The highlights of Art Night 2021

Art Night is back this year, but with a very different programme compared to what we have seen before in its four previous editions. All earlier Art Night events took place over one evening in 4 different neighbourhoods of London: central London, Whitechapel, Southbank and Walthamstow. Similar to this year's London Gallery Weekend concept but completely different in terms of the programme. Art Night 2021 has expanded, and is now happening across the UK for an entire month (18th June-18th July), bridging online and on-site events! This move is intended to make Art Night less decentralised and more accessible for a broader public.


Art Night 2021 is titled “Nothing Compares 2U”. It takes “inspiration from defiance in small acts and moments of self-determination, both personal and collective”. In this article, we highlight some of the exciting commissions happening during the festival.

First and foremost, we have to highlight the fantastic participation of the Guerrilla Girls in this year’s edition! Guerrilla Girls is an anonymous art collective devoted to fighting sexism and racism within the art world. The group emerged in 1985 in New York City and has been active ever since. Their most admired work is “Do Women Have To Be Naked To Get Into the Met. Museum?” (1989), a poster that exposes the numbers of the percentage of female artists represented in Modern Museums.


For Art Night 2021, the Guerrilla Girls are presenting their most recent work, “The Male Graze”, which is their largest public commission in the UK. This artwork will take the form of billboards spread across the UK (look out for them in your city!), plus a website and a live online event. However, the most exciting part of this commission is that it is interactive. Yes! This Guerrilla Girls project want to invite people to visit their local museums and count the “number of female nudes on the walls compared to the number of female artists' work”. These numbers can then be entered into the website going live on June 18th.


The online event will be on June 26th. The Guerrilla Girls will talk about their use of statistics and humour to produce work and social awareness. This talk will be followed by a Q&A session- a not to miss! You can book your tickets here.

In London you can find the billboards here and here. If you are not in London you can still find a billboard in Birmingham, Dundee, Cardiff, Glasgow, Swansea (here and here), Lewes, Morriston, Warwick and Leeds


Secondly, we want to highlight the inclusion  of the multifaceted artist Alberta Whittle. Whittle is an artist that works across performance, digital collage and moving image - all of which are featured in her participation in this programme. For Art Night’s commission, the artist presents a mix of film screenings and performances that are looking at colonial histories and police brutality. “Holding the Line: a refrain in two parts” is one of the films and can be watched online 18th – 20th June. The other film, “Creating dangerously (we-I insist!)”, will be screened at Platfform 2 with Peak at Abergavenny Station in Wales; at CCA, Derry-Londonderry, and KLA ART in Uganda. If performance is more of your interest, then we suggest Whittle’s performance “DIS- A lesson in Reversal or Unlearning '' that will be taking place in Cambridge on July 9th.


Our last highlight for this year’s Art Night edition is Mark Leckey’s commission. Leckey started producing work in the late 90s and is now one of the most influential artists today. He works with sculpture, film, sound and performance, but his most admired and well-known works are films. Leckey has a strong identity in his video collages, often exploring the potential of the loop as a tool to communicate the relationship between Pop Culture and Technology. For Art Night 2021, Leckey was commissioned to show the work “Under Armour in the Twilight Sparkle”. This is a video that explores the simplicity of the loop and short-lived images in our culture. The loop shows a YouTube video of a “man jumping through the glass window of a bus stop”- although this sounds incredibly simple, Leckey's work around the sound and video montage is clever and shows the artist’s bridge between technology and nostalgia and pop culture. “Under Armour in the Twilight Sparkle” will be screened online for a 48-hour slot, from 8 pm July 9th – 8 pm July 11th.


Other incredible artists such as Adham Faramawy, Sonya Dyer, Isabel Lewis, and many others have been commissioned to present work at Art Night 2021. Check here the complete programme.

Art Night, as usual, sounds very exciting! We are particularly interested in seeing what the outcome of the Guerrilla Girls commission will be. If you come across one of their billboards around the UK, please share them with us! We love to see your art findings. Also, it seems like a fun activity to visit museums and participate in “The Male Graze” interactive work.Art Night officially starts this week!

#GuerrillaGirls #MarkLeckey #ArtNight2021 #AlbertaWhittle

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