Objects of Obsession: A new digital series in partnership with the Royal Academy and The Space


Image credit:  Bob and Roberta Smith. Photo by Benedict Johnson


We are excited to announce our new digital video series in partnership with the Royal Academy and The Space featuring leading British artists and their Object of Obsession: a work of art by another artist that has great meaning to them.


As part of the Royal Academy’s 250th anniversary celebrations, three Royal Academicians will take part in a series of talks with broadcaster and RA artistic director Tim Marlow about their chosen Object of Obsession. The work may be one that has transformed or transfixed them, provoked an emotional response, inspired them, or perhaps changed their work.


Each talk will be hosted by the gallery or museum which houses the piece, and we are delighted  that artist Bob and Robert Smith has chosen Sir Jacob Epstein’s  First Portrait of Esther (with long hair) from the New Art Gallery’s Epstein collection. Bob and Roberta Smith will visit the museum on Friday 16th February to explore the reasons Esther holds a personal meaning and relevance to her artistic process with broadcaster and RA artistic director Tim Marlow.


The revelatory encounter will be filmed and streamed live across our Facebook and YouTube page to art fans across the globe on the dates below. We will also stream the other talks from the series featuring Cornelia Parker at Bethlem Museum of the Mind and Sonia Boyce at Manchester Art Gallery.


The series of talks aims to set up new and lasting collaborations between regional galleries to build their digital presence. The series aims to seed set up a new distribution network of shared digital content and shared effort between arts organisations to attract new online audiences.


The Royal Academy, an international institution that has pioneered/embraced the opportunities that digital technology has brought; both in its relationship with global audiences and in the potential for collaborations with other institutions.





Friday 16th February

Cornelia Parker on ‘Sketch of an Idea for Crazy Jane’ (1855) by Richard Dadd at Bethlem Museum of the Mind


Thursday 8th March 

Sonia Boyce on Othello, the Moor of Venice Created by: James Northcote  at Manchester Art Gallery


Wednesday 21st March

Bob and Roberta Smith on Sir Jacob Epstein’s First Portrait of Esther (with long hair) at New Art Gallery Walsall


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by Chris Wilkinson