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Internet Company Sponsors Major London Art Show

[London, ENGLAND] In what is thought to be the first sponsorship of a major art show by an Internet company, eyestorm is to back a forthcoming exhibition at the Royal Academy of Arts in the U.K.

An online source of signed and numbered photographic prints by both well-known and up-and-coming artists, eyestorm will provide a platform for hosting discussions and will run various projects in support of the show.

The exhibition, which is called "Apocalypse: Beauty and Horror in Contemporary Art," runs from September 23 to December 15, 2000, and is clearly intended to have all the shock value -- and commercial success -- of the Academy's notorious "Sensation!" exhibition of British art in 1997.

"The RA is keen on developing links with Internet companies like eyestorm that have markets within the RA's target audience," confirmed David Gordon, secretary of the Royal Academy.

Speaking for eyestorm, Chief Executive Don Smith said the online firm was committed to bringing the issues and work of cutting-edge contemporary art to the mainstream.

"The Royal Academy is a natural choice of partner for eyestorm: we both showcase new and original works of art," said Smith.

The precedent set by Sensation! -- an exhibition that swelled the coffers of the Royal Academy while outraging many art critics for its display of rotting animal carcasses, pickled sheep, etc. -- may well influence how eyestorm handles its new sponsorship role.

In a statement, eyestorm suggested it would court controversy by online projects that would "open up and provoke debate surrounding Apocalypse."

Among the artists whose work will be represented in Apocalypse are: Darren Almond, Maurizio Cattelan, Jake and Dinos Chapman, Jeff Koons, Mariko Mori, Wolfgang Tillmans and Luc Tuymans.

The works will include a monumental new piece by the Chapman brothers called "Hell," depicting the horrors of genocide.

The Royal Academy itself calls the exhibition "a story of extremes," and claims it to be "a contemporary, secular interpretation of the biblical story of St John the Divine."

Entry costs around US $12.



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