Royal Academy of Arts, London
by ANNA McNAY
And now, from 19th January 2011, the redesigned 150 cover restaurant, the sixth in Oliver Peyton’s impressive repertoire (including The Wallace Collection and The National Café and Dining Rooms), offers an extra gallery’s worth of treats of its own. Old RA aficionados may well know the featured murals by Fred Appleyard, Harold Speed, Gilbert Spencer and Leonard Rosoman, but with the walls now painted a pale grey, they have become so much more prominent that RA Secretary and Chief Executive, Charles Saumarez Smith, was asked whether they were themselves new!
They are lit by a mass of digitally etched brass pendant lights and a dramatic cast glass chandelier suspended above the full wall length bar of Mount Etna lava stone and hand-made glazed brick. These form a focal point of the new décor, by interior design practice, Design Research Studio, under the direction of British designer Tom Dixon. He has carefully chosen materials to complement the existing fabric of the Regency building. In addition are the striking glass cube showcases, standing free in the centre, which display a selection of sculptures and busts by Royal Academicians dating back to 1897, previously not on view to the public, making the restaurant worth a visit even were there not the further temptation of a reasonably priced three course meal, a lighter selection of tapas, or a traditional afternoon tea. The carefully designed menu was produced together by Oliver Peyton and head chef Andrea Zuccolo, using prime British ingredients. Over 20 wines will be available by the glass, and bottles with labels designed by contemporary artists, including Gary Hume, Tracey Emin, and Michael Craig-Martin, are soon be added to the list. They will also available to take home.
The restaurant is open seven days a week, with late opening on Friday and Saturday evenings. See www.ra-ra.co.uk for further information.
Threesome and 3X3
Curator Anna McNay has put together two exhibitions – Threesome, a collaboration between three female painters, and 3X3, photographic self-portraits by nine queer female artists – which explore the female gaze with the aim of ‘making people question how they feel looking at these works and how it makes them look at themselves’
Anish Kapoor: Flashback
Kapoor, who represented Britain at the Venice Biennale in 1990, won the Turner Prize in 1991, and was the first living artist to be given the entire Royal Academy main gallery space for his 2009 show, attracting a record 260,000 visitors, is renowned for his use of vivid primary colours in pigment form: “Colour is stuff.
Mary Kelly: Projects, 1973
There is a lot more to Mary Kelly’s work than just dirty nappies. Nevertheless, no retrospective would be complete without the inclusion of Post-Partum Document (1973–1979), notorious for causing a ruckus in the British press when exhibited at the ICA in 1976.
In his preface to the catalogue for Poussin Gallery’s current exhibition, High Abstract, Mel Gooding is keen to establish that, “a simple definition of what might be admitted under the rubric of ‘abstract’ has never been agreed by artists or by critics or by art historians.”