Harry Pye

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Harry Pye is an artist, writer, and event organizer. In March 2007 Jessica Lack of The Guardian described him as, "the master of lo fi British art".[1] Harry William Pye was born in London in 1973. He completed a foundation course at Camberwell School of Art in 1991. He then studied printmaking at Winchester School of Art from 1992 to 1995.[2] In his second year he stopped painting and printmaking and began making films. His first films were interviews with artist and tutor Bruce McLean. He has interviewed many other artists such as Humphrey Ocean, Jake and Dinos Chapman, Wolfgang Tillmans, and Keith Tyson for various publications including The Face, Turps Banana, and Untitled.[2] He has also edited and published numerous art based fanzines of his own, most notably, "Harry Pye's FRANK Magazine" which ran from 1995 to 2000.[2] Since 2005 Pye has written a column about the London art scene for an Estonian newspaper, Epifanio,[3][4] as well as being the editor of The Rebel magazine.[2]


In May 2000 he was invited to curate an exhibition at Glassbox in Paris, France. The name of this show was, "It May Be Rubbish, But It's British Rubbish".[2] In 2002 he curated a show at The Bart Wells Institute in London Fields called, "Viva Pablo".[5] A year later he organized a group show with 100 artists called, 100 MOTHERS which took place at The Oh Art Gallery in The Oxford House of Bethnal Green and then toured to the North Edinburgh Art Centre in Scotland. This exhibit was also included in The Other Art Fair in 2013.[6] In November 2006 he put together, "For Peel" at the NOMOREGREY Gallery in Shoreditch.[7] This exhibition was a tribute to the D.J. John Peel and consisted of more than 60 artists including Jessica Voorsanger, Sarah Doyle, and Cathy Lomax all of whom had made work relating to a band or singer that John Peel had discovered or championed.[8] Pye didn't contribute any artwork of his own to these exhibitions. According to press release material, he only began making paintings of his own in 2004 having been inspired by a Royal Academy exhibition of Philip Guston and a show about Mathias Kauage at the Horniman Museum, which both took place in this same year.[2]

Pye's first solo show took place at Sartorial Contemporary Art in Notting Hill in February 2007.[9] The name of his show was, "Me, Me, Me". As well as more than twenty paintings the show featured a thirty-minute video made in collaboration with artist Gordon Beswick and comedy writers and performers Richard Herring and Robin Ince.[10] Pye's second solo show at Sartorial was called Getting Better and took place in March 2009.[2] His third Sartorial show was called Values and took place in September 2010.[citation needed]

Pye has made many collaborative paintings with other artists including Gordon Beswick, Rowland Smith, Marcus Cope, Kes Richardson, James Jessop, Billy Childish, Frank Sidebottom, Sarah Sparkes,[11] Liz Murray, Geraldine Swayne, and Mat Humphrey.[citation needed] Almost half of the paintings in the "Me, Me, Me" show were collaborations with Rowland Smith who Pye has known since his school days.[citation needed]

In April 2007 Pye won first prize in a competition to paint a portrait of Tony Blair. The competition was organized by The Daily Mirror. The judges were artists Gilbert and George.[12]

In April 2008 Pye had several of his paintings featured in an exhibition called, "Everyday Life" at The Tom Christoffersen Gallery in Denmark.[13] In the same month he had a solo show at The Thomas Cohn Gallery – a 5,500-square-foot (510 m2) space in São Paulo, Brazil.[citation needed]

In June 2008 Pye curated a group exhibition called "Poetic Licence" at the Crimes Town Gallery in Stoke Newington. The show featured drawings and paintings inspired by poems and visitors to the gallery could only gain entry if they brought with them a poem that had moved or inspired them. Artists taking part in the project included Lloyd Durling, Marenka Gabeler, Marisol Malatesta, Mark McGowan, John Moseley, and Edward Ward.[14]

In September 2008 Pye and Rowland Smith exhibited several paintings they had made in collaboration in a show called Fresh Air Machine at a new Shoreditch art space called Calvert 22. The show was supported by the Outset organization and was part of the Concrete and Glass festival.[15]

In October 2008 Pye helped organize a Black History Month exhibition at the Lime Light Gallery in Lewisham.[16]

In December 2008 Pye helped organize Gretta Sarfaty Marchant's solo show: "Gretta's Progress" in Leeds Arts University.[17]

Pye has recently[when?] been collaborating with artist Jasper Joffe on projects and exhibitions such as Jasper & Harry's Tate Modern,[18] Matisse at Christmas, and The 99p Art Shop.[19] On 6 August 2011 critic Ekow Eshun was asked to review the exhibition "Joffe et Pye" for The BBC's Radio 4 show Saturday Review.[20] His take on the two man show was: "Intense feelings about love, loneliness and fear, anxiety, desire and hope, and ambition all come into play into these paintings. Very powerful I thought. What could have been fey, arch, or game playing was actually very warm."[citation needed]

In November 2012 six paintings by Harry Pye were featured in The Discerning Eye exhibition at The Mall Gallery in London. Pye's work in this show was praised by Naomi Mdudu of City AM. Mdudu wrote: "The exhibition features exciting pieces from artists including Harry Pye, whose poignant block-colour paintings beautifully capture everyday hope and despair."[citation needed]

In January 2013 it was announced on Resonance FM that Francis Macdonald and Harry Pye were working on a music project together and had collaborated on ten new songs.[21]

Pye has seen his art work displayed on the London Underground in conjunction with the arts company Art Below.[22] Ben Moore of Art Below featured Pye's works along with Peter Kennard, Nasser Azam, Moore, and 6 other artists as part of Thatcheristic.[23]

In 2013 Harry Pye curated his own South London Salon which was part of the Deptford X festival.[24][25]

In October 2014 Harry Pye selected 17 artists for a show at Hotel Elephant for an exhibition called Jolie Laide.[26][dead link] The exhibition was part of Elefest, the Elephant and Castle festival.[27] On the 7th of April 2018 Harry Pye's art work featured in a group exhibition at Tate Modern called, "Inside Job". The exhibition was previewed by John Hind in The Guardian on the 31st of March.


  1. ^ Lack, Jessica (31 March 2007). "Pyed in full". The Guardian. pp. 7–8 (Guide). Retrieved 29 April 2007.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g http://www.artbelow.org.uk/artists/harrypye
  3. ^ http://www.epifanio.eu
  4. ^ Harry Pye's Postcard from Sao Paulo
  5. ^ Reviewed by Fisun Guner for the Metro Newspaper, Thursday, 29 August 2002.
  6. ^ http://www.therebelmagazine.blogspot.co.uk/2013/04/100-mothers-at-other-art-fair.html
  7. ^ Web feature on "For Peel" exhibition
  8. ^ http://www.myspace.com/forpeel
  9. ^ Sartorial Contempoarary Art
  10. ^ Review of the private view of "Me, Me, Me", together with images from the night
  11. ^ http://www.sarahsparkes.com/pye.htm
  12. ^ Daily Mirror, Thursday, 26 April 2007 pages 20 & 21.
  13. ^ http://www.tomchristoffersen.dk/exhibitions/previous/everyday_life/Harry_Pye_biography.pdf
  14. ^ White Hot Magazine review of Poetic Licence exhibition by Ana Finel Honigman
  15. ^ Fresh Air Machine at Calvert 22, Concrete and Glass festival
  16. ^ http://www.limelightgallery.webeden.co.uk/#/exhibitions/4529184509
  17. ^ "The Leeds Guide. Preview: Art in Progress". Retrieved 19 February 2013.
  18. ^ Press reactions to Jasper and Harry's Tate Modern project
  19. ^ http://www.theotherartfair.com/99p-shop/
  20. ^ http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b0134xdd
  21. ^ http://podcasts.resonancefm.com/archives/11772
  22. ^ http://www.artbelow.org.uk/ab/Ourtists.action
  23. ^ “Thatcheristic: new exhibition showing a different side to the Iron Lady,” London Evening Standard, 12 April 2013.
  24. ^ http://therebelmagazine.blogspot.co.uk/2013/09/harry-pyes-south-london-salon-at.html
  25. ^ http://www.deptfordx.org/programmes/1/events/128
  26. ^ http://www.elefest.org/event/jolie-laide-exhibition/
  27. ^ Elefest

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