Grayson Perry, Rose Wylie, Cornelia Parker and Joe Tilson Fill London with Colourful Street Banners for Royal Academy’s 250th

The four Royal Academicians have been commissioned to create 200 flags to line Bond Street, Piccadilly, Regent Street and St James’s

Grayson Perry with his flag designs on Piccadilly. Courtesy: the artist; photograph: Tristan Fewings

Grayson Perry with his flag designs on Piccadilly. Courtesy: the artist; photograph: Tristan Fewings

Grayson Perry with his flag designs on Piccadilly. Courtesy: the artist; photograph: Tristan Fewings

To mark the Royal Academy’s 250th anniversary, Royal Academicians Grayson Perry, Rose Wylie, Cornelia Parker and Joe Tilson have designed flag installations that will go on view on the streets of Mayfair, central London. The four artists have lined Piccadilly, Regent Street St James’s, Bond Street and Regent Street with 200 colourful banners.

For her flags on Bond Street, Rose Wylie draws on details from her ‘Lolita’s House’ (2018) series – the title refers to the home across the road from where the artist lived in Kent during the 1970s, and the neighbour’s daughter who would wash their car in the driveway. Over on Regent Street, Joe Tilson’s flags reference the artist’s paintings of the churches in Venice. Tilson first visited the watery city in the 1950s, and its architecture has inspired his artworks over the last decade.

In Piccadilly, Grayson Perry’s banners are influenced by Asafo flags made by the Fante people in West Africa. The artist said that he ‘wanted them to be like a series of doodles and sketches that just came about spontaneously.’ Meanwhile on Regent Street St James’s, Cornelia Parker draws on the photogravure prints of everyday objects from her recent ‘One Day This Glass Will Break’ (2015) series. ‘The images become re-animated when the wind blows,’ she says.

This year, Perry has co-curated the Royal Academy of Arts’s annual ‘Summer Exhibition’. It includes a submission from street artist Banksy: a pro-Leave poster from the Brexit referendum which has been spray-painted to read ‘Vote to Love’ – the work is priced at GBP£350 million, a reference to the figure that the Leave campaign controversially claimed the NHS would gain each week if Britain exited the EU.

The Royal Academy of Arts’s artistic director Tim Marlow commented: ‘What a wonderful opportunity for four great Royal Academicians to be allowed to stage an epic intervention above the hallowed streets of London’s West End. This will, therefore, be the most expansive Summer Exhibition in our 250-year history.’

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