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The Royal College of Art celebrates 175 years with major historic exhibition
A gallery assistant looks at a work by British Sculptor Henry Moore entitled "Girl" 1931 as she poses for a photograph during an exhibition at the Royal College of Art in London. AFP PHOTO / JUSTIN TALLIS.

LONDON.- The Royal College of Art celebrates a remarkable 175 years with the launch of a major book and exhibition exploring the College's hand in shaping three centuries of British art and design.

Taking inspiration for the title from Tracey Emin’s 2001 installation, The Perfect Place To Grow: 175 Years of the Royal College of Art features both student and later professional work from the College’s extensive alumni, organised into themes: ‘Art for Industry’, ‘Public Purpose’, ‘Personal Expression’ and ‘Political Expression’.

It charts the unique history of an institution that has been instrumental in some of the world’s most influential artists’ and designers’ careers from the Victorian luminary Christopher Dresser to contemporary household names such as Tracey Emin and David Hockney.

The accompanying book, published by the Royal College of Art, includes academic essays exploring the development of disciplines across the College and the political, social and economic dynamics of the RCA’s defining moments.

The College’s in-house publishing team has worked on the 40,000-word, fully illustrated book. Designed by Neville Brody’s Research Studios, it features analyses by writer and cultural historian Fiona MacCarthy, fashion expert Colin McDowell, curator Robert Upstone, graphic design critic Rick Poynor, Andrew Wilson of Tate and Dr Glenn Adamson of the Victoria and Albert Museum, as well as the RCA’s Jane Pavitt, Joe Kerr and Rector, Dr Paul Thompson.

Both show and book are fascinating insights into one of the world's oldest art and design schools, revealing the politics and polemics behind the perennial question of how best to train artists and designers, interrogating the value of publicly funded art schools.

Over the coming weeks on the RCA website, they will bring you a series of interviews considering aspects of the College from its historical defining moments to a look at what the future holds for art and design education.

The Perfect Place to Grow: 175 Years of the Royal College of Art runs from 16 November 2012 – 3 January 2013 (closed 24 & 25 December) at the Royal College of Art, Kensington Gore, London SW7 2EU

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November 26, 2012

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