Art on the Underground pops-up at Piccadilly Circus tube station, By James Brewer
Art on the Underground – a project backed by the London Underground system – is launching its first pop-up shop, at Piccadilly Circus station.
Commuters and passers-by will be able to “mind the gap” in their home décor by buying 15 sets of signed, limited edition prints of works from international artists at Print Shop, a special booth set up on the busy station concourse.
Art on the Underground is a programme that seeks to “champion contemporary art by offering the Tube as a unique opportunity to an international range of artists; from those with an established reputation to those at the beginning of promising careers.”
The 15 new works were commissioned by Art on the Underground on the theme 15 for 150 – marking the 150th anniversary in 2013 of London Underground. Revenues from the sales will help support Art on the Underground’s future programme.
The artists are Pablo Bronstein, Melissa Gordon, Runa Islam, Idris Khan, Sarah Lucas, Goshka Macuga, Robert Orchardson, Martha Rosler, Nedko Solakov, Frances Stark, Corin Sworn, Wolfgang Tillmans, Gillian Wearing, Lawrence Weiner and Haegue Yang.
The project is in collaboration with Own Art, an initiative that offers interest-free loans to purchase contemporary artworks, and is a rare chance for the public to acquire affordable art in a non-gallery setting.
Rebecca Heald, curator for Art on the Underground, said: “Print Shop presents a fantastic opportunity, in a unique and alternative setting, for commuters and collectors alike to own works inspired by the Tube from some of the world’s greatest contemporary artists.”
Helen Bonar, programme manager for Own Art, added: “We are delighted to be partnering with Art on the Underground to make it possible for more people to own a limited edition print from the 15 for 150 collection, by enabling them to spread the cost of their purchase with Own Art.”
Print Shop has been designed by Apfel and Simon Jones, who previously created the House of Voltaire pop-up for Studio Voltaire in 2012 and 2010.
Art on the Underground aims to provide “a world-class programme of contemporary art that enriches the Tube environment and customers’ journey experience; and continues the longstanding tradition that excellent art and design is at the core of London Underground’s identity and services.”
The programme includes temporary and permanent commissions for stations including Gloucester Road; a series of commissions for the front cover of the Pocket Tube map; a film programme at Canary Wharf station; and a series of commissions based on Tube lines. The last-named has so far included the Piccadilly Line (Thin Cities), the Jubilee Line (One Thing Leads to Another –Everything is Connected) and the Central Line (Central Line Series).
For the 150th anniversary, Art on the Underground commissioned Turner Prize-winning artist Mark Wallinger to create Labyrinth, a permanent artwork for each of the 270 stations on the network.
Own Art is an Arts Council England scheme that makes buying contemporary art and craft easy and affordable by letting individuals spread the cost of their purchase over 10 months with an interest free loan. Since its launch 10 years ago, 30, 000 UK customers have used Own Art to buy more than £25m worth of contemporary art and craft, generating an income of some £15m for artists.