175 years of the RCA
In 1837, the world's first publicly funded design school opened in Somerset House on the Strand in London. Later, the Government School of Design was to change its name to the somewhat more grandiose Royal College of Art, change its location, and, just for good measure, change the world. A major new exhibition shows how
To celebrate its 175th anniversary, the RCA is staging The Perfect Place to Grow: 175 Years of the Royal College of Art, an exhibition of the work of its distinguished former students and staff (past and present) which opens to the public today. And it's quite a show.
Composition (Thrust), David Hockney, 1962, Mixed media on board, © Royal College of Art Collection, painted while Hockney was a RCA student, and as it appears in the show (below left)
Hockneys (above) jostle with Hepworths and Rileys with Rhodes. Could any other institution put together such a star-studded accumulation of alumni?
Underground Roundel from Westminster Station, Edward Johnston, c.1930, © TfL, from the collection of London Transport Museum [Calligraphy staff 1901-39]
Originally, the School of Design was set up in order to train young craftsmen and artisans for work in the ceramics, textiles and ornamental crafts of Britain's manufacturing industries. The show (co-curated by Dr Paul Thompson, Rector of the RCA and Robert Upstone of the Fine Art Society) is split into four sections, one of which, Art and Industry, examines these links and the tension they came under due to the emergence of fine art at the institution.
The Politial Expression section of the show features Bladerunner, directed by former student Ridley Scott
Stop the War campaign, David Gentleman, 2003, © David Gentleman [Graphic Design student 1950-53] and, below, as it appears in the show, alongside work from Jonathan Barnbrook
The Victorian notion of art in service to industry is contrasted by a Personal Expression section which looks at how those ideas were challenged in the 20th century. Political Expression (above) covers artists and designers whose work is overtly aligned to causes, including work by suffragette Sylvia Pankhurst who was jailed while a student at the RCA. The fourth section of the show, Public Purpose (below), concentrates on the RCA's role in transforming Britain's health, transport and built environments.
The Public Purpose section of the show features posters by Abram Games and Kinneir Calvert's road signs (far wall)
Why Not Associates' Sensation poster sits alongside its Comedy Carpet project and posters by RCA professor of illustration Andrzej Klimowski
Rolling Stones logo screenprint by John Pasche, who was commissioned by the band while still an RCA student
Ilustrations by Ian Dury (right) alongside work by Sir Peter Blake
Dany Bubbles, Ian Dury, 1966, Graphite and coloured pencil on paper, Courtesy of The Dury Family © Estate of the artist
Tracy Emin installation
The exhibition was designed by Casson Mann and Research Studios. An accompanying book, also designed by Research Studios, is published by Abrams & Chronicle
The Perfect Place to Grow is at the Royal College of Art, Kensington Gore, London SW7 2EU until January 3, rca.ac.uk.
Exhibition photography supplied by the RCA
CR for the iPad
Read in-depth features and analysis plus exclusive iPad-only content in the Creative Review iPad App. Longer, more in-depth features than we run on the blog, portfolios of great, full-screen images and hi-res video. If the blog is about news, comment and debate, the iPad is about inspiration, viewing and reading. As well as providing exclusive, iPad-only content, the app will also update with new content throughout each month. Try a free sample issue here.
CR In print
In our November issue we look at ad agency Wieden + Kennedy in a major feature as it celebrates its 30th anniversary; examine the practice of and a new monograph on M/M (Paris); investigate GOV.UK, the first major project from the Government Digital Service; explore why Kraftwerk appeals so much to designers; and ponder the future of Instagram. Rick Poynor reviews the Phaidon Archive of Graphic Design; Jeremy Leslie takes in a new exhibition at the Whitechapel Gallery dedicated to experimental magazine, Aspen; Mark Sinclair explores Birmingham's Ikon Gallery show of work by the late graphic designer, Tony Arefin; while Daniel Benneworth-Gray writes about going freelance; and Michael Evamy looks at new telecommunications brand EE's identity. Plus, subscribers also receive Monograph in which Tim Sumner of tohave-and-tohold.co.uk dips into Preston Polytechnic's ephemera archive to pick out a selection of printed paper retail bags from the 70s and 80s.
The issue also doubles up as the Photography Annual 2012 – our showcase of the best images in commercial photography produced over the last year. The work selected is as strong as ever, with photographs by the likes of Tim Flach (whose image of a hairless chimp adorns the front cover of the issue, above); Nadav Kander (whose shot of actor Mark Rylance is our Photography Annual cover); Martin Usborne; Peter Lippmann; Giles Revell and more.
Please note, CR now has a limited presence on the newsstand at WH Smith high street stores (although it can still be found in WH Smith travel branches at train stations and airports). If you cannot find a copy of CR in your town, your WH Smith store or a local independent newsagent can order it for you. You can search for your nearest stockist here. Alternatively, call us on 020 7970 4878 to buy a copy direct from us. Based outside the UK? Simply call +44(0)207 970 4878 to find your nearest stockist. Better yet, subscribe to CR for a year here and save yourself almost 30% on the printed magazine.
|The Art of Smallfilms (3)|
|Catch London's bus art sculpture trail (15)|
|Will you be getting wood at D&AD next year? (9)|
|F-F-F-F-Fashion: CR October issue (3)|
|Robert Wilson's Helmand photographs brought to UK streets (2)|