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James Northcote’s - A Moor (a portrait of the celebrated black actor Ira Aldridge)

Objects of Obsession

As part of the Royal Academy’s 250th anniversary celebrations, The Space has invited artists from the academy to choose their Object of Obsession: a work of art by another artist that has great meaning to them. The work may be one that has transformed or transfixed them, provoked an emotional response, inspired them, or perhaps changed their work or the way they work.

Three Royal Academicians - Cornelia Parker, Sonia Boyce and Bob and Roberta Smith - took part in this series of talks with art historian, broadcaster and writer Tim Marlow about their chosen Object of Obsession. Hosted by the gallery or museum which houses the piece, the discussions were streamed live across Facebook and YouTube to art fans across the globe.

The talks have helped facilitate new collaborations between national and regional galleries, building digital presence and attracting new online audiences, whilst also providing opportunities for the regional galleries to partner with, and be supported by The Royal Academy during its special anniversary year.

Beginning in February, the series featured

16 February

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

Watch Cornelia's talk here

8 March

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

Watch Sonia's talk here

21 March

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

Watch Bob and Roberta's talk

The events were streamed on each gallery’s website, YouTube and Facebook, establishing a network of shared content for online audiences.

Bob and Roberta Smith chooses Walsall's Mona Lisa - Epstein's Portrait of EstherBob and Roberta Smith chooses Walsall's Mona Lisa - Epstein's Portrait of Esther