The success of Art Everywhere, the campaign to put well-known paintings on billboards across Britain which has sparked public debate on the works destined for the spotlight, has seen more than £100,000 donated in less than three weeks.
Having set a target of £200,000 to meet printing costs, the collaboration between the Art Fund, Tate, Innocent Drinks co-founder Richard Reed and the poster industry has raised more than half of the total.
The posters will be revealed on August 10, with an app allowing viewers to find out more about each masterpiece they pass. Voters have until tomorrow (July 10) to choose from a longlist of 100, with a range of temptations including badges, bags and t-shirts designed by Bob and Roberta Smith available in return for donations.
Damien Hirst is one of the names lending high-profile support to an idea which is pledging to potentially put Bacon at bus stops.
“This project is amazing,” he said, extolling the inclusivity of art.
“It gives the public a voice and an opportunity to choose what they want to see on their streets.”
An actress, Thandie Newton, chose Chris Ofili’s No Woman, No Cry, and an actor, Tim Bentinck, opted for The Fighting Temeraire by JMW Turner.
Neither of those made the top five on Facebook, although Turner’s Norham Castle was a chosen one when the favourites, headed by Alfred Wallis’ Five Ships, Mount’s Bay and John William Waterhouse’s The Lady of Shalott, were updated three days into the campaign.
At York Art Gallery, curator of art Laura Turner called on supporters to give a Facebook like to Allan Ramsay’s Jean Abercromby, Mrs Morison of Hado, bought by the gallery in 2003 and considered one of the painter’s finest female depictions.
“Ramsay’s beautiful portrait is one of our most famous paintings and also one of our most well liked,” she said.
“It would be great to raise awareness of this fantastic piece of art and the collections of York Art Gallery across the country.”
Reed said the result would be “a joyful celebration” which would “flood our streets with art” and celebrate Britain’s creativity. The poster companies will donate the boards for two weeks.