On Foot: An exhibition curated by Jonathan Anderson | Offer Waterman
This show attempts a hard-to-pull-off trick: creating a sense of whimsy and joy through vast financial muscle. Luckily, it’s curated by someone who mastered the trick long ago: Jonathan Anderson, the young fashion designer who achieved early fame with his eponymous brand, and now, as creative director of luxury brand Loewe, is backed by the full might of the world’s richest man.
It’s LVMH money that brought all these stellar artworks together, on the walls of this small Mayfair gallery: the works are all British, generally from a midcentury London-based A-lister, with Freud, Auerbach, Hepworth, Hockney and Kossoff all present and correct. But it’s Anderson’s imagination that contextualises this show-off excess, with several of his hilarious creations - dresses and accessories - also on display.
A small side room’s the highlight: works including Lucian Freud’s 1946 Pigeon are surveyed by a small batallion of pigeon-shaped purses, on sale (or not, if they want to keep it scarce and boost value) at your local JW Anderson store. I’d seen these stupidly impractical objects all over social media in recent months: the pigeon purse is loved by influencers worldwide. And I have to admit, seeing them up close, with their sweet little pockets, hinged on the wing, I kind of wanted one too.
The clever curator mixed in a couple of different coloured pigeons, which I later found out are from a “collab” (as the influencers would call it) between Anderson and the British artist Anthea Hamilton. These retail for north of £2,000 each. The Freud is worth quite a lot more, but I barely glanced at that.
And of course, LVMH, owners of Loewe, part-owner of Anderson, and the financial muscle behind this covetable selection of artworks and luxury goods, is worth far more than you or I could ever imagine.
I don’t want to sound disapproving, given that I enjoyed the show so much. I take moral cover in the obvious enjoyment its curator himself took in putting it all together. Maybe that’s the trick.
On Foot: An exhibition curated by Jonathan Anderson is at Offer Waterman (London). 18 September - 28 October 2023