Art Night 2021 – Guerrilla Girls’ The Male Graze

From 18 June until 18 July, Art Night is expanding out of London and across the country, taking place in different locations and different spaces. These include train stations and billboards, the latter being the case in Leeds, with Guerrilla Girls’ commission ‘The Male Graze’.

The Guerrilla Girls, established in 1985 in New York, employs culture jamming in the form of posters, books, billboards, and public appearances to expose discrimination and corruption. 

The Male Graze includes an online gig, a national series of billboards and a website, and is presented in Leeds in partnership with The Tetley. The billboard presentation in Leeds is part of a series to be shown across the country, and explores poor male behaviour ‘through the lens of art history’. There will be an online gig on 26 June as part of the commission, and a website where people are invited to count up and share gender imbalance in local art collections.

The festival is curated by Art Night Artistic Director, Helen Nisbet and is titled Nothing Compares 2U, after the song penned by Prince and most famously performed by Sinead O’Connor. The programme takes inspiration from defiance in small acts and moments of self-determination, both personal and collective.

Helen Nisbet: “It feels really good to be announcing this programme – testament to a lot of hard work and adaptability by the artists and Art Night team. Realising a festival in complex circumstances has been tough but there are some beautiful results: anyone can attend the Guerrilla Girls’ online event and add to their interactive website; people can watch each commission as it goes online together, no matter where they are in the world; people in Skye can have a really intimate experience with Isabel Lewis’ work – one that does not involve other people coming into their community, and Compton Verney are opening their grounds up for free to Art Night attendees. In prioritising the safety of visitors, staff and artists, I think we’ve found really touching ways of still being together.”

Philippine Nguyen and Ksenia Zemtsova, Co-founders of Art Night: “In 2015, we had the ambition to create London’s first free night-time contemporary art festival in unexpected places. We were only just starting, working from home and learning as we went along. We knew we wanted contemporary art to be accessible to a wider audience, regardless of background. Fast forward 5 years, 4 editions, 260,000 live audiences and 50 major artist commissions, we’re back working from home but our ambition to widen audiences for contemporary continues to expand. In 2021, we’re absolutely delighted to present new work by exceptional artists to audiences across the country, in cities, towns and even villages”

Art Night commissions will also be broadcast online, for 48 hours on Tuesday and Fridays throughout the festival at On 15 July all commissions will be shown in partnership with Somerset House and on the platforms of many Art Night Partners. Art Night can be experienced anywhere in the world online. Works will also take place across London, for long term fans of Art Night to enjoy.

Photograph: Guerrilla Girls – Graffiti Yard.

Adam Kershaw

Adam combines his interest in Leeds with a flair for writing discovered back in school days. He says he'll tackle any topic as long as it's Leeds.

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