Summer 2021 is the season of free, accessible, public art. Think provocative, intriguing and just down right nice to look at, the range of art on offer reflects the diversity of our incredible communities. We know many of you have missed your trips to the capital to top up your culture fix, so here is a few of the many vibrant art installations you can stumble across as you explore the city.
Proud Little Pyramid
Granary Square in King’s Cross has had a colourful summer makeover that is sure to brighten up what has been a difficult year for many. British Argentine-Japanese artist and designer Adam Nathanial Furman is the master behind this colourful series that will be popping up over the next few months. ‘Proud Little Pyramid’ is the first piece of work to make an appearance and despite its name, it is anything but little. Head to Furman’s Instagram to stay updated on the progress of the colourful project which will include a series of pop-up experiences, both virtual and in-person.
Piccadilly Art Takeover
The Royal Academy of Arts has been let loose over Piccadilly Circus bringing “original, bespoke and vibrant art” to the streets. Their work consists of 30 hanging flags and 13 colourful pedestrian crossings; it is now a spectacle to safely cross the road! This installation is part of the 3-month Art of London Summer Season and the Academy is proud to claim that this is the most art crossings ever assembled in one spot in the UK. Piccadilly is loving its new summer glow up.
Canary Wharf’s Pride Celebrations
Head to Canary Wharf to discover a vibrant array of rainbow steps, murals, drag shows to name but a few; these pride art installations aim to educate and inspire passers-by and you can’t miss them. The Reuters Plaza and Riverside steps have been transformed into rainbow walkways and artist Rebecca Strickson has decorated The Cubitt Steps with a rainbow river mural, calling it “Proudly Together”. We love how these pieces remind onlookers that equal love encompasses everyone in London and not only during pride month. Over at the Jubilee Atrium, Fiona Grady has installed “Kaleidoscopic Prisms”, aligning a sense of collective belonging. Along with short story stations and a summer family festival, Canary Wharf sounds like the place to be this summer.
Hundreds and Thousands
The Greenwich Peninsula has recently undergone a rainbow inspired transformation by artist Liz West. West has installed 700 metres of pattern that lines the walkway and never repeats itself; this forms part of a series of spatial light works based on West’s research into wellbeing, human colour perception and light fields. We recommend visiting on a sunny day as the patterned glass is reflected onto the boards beneath your feet giving the impression of a rainbow road. It is truly magic!
Mat Collishaw has opened his first permanent outdoor installation in Kingston aiming to demonstrate 1000 years of local history in the area. The art is an 11-metre-long piece of video art portraying a virtual version of the chapel that originally stood at the site of the All-Saints Church. There is an atmospheric, lone cello and virtual choir that accompany the piece turning the installation into a ghost-like experience. In terms of design, Collishaw projects 3D scans onto mesh to create the visual. The name “Echolocation” stems from the methods used by bats to see. Kingston is a bat conservation area and so bats also, fittingly, appear in the video. We would recommend visiting at night!
Museum of the Moon
Artist, Luke Jerram, has used his expertise on modelling to create a 7-metre moon detailed with NASA’s imagery of the moon’s surface; each centimetre of the model represents 5km of the moon’s surface. The touring exhibition has just spent a week at Melbourne’s RISING festival – who’d have thought, a globe-trotting moon! Jerram’s work will be gracing Kensington and Chelsea for a few dates in August to be determined – keep an eye on his Instagram below for updates. The model will move around the royal borough being displayed both inside and outside.
Opposite Earl’s Court Station you will find Baker and Borowksi’s Pleasure Garden – a 35-metre mural bursting with colour and life. Along with a collection of sculptures and a vibrant floor design, the piece is inspired by local wildflowers and structures representing 18th century pleasure gardens. Pleasure gardens were typically open for recreation and entertainment; this made them different from public gardens as you were bound to find some sort of concert hall, bandstand, or amusement ride inside – maybe even a zoo. The installation is set to focus, however, on the 21st century and our attitudes towards nature in a modern urban environment. The piece is sustainable and locally sourced, encouraging visitors to do the same with what land they may have. The Garden is a great place to hang out this summer and will no doubt look great on the gram.