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RCA Hosts First-Ever Solo Art Exhibition of Music Star Ian Dury

The Royal College of Art is hosting the first-ever solo show of the late music star, RCA alumnus and Pop painter, Ian Dury, throughout the summer, until September.

More Than Fair, presents Dury as an artist and painter, whose work is integral to the pop art era of the sixties. It features more than 30 of his pieces from 1961 to 1972.

Dury’s daughter, Jemima, has spent the last two years putting together her father’s collection of paintings and drawings, and garnering backing for a free exhibition through a Kickstarter campaign. Much of Dury’s artwork, owned by the Dury family, was stored away after he moved into the music scene with his band, Kilburn & The High Roads in 1971. Other pieces have been loaned by auction houses such as Christie's or independent dealers. Dury’s former confederate Kosmo Vinyl and designer Jules Balme have curated the show with Jemima.

Dury, who attended the RCA between 1963 and 1966, was taught by the artist Sir Peter Blake, a figure influential in the careers of many RCA graduates including David Hockney and RB Kitaj. During his time at the RCA, Dury developed a unique Pop style that combined text, bold colour and photorealist elements to reference a growing culture of music and celebrity.

According to Robert Upstone, director of the Fine Art Society and curator of last year’s 175 RCA anniversary show, Dury’s ‘use of textual and photorealist elements, and his incorporation of celebrities, singers or showgirls, ally his pictures with major Pop proponents such as Peter Blake and Joe Tilson’.

Jemima Dury added: ‘During this time [at the RCA] Ian Dury developed from serious art student, with a strong work ethic, into an artist, albeit an insecure one uncertain of what medium to pursue. In 1967 he was a featured artist in the ICA’s group show Fantasy & Figuration. After the Royal College of Art, Ian had some success as a freelance illustrator, working for amongst others, The Sunday Times and London Life magazines.’

Indeed, the RCA was pivotal in Dury’s life. According to Jemima, getting into the College was one of the only things he aspired to. She shared what Ian had to say about the RCA:

‘I met Betty, my late first wife, at the RCA. She was at Newport College of Art. Her dad went to the RCA in the thirties. Getting in was the only thing I've aspired to in my life. I spent two years trying to get in. It’s the only achievement I've ever felt, a bit like going to the university of your choice. I’m really pleased I went there, I’m proud of it. I wouldn't have been able to learn about how to live as a person doing what they want to do if I hadn't gone there, allowing your determination and output to control the way things go – my nine and my five.’


Ian Dury: More Than Fair – Paintings, Drawings and Artworks, 1961–1972 runs from 23 July to 1 September 2013

Open 11am – 6pm; Sundays: 12–5pm.

Closed Mondays.

Free Admission.

RCA Kensington

Kensington Gore

London SW7 2EU