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. 

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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.

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Alia Al-Senussi

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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!”

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Courtney Plummer and Victoria Siddall

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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!

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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

www.theartsclub.co.uk

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Shop Tactics with Johnny Messum

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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 http://www.brownslondonartweekend.com 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.

http://www.messums.com

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

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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

Farewell to Dover Street

Ever since its inception 12 years ago, Dover Street Market has been a mecca for an eclectic crowd of shoppers and fashion insiders. So last year, when news broke that this edgy multi-brand store owned by Comme des Garçons was to shut up shop on Dover Street and move into the old Burberry flagship on Haymarket next month, it put many a loyal follower in a spin.

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Home to a cool mix of international brands from Martin Margiela and Loewe to relative newcomers, Molly Goddard and Phoebe English, Dover Street Market, or DSM for short, has after all become synonymous with the street it sits on.  When the six-floor universe opened in September 2004, Dover Street was, for want of a better description, a retail backstreet, far from what it is now lined by the likes of Victoria Beckham, Acne and Wolf & Badger.

Comme founder Rei Kawakubo, the singular designer behind Comme des Garçons, has been instrumental in DSM’s success and its no-rule, beautiful sense of chaos. Her daring edit set the bar high in the competitive world of independent retail. At its launch over a decade ago, she said: “I want to create a kind of market where various creators from various fields gather together and encounter each other in an on-going atmosphere of beautiful chaos; the mixing up and coming together of different kindred souls who all share a strong personal vision”

In keeping with Kawakubo’s creative concept, design houses were given carte blanche to determine their own brand spaces within the store, whilst artists, film and theatre designers were also invited to put their stamp on existing spaces. A myriad of innovative designers and artists have passed through its doors; The Chapman Brothers, Ai Wei Wei, Marc Quinn, Tracey Emin (she launched her ’Serpentine’ fragrance here) to name but a few. Frieze London and the ICA gallery also staged pivotal shows here – often taking over every available inch of floor space.

Meanwhile, DSM recently expanded its jewellery section to include fine jewellery pieces from an array of new, independent jewellers, thus changing the way luxury jewellery is sold. And let’s not forget the incredible window displays. These range from Tim Walker’s toy soldier theme to Chanel’s set featuring cardboard cut outs of Karl Lagerfeld. Other personal favourites include Artek’s kooky taxidermy installation and the floral displays of Petersham Nurseries.

There are so many more memorable moments, for instance the time when Patti Smith and PJ Harvey played an intimate gig in the basement of the store to celebrate the launch of Ann Demeulemeester’s book. The Chanel invasion of Dover Street Market was another highlight, as was the store’s ten-year anniversary when brands created one-off pieces and a huge boarding took over the entire facade.

Personally, I’ll miss the Rose Bakery on the fourth floor with its views of a higgledy-piggledy central London skyline. Still, it’s not too far to stroll to its new home on Haymarket. And while it might be the end of an era for Mayfair, moving its stock of international clothing and accessories brands to Haymarket will no doubt do wonders for London’s less fashionable part of the West End.

Rocking the Art World

Self-taught visual artist Geronimo, aka ‘Jumping Bull’, was first introduced to Keith Richards during the final leg of a Rolling Stones world tour. A firm friendship was forged and several years later, Keith, along with Mick Jagger, Charlie Watts and Ronnie Wood, still takes centre stage in this Native American artist’s paintings, portraits and sculptures. The band’s legendary tongue logo, made from flattened Coke cans, also ranks high among Jumping Bull’s most recognised pieces. His latest work can be seen in a new solo show running this month at The Club at The Café Royal. In conversation below, the artist tells of overcoming colour blindness and how a troubled past led to a successful career in art.

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“Homeless gangster, businessman, composer, performer, music producer… That’s the story of my life before I became an artist. Late 1990 and I’m in jail for old offences. It was there that I began to paint. Initially it became my therapy, allowing me to rid myself of my inner demons. Art gave me freedom in every sense. It became my reason to live and has contributed to my personal evolution. Two years after my release from prison I staged a museum exhibition. One year later I had my first international exhibition.

The Rolling Stones are an inexhaustible source of inspiration to me. Keith, Mick, Charlie and Ronnie are legendary icons. The band as a whole, but also as individuals, has been my main inspiration for several years. I’m fascinated by their incredible charisma, but also by the myths and legends that have developed around a group that has thrived for over 50 years.

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When I first met Keith Richards, we spent the whole night in his hotel suite putting the world to rights.  It was not an evening of sex and drugs, but one of rich exchanges and deep conversation. I met Keith the man, a humanist – not the rock star persona.  On another occasion, I visited a Buddhist temple with Charlie Watts and introduced him to the Tibetan monk, Lama Karta. Charlie then invited us both to a Rolling Stones concert where Lama and I went on stage to experience the effect of being in front of 100,000 people. It was an indescribable moment. Mick Jagger then asked to have his photo taken with us. Later, I met Ronnie Wood. Recently I created a giant LP for him. I also have one of his paintings in my studio. In 2014, Ronnie and I exhibited in London and later New York, in a show called:”50 Years of Rocking the Art World: a Celebration of The Rolling Stones”.

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I am a self-taught artist and I created my own style. Andy Warhol created Pop Art and you could say Jumping Bull created Rock Art.  I suffer from colour blindness or achromatopsia. When I was a child, I lost my sight for about three months. I recovered the sight but without colours. Today I see in black and white but also a whole range of grey.  All the colours in my work are based on memories. I remember that tomatoes are red for example.

I don’t have a favourite medium. I use China ink, masonry paint, acrylic and lime paint. I am comfortable painting on wood, metal or on linen canvas. I recycle. I create leather or polyester or metal pieces. This ensures I never get bored. Each of my works marks a new adventure and a clinch with my inner demons. I paint, I sculpt, I create objects and I make music and poetry. The artist I admire most is Mother Nature. Who else can create an oversized work such as the Grand Canyon or a mystical work like the Amazon rainforest?

I’m really excited to be showing my work in London again. An ideal stay in London for me would start with English breakfast at The Wolseley followed by a walk to Portobello Road to shop the vintage stores. Next, I’d visit some museums and art galleries. Lunch would be at Cipriani on Davies Street or fish and chips at Poppies in Camden. I love the decor at Poppies. In the afternoon I’d stop for a Guinness in The Hawley Arms pub – also in Camden – then I’d spend quality time at the Wendy House Studios with my friend Jerry and have an aperitif with another friend Byron, at The Café Royal. Finally, dinner at Koya would be followed by theatre or a musical comedy.”

Light Fantastic – Christopher Bailey Designs Claridge’s Christmas Tree

For the past six years, Claridge’s has invited fashion’s leading lights to reinterpret its tree in their own distinctive style. This time, it is the turn of Burberry’s Christopher Bailey to put his unique spin on spruce

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In previous years there have been show-stopping creations from Dolce & Gabbana and Alber Elbaz, but this is the first time a British fashion house has held the honour of turning a humble tree into a work of art. All will be revealed at the official unveiling on November 16th.

Thomas Kochs, Claridge’s General Manager, says: “We are particularly proud to be flying the British flag this year with London being at the heart of both Claridge’s and Burberry, and it is this shared sense of heritage and the key part we both play in London life that makes Christopher’s collaboration with us so special.”

For his part in this year’s festive decorations, Bailey explores the relationship between light and dark reflecting around Claridge’s famous Art Deco lobby. Drawing inspiration from Burberry’s longstanding heritage of providing protection against the unpredictable British climate, Bailey’s tree design comprises more than 100 umbrellas, each finished in gold and silver metallic fabric. The lights around the tree are also designed to pick up movement as guests walk by – sending thousands of twinkling lights into life.

“Christmas is one of my favourite times of year so I was delighted to be asked to design the Claridge’s Christmas tree – the iconic hotel celebrating a joyful time,” says Bailey. “We wanted the tree to reflect the playfulness of the season with a little bit of the English weather thrown in.”

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Claridge’s partnership with Burberry goes back several years. The hotel suites famously offer guests trench coats to wear on jaunts around town. But there’s another treat in store this year. Burberry-clad bellboys will be on hand to help guests with their Christmas wish lists. A magical tree designed by Christopher Bailey will certainly be topping mine.

Shop Tactics with Jo Stella-Sawicka

Jo Stella-Sawicka is artistic director for Frieze art fairs. The former director of London’s Stephen Friedman Gallery and one time art curator of Monsoon Art Collection, she joined Frieze in 2011. At the time, it was expanding from one annual event to three; Frieze London, Frieze Masters and Frieze New York.’

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This month sees Frieze London take place in Regent’s Park, from 14–17 October. It will feature 164 galleries from 27 countries as well as a new ‘Live’ section dedicated to pivotal performance art.

For her part in the fair’s curatorial programme, Jo oversees Europe, the Middle East and Russia. Back in London, she recently joined the council at the ICA. She also sits on the round circle for Crossrail, advising on major art commissions for its new rail stations.

Work aside, you’ll often find Jo at Claridge’s where she especially likes the boudoir charm of the ladies powder room. As for fashion, labels of choice include Gucci and Rag & Bone. Here she reveals more of her top Mayfair hangouts:

Hauser & Wirth, 23 Savile Row

A world-renowned gallery with outposts in London, Zurich, Somerset, New York and also Los Angeles (opening next year), Hauser & Wirth’s exciting, high-concept stands at Frieze London and Frieze Masters are a testament to the gallery’s outstanding artists and curatorial intelligence. This month’s ‘field’ of 42 sculptures at Frieze London features Takesada Matsutani, Paul McCarthy and Louise Bourgeois, among many others. While at Frieze Masters, Hauser & Wirth is collaborating with the historical gallery Moretti Fine Art, for the first time, on an ambitious presentation. This explores the idea of an ideal collection – drawing together works spanning centuries – from 14th-century Italian panels to the likes of Henry Moore and Francis Picabia.

Claridge’s, Brook Street

Just stepping into Claridge’s is to enter an ambiance of luxury, style and calm.  Its fabulous Art Deco charm – the interior was designed in the 1920s – has been tastefully updated with the interventions of subsequent designers, and it managers to feel both timeless and fresh. The themed decorations of the great Christmas tree every year in its lobby are such a treat. I can fully understand why many of Frieze’s international VIP guests won’t stay anywhere else when they visit London.

Gucci, 34 Old Bond Street

Gucci is still the last word in chic, and I really admire the way it balances such incredibly rich heritage with an effortless ability to innovate. Within the space of a year, its new creative director Alessandro Michele has produced some incredibly inventive collections, which expand upon the label’s legacy.  This makes Gucci an ideal partner for Frieze Masters, which frames the deep interconnection between the art of the past and the present. I am thrilled that Gucci’s support enables Frieze Masters Talks for 2015, which features contemporary artists such as Ellen Gallagher and Lawrence Weiner in conversation with the curators and directors of leading museums. They will be discussing the influence of historical art, as well as the likes of broadcaster Sir John Tusa and novelist Ali Smith.

The Arts Club, 40 Dover Street

The Arts Club is brilliant because you can drop in anytime. It’s always comfortable, always elegant and always relaxed. There is no end of gorgeous art to see here. Frieze collaborates with the club on some of its programmed content. For example, recent talks by renowned collectors gave invaluable advice on how to start collecting. It is great to have a club of this standard so close to the gallery district and which also gives members and non-members such a unique insight into the art world. Mayfair is the destination choice for shopping and seeing art.  I don’t think there’s anywhere else in the world you find these two things coalesce in this way, nor do I think anywhere else would be home to something as special as The Arts Club.

Belmacz, 45 Davis Street

This is – excuse the pun – a real bijoux place.  The jewellery designs by Julia Muggenberg are often inspired by early modernist art movements, with motifs drawn from Bauhaus and constructivism. I love the way Julia brings her own wares together with contemporary art, ancient artefacts and furniture – it’s like a modern Wunderkammer.  Her eye is so good. She was invited to exhibit at Nottingham Contemporary, where she showed items from her own collection. Muggenberg is an inspiring example of how collecting across periods and categories can be effortless and relevant.