Welcome to the Piccadilly Art Takeover.
OK, so the Piccadilly Circus area has already had one artistic reimagining this year, and it didn’t land all that well. But, second time’s the charm, and this time it’s the Royal Academy of Arts and their members who’ve been let loose on the area, bringing a splash of colour to Piccadilly Circus and the surrounding streets. The ‘Piccadilly Art Takeover’ forms part of the ongoing ‘Let’s Do London‘ tourism campaign and the three-month Art of London Summer Season, and has given the tourist hotspot a fresh coat of paint, from now until August 31.
There are a lot of big names involved in the Piccadilly Art Takeover; it was dreamt up by the Royal Academy of Arts and Art of London, and has had strong support for Sky Arts, the Mayor of London’s office, the Piccadilly Lights, and Westminster City Council.
That’s translated into 30 hanging flags festooned around Piccadilly, and thirteen colourful pedestrian crossings, which the campaign proudly notes is the most art crossings ever assembled in one spot in the UK.
RA members Michael Armitage, Vanessa Jackson, Isaac Julien, Farshid Moussavi, and Yinka Shonibare have been invited to use the city as their canvas, and were given the order to create “original, bespoke and vibrant art”. Safe to say they’ve delivered on that one with this colourful glow-up.
Meanwhile, the Piccadilly billboards will also be taken over on a regular basis, with a ten-screen augmented reality experience inviting Londoners to take part on their phones. The artists have had a hand in filming these pieces for the billboards, so expect them to be a pretty creative lot, too.
The Piccadilly Art Takeover marks the beginning of a season of free, accessible public art in the area, so this “gallery without walls” won’t be the last colourful addition to central London. In fact, the Art of London Summer Season is planning a three-month celebration of art, including an app-based Augmented Reality Art Gallery that’s already available to explore. Just hover the app over the locations dotted along the trail, and you’ll find famous paintings from London art galleries coming to life before your eyes.
Pop up exhibitions and new additions to Leicester Square’s lovely, free ‘Scenes in the Square‘ statue trail will also form part of this festival of art. Swing by Piccadilly Circus to catch their opening gambit!
Meanwhile, here are even more brilliant art exhibitions to see in London in 2021.
Also published on Medium.