, and decidedly raucous affair. 


Alia Al-Senussi and Abdullah Al-Turki

Officiated by Alia Al-Senussi and Abdullah Al-Turki, with quizmasters ICA director Gregor Muir and Sotheby’s Oliver Barker, the annual Art Quiz is in its fifth iteration this year.  Held at The Arts Club on Dover Street, the much-loved non-profit fundraiser is a memorable evening where international gallerists, museum directors, critics, curators and artists battle it out to prove themselves as possessing the sharpest mind in the London art world.

You can count on the multi-talented Alia Al-Senussi to bring order to the proceedings and keep an eye on the score. As an active member of the contemporary art world – both philanthropically and professionally – she holds a variety of non-profit board and committee positions, which promote young patronage of the arts in London and collecting in the Middle East.


Alia Al-Senussi


Gregor Muir and Oliver Barker

According to Alia, The Arts Club Art Quiz has been more a “meandering crescendo” than a sudden arrival. “The Quiz was inspired by the bi-annual Tate Quiz when it was first held as a Tate Young Patrons Quiz at Cuckoo Club about nine years ago. It then morphed into a quiz celebrating the inaugural year of the Parasol Future Unit held at the Wellington Club, and then finally, and ultimately, settled in to its very comfortable and rather perfect home at the Arts Club on Dover Street.”

Keeping the unruly hoards in check has seen the recent introduction of cash penalties and even a ‘Naughty Corner’. So how would Alia describe a typical quiz night?  “Abdullah Al-Turki and I preside as headmaster and headmistress – aka MCs, aka I am the dominatrix screaming at everyone to sit down and shut up! The epic evening, with its raucous vibe, is a place where inner demons are unleashed and the inherently and infamously opaque competition of the art world is laid completely bare!  We make sure to curate the tables extremely carefully to cultivate this madness in order to encourage it rather than kill it!”


Courtney Plummer and Victoria Siddall


Andrew Renton and Iwona Blazwick

And when it comes to brain-racking questions, the more varied the better. “Gregor and Chris facilitated the further evolution of the Quiz when they voiced their high irritation at the market-driven questions of Kenny and Olly a few years ago,” recalls Alia. “I leave it to these big boys to duke it out amongst themselves over who gets to do what each year. At the last edition, to prevent a complete art world war, I asked some friends from around the world to provide various thematic questions—for example Franklin Sirmans on art in film, Phil Tinari on Chinese art, Sam Thorne on performance…”

Bond Street news has been granted an exclusive sample of questions from The Arts Club’s esteemed guest quizmasters. Based on their specialist arts categories, each one is designed to put your art knowledge to the test. Best of luck!
(Answers at the bottom of the page)

CHRIS DERCON – Director of Tate Modern:

Q1: Which model did Jeremy Deller use recently to make drawings of in the nude?

Q2: Where is the lee miller house-cum-archives?

RALPH RUGOFF – Director of the Hayward Gallery:

Q3: In 1988, in a dingy Docklands warehouse, 16 artists took part in a show called ‘freeze’ organised by an art student called Damien Hirst.  Besides works by Hirst, the show included contributions by Anya Gallacio, Gary Hume, Sarah Lucas, Matt Collishaw, Angela Bulloch, Michael Landy and Angus Fairhurst.  Name three other artists who were in this seminal exhibition.

PHILIP TINARI – Director of the Ullens Centre for Contemporary Art in Beijing:

Q4: On February 5 of which year did the exhibition China/Avant-Garde, bringing together 293 works by 186 artists and signalling the culmination of a decade of artistic flourishing across China, open only to be closed a few hours later when the artist Xiao Lu fired a gun into her own installation of two phone booths?

Q5: In which year of the Venice Biennale was formaldehyde from Damien Hirst’s shark tank responsible for the death of the ants in Yukinori Yanagi’s installation of flag-shaped ant farms made from coloured sand, while elsewhere in the Biennale, artists from China were included for the first time?

JEFFREY BOLOTEN – Co-founder & managing director of ArtInsight: 

Q6: What is the current record price for a photograph sold at auction?

Q7:  What is the first single photograph sold at auction to break the $1million price barrier?

FRANKLIN SIRMANS – Director of the Pérez Art Museum, Miami

Q8: Which great modern artist’s persona is used as the disguise for an art theft in a 1999 movie starring Pierce Brosnan?

Q9: What museum is the meeting place for a heated encounter—10 minutes with no dialogue—in this 1980 thriller featuring Michael Caine and Angie Dickinson?

SARA AL RASHID – Interior Design Architect

Q10: “It became known as the _________ Collection and was featured on the front of French Vogue in September 1965.”  Who is the designer behind this collection and the artist who inspired it?

Q11: Who is the architect behind the Serpentine Sackler Gallery?

Q12: What is the name of the artist that Louis Vuitton based their metallic bag on?

Scroll down for the answers!



A1: Iggy pop   A2:  East Sussex   A3: Any of the following: Simon Patterson, Richard Patterson, Abigail Lane, Fiona Rae, Ian Davenport, Richard Park, Lala Meredith-Vula, Steven Adamson   A4: 1989   A5: 1993   A6: $4.3m   A7: Richard Prince – Untitled (Cowboy) sold in December 2005 for $1.248m   A8: Magritte   A9: The Met   A10: Mondrian and YSL    A11: Zaha Hadid   A12: Sylvie Fleury


All pictures: The Art Quiz 2016 at The Arts Club, courtesy Luke A. Walker

Shop Tactics with Johnny Messum

Portrait by Elodie Nizon

As company director of Messum’s London, Johnny Messum, joined the family-run business in 1999 after studying History of Art at Edinburgh University and working at Christie’s. Since his arrival, he has taken the company into new ventures starting new collections and building relationships with overseas galleries and museums on behalf of Messum’s artists and artist estates.

Johnny is also chairman of DegreeArt London, the UK leader in contemporary affordable art online, and is a board member of Browns Hotel London Art Weekend (BLAW). As part of next month’s edition, Johnny will be waxing lyrical about art in the Sixties during his guided tour of four select Mayfair galleries. (See for more details).

Meanwhile, in addition to its recently restored Cork Street gallery and sculpture garden in Marlow, the pioneering gallerist is also behind Messum’s Wiltshire, a space dedicated to contemporary sculpture. Set in a 14th Century Monastic Barn, the largest of its type in the country, Johnny’s longer term vision is that Messum’s Wiltshire will become a leading cultural institution in the South West of England, showcasing modern and contemporary art, design and performance, whilst also providing educational lectures and workshops as part of its exhibitions and events programme throughout the year. To celebrate the opening of this new experience-led retail space, things kick off this August, with a show featuring the work of David Linley.

As well as spotting great art, Johnny also has an eye for fine jewellery and a well-made shirt – not to mention a good seafood risotto. Here, he lists some of his favourite haunts in and around Bond Street below:

Richard Green, 32-33 New Bond Street

When I am walking Bond Street I will always stop in to see what Richard Green is doing, he is my father’s generation, but someone I respect a great deal for the way that he studies and understands quality.

The Royal Academy and Cork Street

For all its incredible array of shops, my Mayfair is about people. I run a generational business and know how much evolution contributes to success. It is the personalities that drive this. The Pollen Estate, for example, are taking on a massive redesign of Cork Street, a true once in a generation moment, and there are people like James Andrews working on that project who have been involved for over 15 years. Likewise, the Royal Academy under Charles Saumarez Smith is taking the bold and longstanding decision to expand and open to the North into Burlington Gardens. I feel very proud that our family business will continue to represent artists on Cork Street for the foreseeable future.

Petrocchi Sede Unica, 36 Albemarle Street

Petrocchi Sede Unica, for breakfast or lunch. This family-run Italian eatery is always busy in that sort of New York way. It gets packed at the entrance but squeeze through, and if you know Francesca, you are in. If you don’t, good luck getting a table. One thing is certain though. You have to have the seafood risotto with a glass of Gavi di Gavi.

Budd Shirtmakers, 3 Piccadilly Arcade 

Ok, so not my everyday shopping experience (which part of Mayfair is?) but a really terrific old school shop with a twist. My experience started with some vouchers given to the family for Christmas. I bought all of my brothers vouchers at a discount rate, converted them into cash, which is what interested them more at the time, and then purchased some fabulous shirts.

Boodles, 178 New Bond Street

Boodles is a flagship British jewellery business, evolving through the generations and full of wonderful details. Here, jewellery is thought and rethought for the current taste. James Amos, now marketing director, is your man. He still has time to talk you through the presentations.

John Mitchell Fine Paintings, 17 Avery Row

Again, a unique family business in Mayfair – the Mitchell family has been involved with paintings and art for generations. Speak to Paul Mitchell about frames, James and William about British pictures, and immerse yourself in their depth of knowledge and enthusiasm for their subject. Modern retailing it is not, expertise it certainly is.

Body Art – La Perla at BLAW


At the start of 2016, lingerie, beach and loungewear specialists La Perla, announced Pedro Lourenço as its new creative director. Lourenço, who has held positions at Lanvin and Giambattista Valli, will present his first collection for the luxury Italian brand, for autumn/winter 2016 at Milan Fashion Week.

However, those with a penchant for La Perla’s sculptural forms and architectural lines, will be given a sneak preview of the inspiration behind the upcoming collection during Brown’s London Art Weekend. Indeed, La Perla has plenty of treats in store during the three-day event. For starters, on Friday July 1st following the official kick-off Gallery Hop, it will be hosting a cocktail evening from 8-10pm at its Burlington Arcade men’s concept store. It’s worth noting here that in recent years La Perla has expanded its menswear collections and opened dedicated men’s stores both in London and Milan.


Meanwhile, art-loving lingerie connoisseurs can also participate in curated walking tours led by one of BLAW’s expert guides on Saturday 2nd/Sunday 3rd July. The walks take place twice daily starting with a ‘breakfast’ tour at 10.30am followed by an ‘afternoon tea’ tour commencing at 3.30pm. Before setting off from La Perla’s Old Bond Street flagship, participants can view the timely in-store exhibition aptly named; ‘The Making of a Collection’. The showcase goes behind the scenes of Lourenço’s innovative, architectural approach to fall/winter 2016 through a series of atmospheric photographs – some of which are shown here.


According to the official line, art has always been a fundamental reference point in the inspiration of La Perla’s collections and the definition of its aesthetic vision. The La Perla’s fall/winter 2016 collection, for instance, takes inspiration from the Zero (art) movement. Founded in the late Sixties by German artists Heinz Mack and Otto Piene, it is commonly interpreted as reaction to Abstract Expressionism by arguing that art should be devoid of colour, emotion and individual expression. It explains why La Perla’s gallery hop, includes a tour of the Mazzoleni Art and The Mayor Gallery, both of which specialise in works from the group’s wider collective. Best heel forward!


Bond’s Best – Still Water 2016 by Nic Fiddian Green


Nic Fiddian Green’s 30 ft high sculpture of a horse’s head drinking at London’s Marble Arch has become one of the city’s most popular landmarks. His single-minded concentration on the horse as subject has earned the British sculptor a dedicated following, with huge monumental work placed on sites in Moscow, Philadelphia, Dubai, Paris, Bombay and Beirut to name but a few.

For those of you with a little less room to house a weighty horse head, Sladmore Contemporary, which has been supporting Fiddian Green from the start on his journey to international acclaim, has this smaller version in bronze. Measuring 16 inches high including the base, it comes in an edition of 25 and is priced at £9,500. At its gallery in Bruton Place, it carries an exhibition of Fiddian Green’s magnificent horses heads at all times.

Sladmore Contemporary, 32 Bruton Place