Has contemporary art ever been this much fun?

Clare Woods, "Humble Complaints" est £8000-£10000, oil on aluminium.

Clare Woods, “Humble Complaints” est £8000-£10000, oil on aluminium.

Not a society to fade into the wallpaper, the Contemporary Art Society will be celebrating everything it is good at with its illustrious concept auction party “Wanderlust”. Wednesday 13 March 2013 will see the Old Vic Tunnels transformed into a delicious riot of colour, art and flamboyance, a cross of the Baroque with futuristic costume as one of the highlights of the art world’s social calendar kicks off on it’s annual fundraising gala. And this year it will be one to beat all others.

“Wanderlust” – fundraising gala and auction, Old Vic Tunnels, Leake St, SE1
Sponsored by the delectable Parisien jeweller Boucheron

The Gala is now in its fifth year, and is an essential key date in the Contemporary Art Society’s fundraising diary. Each year those who are lucky enough to attend the Gala get the chance to purchase work by internationally acclaimed artists as well as being first at the post to pick up work by up and coming artists and importantly giving revenue with each purchase to the Contemporary Art Society and this year will be one to outdo all others. So if you fancy rubbing shoulders with pop stars and actors, Turner prize winners and art collectors try to acquire a ticket!

Edward Burtynsky's "Pivot Irrigation #16, High Plains, Texas, Pandhandle, USA with Tarot cards in the foreground

Edward Burtynsky’s “Pivot Irrigation #16, High Plains, Texas, Pandhandle, USA is part of the live auction (Shezad Dawood’s Tarot cards in the foreground)

An intoxicating thrill awaits in the three tunnels, as they are transformed into this year’s theme “Wanderlust”.  Artists were commissioned by the Contemporary Art Society to create new works for their fundraising auction this year and create they have in the only way artists can, celebrating the artistic desire and need to track down new places and inspiration, the ideas of which have manifested themselves into over 40 works of art up for auction.

Paul Hobson Director Contemporary art society

Paul Hobson Director Contemporary art society

“This unique evening will raise much needed funds,” said Paul Hobson, Director of the Contemporary Art Society. With the guests also sitting down for dinner, they have been directed to dress in accordance with the theme, either past or future kind of “Versailles versus Blade Runner” Paul said at the press call this week.

Conrad Shawcross' sculpture "Time Rule 224 minutes" to the left with the new media installation by Jennifer Steinkamp "Ronnie Reagan 3" projected to the right.

Conrad Shawcross’ sculpture “Time Rule 224 minutes” to the left with the new media installation by Jennifer Steinkamp “Ronnie Reagan 3” projected to the right.

Artists included are: Clare Woods, Toby Ziegler, Jennifer Steinkamp, Edward Burtynsky, Fiona Banner and more.

Did you know the Contemporary Art Society has had a celebrated reputation for over a hundred years for successfully identifying the artists of the future? Like many long established British foundations, they seem to have been shy of pushing themselves to the foreground. But it seems that it has been the arrival of the new Director, Paul Hobson, that things have revolutionised and with these annual events, the Contemporary Art Society kicks into the art world with such positive new energy and fresh vision, which is the pulse which drives every arm of the Society. Every time I meet them and visit their new space in Central Street EC1, you know this is not a tired old committee run charity, but an astute philanthropic business and exciting social enterprise, with an ability to combine sense, future vision, experience, history and solid research with their clarity to purchase works for museums from philanthropically donated money and to extol astute advice for collectors.

From what I’ve been hearing, the Contemporary Art Society work incredibly hard, but have a lot of fun too, it’s the kind of society I know a lot of people would want to be part of. It’s moreish, if a philanthropic society can be described as such?! The events they run, where you can meet the leading names in contemporary arts (Turner prize winners, etc) are important to raise support for their missions, it is also good for the artists as they have a platform to lever their work into public and private collections. At their HQ in Central Street, you can get up close and personal with pieces of art they’ve bought for collections and museums before they get installed in their new homes in Leeds, etc.

Fiona Banner's "The Complete Text of Snoopy's Novel - All the Way Down"

Fiona Banner’s “The Complete Text of Snoopy’s Novel – All the Way Down”

Anyone can be a member, but if you want to share the fun of what will certainly be a wild and somewhat art fuelled epicurean experience at the Old Vic Tunnels, you should grab a ticket from the Contemporary Art Society, details on www.contemporaryartsociety.org and you can be sure that all the proceeds will be going to ensure that our contemporary artists can continue to create and find markets both within the public and private sectors. You can also view the works of art on the website too.

Go on, do your bit, join the Society and know that each penny will touch an artist’s practice and you are supporting a creative voice for contemporary art today.

It really does seem, to quote Paul once again, and I love this quote, that the Contemporary Art Society is “altruism combined with fun.”

Live your support, get involved and attend their lectures, meet the artists, start your own collection if you haven’t already? Don’t know where to start, well, you’d better join up then!

Photographs and story by Vanessa Champion vanessachampion.co.uk

To see earlier review of the opening of the Contemporary Art Society’s new premises:

Doors open after 100 years – mark of a new and a progressive era for the contemporary art society

Contemporary Art Society - over 8000 works of art donated to museums and public galleries, from Bacon to Freud, Hepworth and Moore...

Contemporary Art Society – over 8000 works of art donated to museums and public galleries, from Bacon to Freud, Hepworth and Moore…

This entry was published on March 7, 2013 at 10:31 pm. It’s filed under arts, Artwork, celebrity, Comment, designer, Editorial, fashion, Fasion, Launch, London, people, pop stars, Review, The Arts, Uncategorized, Word Art and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

One thought on “Has contemporary art ever been this much fun?

  1. Pingback: Form, Memory and the “Thingyness of Things” – Ivan Seal in conversation | The Dragonfly

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