No one can say that the Contemporary Art Society (CAS) doesn’t cover ground. The charity that, since 1910, has given thousands of artworks in every shape, form and media to public museums and galleries across the UK has also more recently underlined its generous scope with some very varied artist-hosted “artist’s table” fundraising dinners. There’s been stew cooked by Conrad Shawcross in his live-work space; Shakespeare recitals with Lynette Yiadom-Boakye; while back in December it was a down-home “Brexit Bingo” evening in the Hackney studio of Michael Landy. Last night’s event was a large, glam gathering at Victoria Miro gallery, hosted by the Korean-born, London-based artist Do Ho Suh, which was serenaded by traditionally garbed musicians playing Korean court and folk music and with the Korean ambassador in attendance.
Do Ho Suh is best known for the sculptural recreations of his various past homes as well as smaller domestic objects in meticulously sewn, multicoloured, transparent fabric; and in her speech the CAS director Caroline Douglas offered an eloquent eulogy of his exploration of the psychological aspect of architecture, stating that “we wear our houses as an expression of our identity.”
This aspect of a building embodying the qualities of what Suh defines as “energy, history, life and memory” is given full throttle in Bridging Home, London, his current public sculpture for the city. Featuring a traditional Korean house and bamboo garden, it appears to have crash-landed, Wizard of Oz-style, onto the Wormwood Street footbridge where it will remain until next year. Judging by the film that charted its construction, which was given its first showing last night, this dramatic new arrival on the London city scene is even managing to attract the attention of the usually jaded London passers-by. But then Do Ho Suh is a proven crowd-puller: as was recently reported in The Art Newspaper, his show at the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, DC, was the most popular contemporary art exhibition of last year, drawing more than 1.1m visitors. This fact was quoted, fully credited and to rounds of applause, by Douglas at last night’s dinner—and with the news that the evening raised nearly £100 000 there was generally much cause for celebration.