An Overview of Artwise Projects
We have tried to keep this overview short, but the truth is we have been at this for so long and have worked on so many projects we love that this has turned in to a veritable thesis! Feel free to dive in, lightly browse, or indeed not to read at all, as the below is a brief overview of our journey to date but each individual project mentioned below has been lovingly documented within the website along with many others!
Artwise launched in 1996 and has since garnered a solid reputation for working directly with artists on exciting commissions for a diverse range of clients - pushing visual art to a new level and audience.
Our first client was British Airways, with whom we enjoyed a 16 year relationship building and managing the British Airways Art Collection (ultimately amassing over 2000 works of art), curating lounges globally and commissioning over 50 artists to do site-specific bespoke works: most notably two wall drawings by Sol LeWitt, an audio walk by Janet Cardiff, award-winning sculptures by Andy Goldsworthy, Troika and Dutch design collective Droog, with Frank Tjepkema’s design for a futuristic champagne bar which won the prestigious accolade of Dutch Design Award of the Year.
From 2002-2006 we produced a series of works under the project umbrella of Tribe Art for the BAR Honda Formula 1 Racing Team. This platform enabled us to commission major works shown internationally to large audiences by mid-career artists such as Julian Opie, Paul Veroude and Hussein Chalayan as well as permitting us to explore and commission works from young artists in the then emerging area of interdisciplinary and interactive art and design collectives such as rAndom International, Troika and United Visual Artists, all of whom we have continued to enjoy fruitful collaborations with to this day.
Interdisciplinary collaborations continued in 2005 when we devised and produced a spectacular interactive multimedia art event for Lloyd’s of London to mark their historic connections with Lord Nelson and the bicentenary of The Battle of Trafalgar. The event took place in the atrium of Richard Rogers’ iconic Lloyd’s HQ and was led by Peter Greenaway who invited the Pulitzer Prize winning composer, David Lang together with the London Sinfonietta orchestra and choir and calligrapher Brody Neuenschwander to perform together live.
In 2007, already known for our lateral thinking and love of automobiles, we were approached by Fiat to come up with an idea of how they could mark the UK launch of the updated model for the iconic Fiat 500. For this project we commissioned Tracey Emin to create unique drawings on four new cars which were then launched as the unofficial VIP pick-up cars for the Frieze Art Fair. This turned into an exciting press story as we had many celebrities opting for these unique little ‘art cars’ rather than the normal VIP shuttles. As part of the project and in agreement with the artist, two of the cars were sold at auction and one raised an incredible £200,000 for the charity ARK and Tracey’s own charity in Uganda, PEAS.
Art in the public domain has always been of interest to us as we truly believe art should be for everyone. Although we have never focussed on this area specifically, we have commissioned many temporary public artworks and a few permanent ones. Via the charity we set up, Art Lights London, we realised two unique projects with the artist Ron Haseldon that featured as part of the 2012 Cultural Olympic Programme. Another highlight, Conrad Shawcross’ monumental public art sculpture Paradigm for The Crick Institute funded by The Wellcome Trust is a testament as to how art, engineering and science can successfully unite in the public realm. However, not all of our grand ideas and visions come to fruition but sometimes you work so hard and long on a project that it is worth noting, case in point, Julian Opie’s proposal for Hungerford Bridge. A labour of our love for over 8 years and the only non-realised project documented on our website, it remains firmly on our To Do List!
The past decade has marked an important shift for Artwise as more and more of our projects focussed on conservation and environmental issues. In some ways, this most likely reflects what we see happening in the world around us and represents our desire to help drive positive change. WWF (World Wildlife Fund) has been a long-standing client for whom we have produced to date three large projects and commissioned over 50 artists to create some incredible artworks which have been thought-provoking and demonstrated, sometimes laterally, the fragility of our endangered planet. Working with artists like Anish Kapoor, Kiki Smith, Harland Miller, Jim Lambie, Rose Wylie, Rachel Whiteread and Peter Blake, these commissioned artworks have found homes with some of the most important Collectors all over the world and raised over £1 million towards many of WWF’s fieldwork projects.
In 2014 we curated a large-scale exhibition Here Today…at the Old Sorting Office, Holborn, London, commissioned for the IUCN’s 50th anniversary of their Red List: the official international database and classification on the status of endangered species. Andy Warhol, Gavin Turk and Douglas Gordon were among the 50 internationally celebrated contemporary artists on view that sought to offer different views, access points and visual triggers that encouraged contemplative responses to the environmental issues we were (and are still) facing.
Here Today…led to the invitation for Artwise to curate an environmentally-focused exhibition for the Pavilion of Azerbaijan at the 53rd Venice Biennale in 2015. Vita Vitale featured around 30 artists including Rose Wylie, Mircea Cantor, Edward Burtynsky, Diana Thater, Ugo Rondinoni and Siobhan Hapaska and was shown in a beautiful 14th C Palazzo situated on the Grand Canal. Curatorially we focused on the 'Human Footprint' and the damage that we are doing to our planet. Although it was one of the most logistically challenging exhibitions we have ever done, it remains a curatorial Artwise highlight.
Over the years we are proud that Artwise projects have enabled over £3 million to be raised for various charities. We relish the opportunity to think differently about how art can engage with an audience, communicate a message and ultimately make a difference. For example, our project for The Cure Parkinson’s Trust (CPT) Cure3 (Cure Cubed) for which each artist is given a bespoke 20cm3 Perspex cube to work with has become the biggest fundraising project for the charity raising an incredible £1M to date over three editions and it has already established itself as an art event not to be missed. Participating artists have included Damien Hirst, Carmen Herrera, Peter Doig, Mona Hatoum, Grayson Perry, Frank Bowling and Sarah Lucas to name a few.
Our projects have often been in museum venues such as the Groningen Museum and the Centraal Museum in the Netherlands; the Museum Nasional in Jakarta; Kunstmuseum, Wolfsburg; and the Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, Centre d'Art Contemporain, Geneva; Proje 4L/Elgiz Museum of Contemporary Art, Istanbul; the Whitechapel Gallery, the Royal Academy of Arts, the Southbank Centre, the Guildhall Art Gallery and the Design Museum, London; Hall Place & Gardens, Bexley and Pallant House Gallery, Chichester.
Artwise also has a small number of select Private Collectors with whom we work closely to source works, build, hang and maintain their collections. We advise on new acquisitions with international galleries and collaborate with museums on exhibition loans whilst overseeing all the accompanying administration.
Congratulations you have made it to the end of our story! All of these projects, and more, are outlined within the website and we look forward to adding to our curatorial creations and sharing them with you.
Laura and Susie
Written during Lockdown in London, January 2021