The UK will become the world's largest art gallery thanks to charity art project 'Art Everywhere' and its supporters. From August 8th 2013 'Art Everywhere' will transform thousands of poster sites and billboards into iconic artworks from the national collection.
"This is a joyful celebration with no agenda other than to flood our streets with art and celebrate the creative talents and legacy of this amazing country." Richard Reed, co-founder of Innocent Drinks and 'Art Everywhere' initiator.
Up until July 10th the public are invited to help curate this exhibition. They can select their favourite British artwork by 'liking' them and sharing them through Facebook via a shortlist of works published on the 'Art Everywhere' website. Included on that shortlist is the above Francis Bacon's 'Head VI' (1949). The top 50 works will be reproduced and exhibited on billboard sites across the country for two weeks from August 10th - 25th 2013. You can 'like' Francis Bacon's 'Head VI' amongst a choice of artworks from over 600 years of British art here. 'Head VI' is one of Bacon's famous 'Pope paintings', with the haunting mouth recalling the anguished cry of the bespectacled nanny in Sergei Eisenstein's 1925 film 'Battleship Potemkin'. The foundations of the piece draw inspiration from 'Portrait of Innocent X' (1650) by Spanish painter Diego Velazquez. Famously despite producing more than thirty paintings around ‘Pope Innocent X’ Francis Bacon never actually viewed the original painting, even on a trip to Rome where it was exhibited, instead he worked from photographs of the piece:
"Because I think it is one of the greatest portraits that have ever been made, and I became obsessed by it. I buy book after book with this illustration in it of the Velasquez Pope, because it just haunts me, and it opens up all sorts of feelings and areas of - I was going to say - imagination, even, in me." - Francis Bacon on choosing Velasquez's 'Pope Innocent X' as inspiration.
Members of the public can also become patrons of the exhibition through a 'crowdfunding' initiative accessed throught the project website. Donations of £3 will buy the paper and printing for one poster site and higher-level donations of £15 or more will be able to choose limited edition rewards by British artist Bob and Roberta Smith.
This momentous charitable art project is being supported by many leading artists such as enormous Francis Bacon admirer Damien Hirst:
"Art is for everyone, and everyone who has access to it will benefit from it. This project is amazing and gives the public a voice and an opportunity to choose what they want to see on their streets" - Damien Hirst
'Art Everywhere' is a collaborative project between Richard Reed, co-founder of Innocent Drinks, the Art Fund - the national fundraising charity for art, Tate, and the poster industry. For more information about the project and how to donate visit the 'Art Everywhere' website. “Art Everywhere” Millais House 7 Cromwell Place London SW7 2JN Word ref: Art Everywhere press release. Susan May's 'Head VI' text on the Arts Council Collection website. Francis Bacon quote: David Sylvester, Interviews with Francis Bacon, 4th ed.,1993, London: Thames & Hudson, p. 24). 'Art Everywhere' is a non-profit art project, supported by its partners and donations. Many thanks to Elizabeth Flanagan and Beth Meade.