We spoke to Victoria Luxem, Head of Mayfair Art Weekend since 2015, to find out a bit more about this year’s festival and discover what’s so special about Mayfair…
Mayfair Art Weekend is turning five! What are you most looking forward to in this year’s programme?
Mayfair Art Weekend is now in its fifth year, and it feels bigger, has so much more momentum and brilliant partners involved. We are now in our second year partnering with the Royal Academy of Arts and this has naturally given us more gravitas but also scope to grow. I’m very much looking forward to the Long Artists’ Lunch, to take place on Sunday afternoon, when Burlington Gardens will be temporarily pedestrianised. It will be an afternoon of delicious food, art and lively conversation. Hosted by British artist, and Royal Academician, Bob and Roberta Smith, the lunch will be served on a 15 metre long surrealist art themed tablescape designed by artist duo Philip and Charlotte Colbert. Sit on their lobster chairs and eccentric table settings for an afternoon of artist-led discussions, performances and interventions. Visitors can drop in, bring or buy a delicious meal from an Italian tapas stall by Company of Cooks, and join in artist led discussions.
I’m also very excited about the Gallery HOP! which has had it’s own revamp this year, with it’s own branding. We’ve also partnered up with ArtReview. ArtReview – as the official media partner of the Gallery HOP! – will curate a number of unique and self-led creative routes to take visitors from gallery to gallery. On Friday 29 June, visitors can HOP! across Mayfair and St. James’s with cocktails courtesy of Sipsmith Gin and Fevertree.
What is on the menu for the Long Artists’ Lunch on Sunday 1 July?
We have invited a group of artists to intervene in the different aspects of the Long Artists’ Lunch. Philip and Charlotte Colbert have designed the tablescape, and artist and Keeper of the Royal Academy, Rebecca Salter is reinterpreting a traditional cake stall. Visitors will be able to create an art work and in exchange receive a slice of stylish Battenberg cake from an oversized monochrome cake tower. And Bob and Roberta Smith, artist and Royal Academician is championing the event, and we will be using his slogan “Art is your human right”.
Tell us your thoughts on the art scene in Mayfair and what the future holds…
Mayfair is a wonderful place, whilst filled with history it is also very much part of modern London. It’s a great place to explore, walk through some of the arcades and discover beautiful art, clothes and have some of the best dining experiences in the world! The art scene is constantly changing, but what remains strong in Mayfair is the diversity of art which is on offer to look at or purchase. Whether it’s a rare Old Master or a totally fresh from the studio, contemporary art work. Mayfair’s galleries represent some of the most accomplished artists from around the world, who are at the top of their game and producing some of the most talked about works. It’s an exciting place to work in!
What do you love about working with the galleries in Mayfair and St James?
I have a very privileged role, looking at art on a daily basis! Art dealers are very passionate people in each of their fields, and it’s constantly a learning journey, discovering a new artist or new body of work from a great contemporary artist.
Where’s your favourite place to have lunch in Mayfair and St James?
It would have to be the Academicians Room at the RA or Mount Street Deli! And for dinner, the choice is endless – Gymkhana and Bombay Bustle are my favourite Indians and Scott’s for a special occasion!
What most surprises you about Mayfair?
The architecture of Mayfair and St. James’s. People should be told to look upwards when walking around.. !
If you had a day to spend exploring Mayfair, where would you go and what would you do?
My day would start in the Academicians Room for tea, followed by their latest exhibition. I would then head up to Bond Street to visit The Fine Art Society. They always have amazing shows and the building is quite extraordinary in itself. Kitty Fisher’s would be next for lunch, with Abby Hignell of Hignell Gallery, who is always great fun to see! The rest of the afternoon would be spent getting lost through some of the streets I may have not yet discovered and taking in the architecture.
Do you have a favourite street in Mayfair? What do you like about it?
Mount Street! It’s beautifully British and feels like I’ve walked onto an old movie set.
Mayfair Art Weekend runs from 29 June to 1 July 2018.