Auctions Contemporary art

Live from the red carpet

Allen Jones RA, Enchanteresse, 2007, bronze and leather with steel base, (edition of 8 with 4 artist proofs, est: £60,000-£80,000)

Tonight, the Royal Academy of Arts will auction 40 works donated by academicians—among them Allen Jones’s sculpture Enchantresse, 2007, a bronze and leather goddess kitted out in turquoise bodysuit and high-heeled ankle boots, which is expected to fetch £60,000 to £80,000—as a fundraising effort for its expansion, in a live auction called “RA Now”. Last night, the institution held a viewing for the event, complete with red carpet and string quartet. We asked a few academicians, what exactly is the RA now, as opposed to... back then? “One feels the RA is in its moment,” said the artist Richard Wilson. “It’s vibrant and energetic, there’s lots of new blood. And you feel every RA is global now, having shows around the world.” Recently appointed academicians like Tracey Emin certainly fit that description. Christopher Le Brun, the current president, said “it’s arguably stronger now than in 1768”, at its beginnings. But no matter how “now” it bills itself, the RA will always be different from contemporary art. Grayson Perry, resplendent in a midnight blue cocktail dress and sequined bustier, declared: “It’s a glorious anachronism.”

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