Museum Spotlight: Alice: Curiouser and Curiouser with the V&A

18 MARCH 2021 • 6:30 PM GMT
Join art critic Shahidha Bari in conversation with Creative Director Grace Coddington, V&A Curator Kate Bailey and Sotheby's Contemporary Art Head of Evening Sale Emma Baker to celebrate 'Alice: Curiouser & Curiouser', an exhibition presented by the V&A. The conversation explores Lewis Carroll’s 'Alice's Adventures in Wonderland', Surrealism and how Surrealist disciplines continue to inspire art, fashion & photography.

Meet the Panel

Grace Coddington, Creative Director

Grace Coddington’s remarkable contributions to contemporary fashion and image-making have shaped the public understanding of fashion as art and propelled her to a status enjoyed by only a mere handful of editors and stylists throughout the history of magazine publishing. Coddington holds the rare distinction of having worked with some of fashion’s most celebrated photographers both in front of and behind the camera. She worked initially as a model, appearing in editorials photographed by Helmut Newton, Norman Parkinson and Guy Bourdin, among others. In 1968, she began working as a fashion editor at British Vogue, where she remained for nineteen years, rising to the position of Fashion Director and initiating her long-term working relationship with Anna Wintour. In 1988, Coddington joined Wintour at American Vogue, embarking on a creative odyssey incomparable among living fashion editors. Coddington’s on-set collaborations at Vogue have brought about many of the most iconic photographs in fashion history. Coddington has received two lifetime achievement awards, one from the CFDA in 2002 and another at the Clio Awards in 2016. In 2009, Coddington received the prestigious Isabella Blow award. She is currently based in New York City.


Kate Bailey, Senior Curator and Producer at the V&A

Kate Bailey is a Senior Curator and Producer at the V&A. Kate has recently curated Alice: Curiouser and Curiouser, due to open at the V&A in May 2021 and Opera: Passion, Power and Politics a major international touring exhibition which opened at the V&A in September 2017. The Opera exhibition, described by the Guardian as ‘a game-changing spectacular show’ was the first in the V&A’s new 1100 sq m Sainsbury Gallery. Kate has edited the accompanying publication for both exhibitions. Kate's portfolio of work includes the recent VR experience – Curious Alice and a range of exhibitions on Scenography, Design and Music. Recent V&A exhibitions include Russian Avant Garde Theatre: War, Revolution and Design (2014); Glastonbury Land and Legend (2015); Music Hall: Sickert and the Three Graces (2013); Space and Light: Edward Gordon Craig (2010) and the award-winning video installation, Five Truths (2011). Previous projects include the Big Picture Show at IWM North, and a theatrical installation at Leighton House Museum. Kate studied History of Art at Warwick University.


Tristan Fewings/Getty Images for Sotheby's

Emma Baker, Head of Evening Sale, Contemporary Art

Emma joined Sotheby’s in 2011 as a Researcher/Writer for the Contemporary Art Department in London and was appointed Head of Research in 2014 with a focus on the academic and visual content of the Evening Sale catalogues. After playing an increasingly lead role in the running of these auctions, Emma was promoted to Head of Sale in October 2018. In 2017 she was responsible for co-curating the selling exhibition at Sotheby’s S2 Gallery, Traumata: Louise Bourgeois/Yayoi Kusama, for which she also led a panel discussion on the topic of women in art history – a subject she feels particularly passionate about. Prior to joining Sotheby’s, Emma worked in the Curatorial Department at Tate Britain after graduating with an MA in Art History from the Courtauld Institute of Art in 2010.


Professor Shahidha Bari

Shahidha Bari is an academic, critic and broadcaster. She is a Professor at the University of the Arts London, a presenter of BBC Radio 3's nightly Free Thinking programme, also known as the Arts and Ideas podcast, and the occasional host of BBC Radio 4's Front Row. She’s the author of Dressed: The Secret Life of Clothes (2019), the winner of The Observer Anthony Burgess Arts Journalism Prize 2016 and has been a judge for the Forward Poetry Prizes and the Baillie Gifford Non-Fiction Prize. She writes for The Guardian, Times Literary Supplement and Frieze magazine.

Image: 'Down the Rabbit Hole', a specially commissioned illustration by Kristjana S. Williams for the V&A's exhibition publication Alice, Curiouser and Curiouser (2020). Image courtesy of the V&A. (c) Kristjana S. Williams.

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