Contemporary Art at the Courtauld

With the opening of the sixth biennial Collection on November 6th, the East Wing Collection will be providing, once again, the backdrop to study at Somerset House. Offering students of the Courtauld the chance to curate an exhibition that will remain on display for two years, East Wing Collection no. 6 draws on the strength of previous collections. This year the committee has been keen to acquire work that reflects the study that goes on throughout the institute rather than just that of the modern department. By choosing the theme Urban Networks we have been able to explore the way the city has been variously mapped, depicted and dissected in contemporary art practice whilst still relating to a broader history. One example is the collaboration between performance star Leigh Bowery and photographer Fergus Greer, Bowery’s eccentric outfits clearly mirroring elements of Eighteenth Century pictures such as Hogarth’s The Harlot’s Progress.

We have a particularly rich blend of established artists and relative newcomers. Continuing the collection’s commitment to up and coming talent, we have, for example, new work from Mel Bochner, work by Isaac Julien previously unseen in the UK and recent photographs by Franco B.

EWC no.6 marks the beginning of a collaboration between the Institute and two charitable organisations, SMart and Crisis, both of whom provide materials and venues for artists without homes to work. This side of the project has yielded some very successful work and has been extremely fulfilling for all involved. We on the East Wing committee hope this is just the beginning of a fruitful friendship.

Following the opening in November a series of events is planned, including talks by some of the artists involved in the project and, in the spring term, a series of film screenings. We look forward to welcoming the Courtauld community to these events and, of course, to the collection as a whole.

Chairman, East Wing Committee No.6