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From dusk till dawn: Art Night is underway

07th April 2016

For one night only, numerous private and public locations around London will be transformed into unique art venues as part of brand new annual art project. 

Admiralty Arch, an abandoned Tube platform, and a luxury apartment for millionaires, to name only a few, are listed among the venues which will be turned into a modern art piece. A number of venues have only been confirmed in recent weeks, after months and even years of persuasion.

Art Night has launched this week in the former house of historic poet Samuel Johnson, in the spirit of his classic declaration “whoever thinks of going to bed before 12 o’clock is a scoundrel”.

The free event takes inspiration from Nuits Blanches Festival (sleepless nights) which is a yearly art event in Paris celebrated on the first Saturday in October, where the romantic city blossoms into a brilliant harvest of art, music and theatrical events. 

London’s first Art Night will take place on July 2nd around the Strand, and has plenty in store for artists and art lovers alike. 

No sleep

Art installations, theatre, film and dance, and a giant exercise class led by Shanghai artist Xu Zhen held in the courtyard of Somerset House, will all be part of the evening event.

Gregor Muir, artistic director of the Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA), who will partly run this year’s programme, commented, “we’re all going to lose sleep”. 

To allow a mix of diversity from a variety of global artists, alternative art institutions will curate the event each year, with Whitechapel Gallery already planning for the 2017 event which will focus more on the West End. 

Other installations will include video projections in Covent Garden and new work by choreographer Alexandra Bachzetsis at Two Temple Place.

Luxury venues

The luxury apartment in the new 190 Strand building where properties sell for almost £10 million, will be taken over by Danish artist Nina Beier, who is presenting a “still lives” show of paint and photograph artwork. 

Admiralty Arch, once the home of former deputy prime minister John Prescott which is shortly to become a hotel, will be handed over for an installation from Turner prize winner and French artist Laure Prouvost. The Jubilee line platform will be given to South Korean artist Koo Jeong-a, in collaboration with Art on the Underground.

Meanwhile, artist Joan Jonas and jazz pianist and composer Jason Moran will have access to Southwark Cathedral, which is the only Art Night venue situated on the other side of the Thames. 

Iconic locations

Mr Muir claimed that the London night event was “much more art focused” than the Paris equivalent.

“It has been a really amazing experience to see all these spaces, and some of the most extraordinary ones have been Admiralty Arch and Alexandra Bachzetsis at Two Temple Place, which is itself really special,” he told the Evening Standard.

“We wanted to take people on a tour of not just the history of this area in terms of tourist attractions but also in terms of its recent history and it’s an area where we are as likely to find luxury apartments as we are these wonderful iconic locations.”  

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