ArtReview Culture Club: Public Art – What’s ‘Public’ About It?

Abbas Zahedi, Ouranophobia SW3, 2020, installation view at the old Chelsea Sorting Office. Courtesy Belmacz

Shoreditch Arts Club, Wednesday 21 February, 7pm

At a time when many historic monuments and artworks are being torn down or defaced, our understanding of what should stand in public space is under pressure. Is it the responsibility of committees of experts, landowners or popular (and populist) opinions? Perhaps it’s a slice of each of them. Artists or commissioners are tasked with negotiating these interests, and who exactly public art is supposed to serve. Is public art a question of ‘for all time’ or ‘for our time’?

Join artist Abbas Zahedi, artist and writer Stewart Home, and Lacuna director Stella Ioannou, for an informal conversation with ArtReview editor J.J. Charlesworth, as they explore what’s ‘public’ about public art.

Courtesy Blaze Images

Abbas Zahedi (b. 1984, London, UK), studied medicine at University College London, before completing his MA at Central Saint Martins in 2019. Abbas blends contemporary philosophy, poetics, and social dynamics with performative and new-media modes. Selected exhibitions include: Holding a Heart in Artifice, Nottingham Contemporary (2023); Metatopia 10013, Anonymous Gallery, New York (2022); The London Open 2022, Whitechapel Gallery, London (2022); Postwar Modern, Barbican, London (2022); Testament, Goldsmiths CCA, London (2022); Temporary Compositions, Gallery 31 Somerset House, London (2021); Yarmonics 2021, Great Yarmoth, UK (2021); and D.E.VALUATION, Mécènes du Sud, Montpellier (2021). Abbas is an associate lecturer at the Royal College of Art (London), as well as teaching at universities across the UK and abroad.

Stewart Home, Becoming (M)other, 2004

Stewart Home was born in London in 1962, where he still lives. He has been working as an artist since the early 1980s and had a mid-career retrospective at White Columns in New York in 2011. Recent work includes Fictophilia, Darling Pearls & Co (London, 2023); a live art presentation of his 2023 novel Art School Orgy at Queens Park Railway Club (Glasgow, 2023); Sexus Maleficarum, Darling Pearls & Co (London, 2020-2021); Porn The Theory – Fantasy The Practice, an installation of 2 films at Cable Depot (London 2019); Dual Flying Kicks, 5 Years (London, 2018); and Re-Enter The Dragon (part of Glasgow International, 2016). Home has work in the Arts Council of England collection. He is the author of 17 novels, 7 books of cultural commentary, as well as collections of short stories & poetry.

Photo: Nick Turpin

Stella Ioannou launched Lacuna in 2010 to realise visionary public art projects and events. Her established relationships with London’s business and arts communities enrich her curatorial and leadership roles and contribute to Lacuna’s growing success. Prior to Lacuna, Ioannou was founding Deputy Director of the London Festival of Architecture (2003–2007) and Client Director for the international luxury events agency, Profirst (2007–2009). Ioannou is Artistic Director of Sculpture in the City, the UK’s largest annual urban sculpture park and a member of the City Arts Initiative (since 2011). She is former Culture Mile Outdoor Art Curator (2017–2019) and Creative Lead for Celebrate the City (2012), the Square Mile’s cultural programme for the London Olympics. Ioannou is a Mayor of London and London Borough of Culture approved consultant, a trained architect and dancer, a Liveryman Member and Court Assistant of the Worshipful Company of Chartered Architects and a member of the City Architecture Forum. Ioannou was also an advisor to the City of London’s Eastern City Cluster Area Strategy (2017-2019) and in 2021 joined the Lord Mayor’s Culture and Commerce Task Force. Ioannou regularly lectures and sits on art juries in the UK and abroad.

ArtReview Culture Club is a place for art professionals, creatives and collectors to discuss timely topics in contemporary art and culture. The 2023 and 2024 talks programme will feature some of the most innovative voices shaping the local and global art and culture scenes.

Venue: Shoreditch Arts Club, 6 Redchurch St, London E2 7DD
Date: Wednesday 21st February
Time: 7pm (doors open at 6:30pm)
Featuring: Abbas Zahedi, artist; Stewart Home, artist and writer; Stella Ioannou, Lacuna director; JJ Charlesworth, editor at ArtReview.

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