Galleries - June 2018

WithMayfair Art Weekend and London Art Week bothkicking off on the last Friday in June, the 2018 summer art season continues withvigour, the uncertain future seemingly posed by Brexit being sloughed off in an extravaganza of shows, events and openings at bothcommercial and public galleries, not to mention luxury goods retailers across the West End and all taking place on a grand scale. The Mayfair Art Weekend – including St James’s – has really expanded in size and scope, its close co-operation withthe Royal Academy , (celebrating its 250th birthday this summer also – see Coda), which is acting as the event hub, giving it particular heft. Withsome 35 participating organisations, talks and walks, workshops and performances, it reveals the underlying resilience of the London art world, its ability constantly to renew and re-invent itself. In all the excitement don't lose sight of the more Old Master/Antiquities oriented London Art Week which seems also to have upped its game with some 40 galleries taking part this year – and proving that, with good connoisseurship and artistic flair, this once increasingly sleepy area has now proved to be very far from a dying market. So concerned withthe immediate ‘here and now’ of making, artists can often be somewhat neglectful of what happens to their work, and consequently, their subsequent artistic reputation, trusting simply that someone, somewhere will pick up the critical baton and run withit. It doesn’t work like that however, things have to be made to happen. Even with somebody as celebrated as Henry Moore, a huge element in his continuing worldwide celebrity unquestionably comes down to the shrewdness and financial weight with which his Foundation was first established in 1977, some nine years before his death. These thoughts were provoked particularly by two exhibitions involving the Wilhelmina Barns- Graham Trust. Established in 1987 some 17 years before the artist’s death, this operates, like all good trusts, on a number of levels. At base there is the ongoing support and promotion of the artist’s work. In this instance it is sponsorship of a superb retrospective loan exhibition at the Hastings Jerwood Gallery , ‘Wilhelmina Barns-Graham: Sea, Rock, Earth and Ice’. It takes as its focus her ‘Winter Landscape 1952’, while exploring some four decades of the artist’s profoundly poetic and nuanced abstract take on the landscape, above all that of her beloved Cornwall and St Ives. The show goes on to Graves Art Gallery in Sheffield later in the year. Beyond this has been the establishment of a Trust office in the artist’s native Edinburgh which not only houses a considerable collection of her and others work for loan and research, but also administers grants and bursaries in art and art history to Scottish art schools, in short the artist as benefactor of other artists. This opens up another intriguing line of enquiry, the scope and role of art and artist trusts and foundations in a much wider sense which, as it happens, forms the basis of a fascinating show and conference at the Mall Galleries entitled ‘The Art of Collecting’. Curated by Selina Skipwithit looks at the work of some four suchbodies, the Barns-Graham itself along with the Fleming, Jerwood and Ingram Collections, how they began and the wide range of bursaries, awards and events they support, all witha particular emphasis on women artists’ work. Having been involved in another, albeit rather more modest (financially speaking) trust, the Evelyn Williams Trust for some 25 years now, I can vouch for the fact that it is never so mucha question of financial muscle as thought, imagination and love that makes these bodies really work. And that trusts really are for the many not the few. R OUND-UP 10 GALLERIES JUNE 2018 E n fête Trust artists