Art at Selfridges

At Selfridges, our stores have always been more than just shops. They are public spaces – places to explore culture and to discover new, thought-provoking ideas – and that’s why championing public art in our communities is so important to us. We aim to balance the consumption of goods with the consumption of culture by enabling people to experience art first-hand. Here’s how… 

Let's see some art!

Take a tour of the amazing art pieces you can discover in Selfridges stores – without a velvet rope in sight.

‘QUICKSAND’ by Emma Gibson at The Art Block, Selfridges London
This triptych of sculptures by artist Emma Gibson sees miniscule grains of sand transformed into megalithic forms, putting this endangered but seemingly ubiquitous material – used to make anything from phone screens to windows, plastics to paint – quite literally under the microscope. Using micro 3D-scanning technology, Gibson worked with the Imaging and Analysis Centre at the Natural History Museum to discover the otherworldly shapes of individual sand grains before recasting them as colossal forms. Each piece was made using recycled plaster, cliff chalk, timber and a pioneering resin made from recycled plastic bottles. 

Our partnership with Yorkshire Sculpture Park
This installation marks the fourth in a series of works for The Art Block, curated in collaboration with Helen Pheby, Head of Curatorial Programme at Yorkshire Sculpture Park.

'A Tree is a Big Plant with a Stick Up in the Middle' (2019) by Marco Miehling – The Art Block at Selfridges London

This piece by German artist Marco Miehling exposes a tree trunk from nearby Hyde Park, suspended in a transitional state. The work explores the merging of spaces controlled by man with natural environments, transforming the tree trunk from an object of nature to an object of contemplation. The piece is part of an ongoing series by Miehling, which first began in 2017. The tree which was used to create this work was sustainably felled to protect other trees in the park from disease. This piece was on display at Selfridges, March 2019.

In collaboration with the Yorkshire Sculpture Park

This installation marked the third in a series of collaborations curated by Helen Pheby, Head of Curatorial Programme at Yorkshire Sculpture Park. Every six months we display a new work at The Art Block in our Accessories Hall at Selfridges London – from new commissions, to pieces borrowed from YSP’s collection. 

And if you can't make it to Selfridges London...

‘The River was Dammed to Form a Lake’ (2019) by Marco Miehling

If you couldn’t make it to The Art Block as Selfridges London in 2019, then you can still experience the power of Marco Miehling’s art with this specially commissioned video piece. The video, which was filmed in the woodlands of the Yorkshire Sculpture Park, depicts a series of performative explorations of the threshold between the physical and non-physical. Drawing on familiar materials and themes in Miehling’s installations – suspension, tension and the natural world – the work depicts an ongoing condition of movement and resistance. 


Conception & Direction by Marco Miehling
Performed by Luca Bosani
Photography by Matthias Knebl

Stems (2018) by Rebecca Ackroyd –
The Body Studio Courtyard on 3 at Selfridges London

Our Body Studio courtyard plays host to a specially commissioned installation by Rebecca Ackroyd – a renowned London-based artist and alumnus of the Royal Academy. Guaranteed to make you take a second look (did that vent just stick its tongue out at me?!), this work seeks to reconcile the gargantuan body of the building with that of the inhabitants inside, merging the two to create a sculptural garden in which gigantic feet, hands and tongues protrude from the cold metal vents that punctuate the space. 

Josephine Baker (1999) by Eduardo Paolozzi –
Central Atrium on G at Selfridges London

Ever wondered about the story behind the woman standing in our atrium? Well, the sculpture is a depiction of French entertainer and activist Josephine Baker by sculptor Eduardo Paolozzi (1924 – 2005), whose work can also be seen in the mosaic-patterned walls of Tottenham Court Road Tube station. The colossal work was commissioned by Selfridges’ then Managing Director, Vittorio Radice, who saw a link between Harry Gordon Selfridges’ pioneering spirit and Josephine Baker’s courageousness. 

The Archive

Exhibitions, commissions and events from our archive.

State of the Arts campiagn

How can public art enhance a community? Where do the lines between fashion and art fall? And how are artists and curators creating new ways for us to experience art? We explored these questions at Selfridges during our creative campaign: State of The Arts.

Find out more

The Selfridges Podcast: State of The Arts

How to make your morning commute that bit more creative? Just plug in and listen to our State of The Arts podcast episodes, filled with inspiring words from world-renowned artists and thought-provoking ideas. First up? A look into the bizarre world of art forgery…

Have a listen

Brand Deities (2018) by Matthew Darbyshire – The Art Block at Selfridges London

Matthew Darbyshire’s work for The Art Block featured three figurative works for Selfridges that played with, subverted and interrogated familiar classical symbols. After observing that many worldwide brands’ names derive from classical deities, Darbyshire reinterpreted the traditional statuary of NikeHermes and Mars, mimicking the layering method typically seen in digital printing but using traditional crafting processes.

Phyllis (2018) by Holly Hendry – The Art Block at Selfridges London

Chewing gum, false nails and fish tank rocks; these are just a few of the materials embedded into Holly Hendry’s sculpture, Phyllis – the first piece to be commissioned for The Art Block at Selfridges London. The piece, which was displayed from May to October 2018 at our new Duke Street entrance, tells the story of Phyllis, a Crossrail digging machine so large that she effectively dug her own grave. (Fun fact: did you know all digging machines have female names?).

The Interfaith Charity Shop (2017) by Artangel & Miranda July

Commissioned by Artangel, this part shop, part art installation at Selfridges London was run and jointly staffed by four religious charities chosen by filmmaker, artist and writer Miranda July – Islamic Relief, Jewish charity Norwood, London Buddhist Centre, and Spitalfields Crypt Trust. The piece saw customers entering a fully operational charity shop where they could buy everything from second-hand clothes to bric-a-brac, with prices the same as in any charity shop (and, of course, all profits shared equally between the four charities).

Test Pattern Live (2017) by Ryoji Ikeda – The Old Selfridges Hotel, London

Renowned for exploring minimal and extreme sounds to create fascinating live performances and art installations, Ryoji Ikeda treated us to a one-off performance of Test Pattern Live as part of our Music Matters campaign. His work explores the relationship between art and sound by orchestrating audio, images, materials, physical phenomena and mathematical notions. 

Selfridges Canopy & Concept Store (2012) by Yayoi Kusama

In 2012 we collaborated with Louis Vuitton and one of the most famous living Japanese artists, Yayoi Kusama, to create a concept store filled with the artist’s signature dots and pumpkin shapes, plus a colossal figure of Kusama on our central canopy. 

ICA Off-Site (2013 & 2014) The Old Selfridges Hotel, Selfridges London and Digbeth (2015) – Selfridges Birmingham

Founded in 1946, the Institute of Contemporary Arts promotes and encourages an understanding of radical art and culture. We have collaborated with the ICA as part of its off-site programme, with exhibitions about London subcultures in The Old Selfridges Hotel in London (contributors included Gilbert & George, Alexander McQueen and John Maybury), and a celebration of Birmingham’s creative community held in the city’s arts quarter, Digbeth, as part of our annual Live and Loud festival. The ICA holds exhibitions and film screenings throughout the year – so check them out next time you’re in London.

Eating the City (2006) by Song Dong – Selfridges London

Ever eaten a piece of art? No, we didn’t think so. But that’s exactly what visitors to Selfridges got to do in 2006 when Chinese artist Song Dong created a miniature city made entirely of biscuits (from Rich Teas to the humble Hobnob), inviting the public to devour it after the elaborate construction was complete. The piece explored the phenomenon of ever-growing ‘mega cities’, raising questions about the resources used to create such spaces and our place in sharing them. 

Sale Campaign (2003) by Barbara Kruger – all Selfridges stores

Artist Barbara Kruger has exhibited at leading galleries across the globe, with works that explore concepts of power, identity, gender and consumerism. For our winter Sale 2003, we commissioned Kruger to create a campaign in her irreverent, bold style. The result? A striking series of graphics that confronted consumerism with striking proclamations such as: ‘It’s you, it’s new, it’s everything, it’s nothing’ and ‘I shop therefore I am’. 

Be Consumed (2003) by Spencer Tunick at Selfridges London

In April 2003, American artist Spencer Tunick invited 600 people to bare all at Selfridges, helping him to create another of his world-renowned installations which explore the idea of privacy in both natural and man-made settings. Titled Be Consumed, this piece saw individuals of all sizes, shapes and skin colours fill our Beauty Hall and central escalators – including a few brave Selfridges team members. Tunick has created similar works at sites across the world, from the streets of New York to glaciers in Switzerland (we can only hope they had a vat of hot tea on standby for that one…)

More artistic inspiration

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