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