Russell Tovey launches ‘Art of London’s Summer Season 2023: The Art of Entertainment’, some of the National Portrait Gallery’s most iconic portraits will be installed on 52 giant colourful cubes lining the skies of London’s entertainment district, Leicester Square. ‘Art Reframed’ is one of the West End’s biggest ever public art initiatives running from July into October, with installations now hanging over Coventry Street and Irving Street to be decorated next week.
Bordering the iconic entertainment square, Art of London’s head-turning public art trail features some of the world’s greatest icons across film, literature and music. From today and into next week, the portraits above the West End will include depictions of great writers including William Shakespeare, Harold Pinter, Ira Aldridge, and Noel Coward; blockbuster film talent Olivia Colman, Judi Dench and Saoirse Ronan; and musicians such as Elton John, Dusty Springfield, Millicent Small, and Kate Bush.
Russell Tovey, actor and supporter of Art of London, says: “I am delighted to help bring world-class portraits from the National Portrait Gallery to the streets in London’s cultural heart and celebrate some of the world’s most important cultural figures. My own ethos is all about making art accessible and fun and I hope this creative initiative encourages members of the public to seek out the incredible art both on the streets and in galleries across the West End.”
‘Art of London’s Summer Season 2023: The Art of Entertainment’, aims to inspire West End visitors to learn about notable figures, past and present, who have shaped Britain today. As well as modern-day legends, the complete line-up of portraits contains famous faces and important works from the 1700s and 1800s, including painters Sir Joshua Reynolds and William Hogarth, and actors such as David Garrick and Ira Aldridge.
The Summer Season will feature several headline public arts commissions, special projects, participatory consumer events and fringe activity in partnership with prestigious arts and culture institutions across the West End, Piccadilly and St James. Beginning today, the programme will run until October 2023 and is Art of London’s first partnership with the National Portrait Gallery, which reopened in June following a three-year closure and major transformation to its building.
The installation creates a direct link from the West End to the National Portrait Gallery, driving visitors to the Gallery’s new entrance and forecourt, Ross Place, in through its new doors, which feature artworks by Tracey Emin. Its new ‘history makers’ space, The National Lottery Heritage Fund Gallery, displays its most recent contemporary acquisitions and commissions, including Russell Tovey’s portrait by Doron Langberg.
Mark Williams, Director of Art of London, says: “Following the success of last year’s Art of London Summer Season, we’re thrilled to be back for 2023 with a new campaign in the West End celebrating individuals past and present who have made a significant contribution to art and culture. In a public art trail around London’s entertainment district, West End visitors will find the streets of the West End transformed with tributes to legendary faces across film, literature and music.”
Ros Lawler, Chief Operating Officer at National Portrait Gallery, says: “Following three years of closure, we are delighted to have opened the doors of our new National Portrait Gallery in time to celebrate a fantastic summer in the West End, with works from our Collection now ‘spilling out’ into the surrounding streets for all to enjoy as part of Art of London Summer Season.”
In partnership with Heart of London Business Alliance and supported by Westminster City Council and Fujifilm, the Art of London Summer Season 2023: The Art of Entertainment brings art, entertainment and culture to the streets of Westminster for the public to enjoy and feel encouraged to visit the many galleries the capital has to offer. Westminster City Council will support more cultural institutions and independent artists through a variety of activities this summer.
The free art initiative, backed by Russell Tovey, celebrated actor, writer, and co-founder and host of acclaimed podcast Talk Art, follows other phenomenal art attractions that have taken place in recent years as part of Art of London’s award-winning initiatives, including Brighter Future launched by comedian Harry Hill, the Augmented Gallery, several Pop-Up Art Exhibitions, the Piccadilly Art Takeover and Trail, Art After Dark and the Take A Moment 2022 photography exhibition with Ray Burmiston.
Culture seekers can also discover a raft of spectacular arts destinations to visit using Art of London’s handy online guides, filled with world-class art galleries, theatres, museums, institutions and pop-ups to explore in the West End. Alongside ‘Art Reframed’ this summer, people can also discover a series of colourful flags across Jermyn Street, featuring tiled mosaic patterns, designed by Rana Begum RA and titled. No. 1273 Flag.
PHOTO CAPTION: Unveiled by Russell Tovey, Art Reframed launches Art of London’s Summer Season 2023 in partnership with the National Portrait Gallery, running until September 2023. artoflondon.co.uk/season