The exhibition will also exclusively showcase for the first time the new album artwork for The Smile’s just-announced sophomore album Wall of Eyes, which will be released on 26 January 2024 – a follow up to last year’s critically acclaimed debut album, A Light For Attracting Attention.
The Smile are a trio comprising Radiohead’s Thom Yorke and Jonny Greenwood, together with jazz drummer Tom Skinner. The band’s name was taken from Ted Hughes’s seminal poetry collection Crow, which has also inspired the title of the exhibitions.
Now, Yorke and Donwood will continue the visual journey they revealed at TIN MAN ART in September with 13 new works, including large-scale paintings, drawings and a woven tapestry.
Inspired by Wall of Eyes, the works are closely linked with the process of making the album, and were further developed at Abbey Road studios during the band’s recording session there. Fusing the collaborative nature of music with art, Donwood set up a studio inside the famous building with dust sheets, easels, huge blank canvases and a live audio feed of the sessions from the adjoining control room.
Donwood and Yorke then worked on a series of paintings over the ensuing two weeks. With liberal use of paint, layer upon layer has been applied, echoing the restorations and weathering that centuries-old artwork would withstand. The 10 paintings they created include the entirety of the album artwork.
A new tapestry, which has been specially commissioned by the artists in conjunction with TIN MAN ART, will also be shown. Woven in Flanders, it is a re-creation of the Wall of Eyes album cover.
The Crow Flies exhibitions are part of an on-going decades-long collaboration between the pair, which encompasses Radiohead albums and materials, solo project The Eraser and picture book Dead Children Playing. Drawing on a long-held fascination with maps and topography, the works in ‘part one’ were inspired by a range of sources including the 17th-century maps of Persian pirates and 1960s US military charts, and utilised materials such as water-based gouache, egg tempera and powdered mushroom.
Shortly after the first exhibition opened (10-15 September 2023), the painting When The End Has Come (2022) was acquired by the Bonnefanten Museum in Maastricht, a fine arts institution that has been in existence for over 150 years. It is the first Yorke & Donwood painting to enter its distinctive and progressive collection, which includes work from Renaissance masters and medieval sculptors, to minimalists, neo-expressionists and conceptualists of the modern and contemporary period.
During a week that saw almost 4,000 visitors to the show, a number of other works were also acquired by significant collectors of contemporary art across Europe, Asia and North America. These include Besuch (2022), which was the main image for The Smile’s first album front cover, Besuch (in stitches) (2023), a tapestry depiction of the same image, and Two Moons (2023), an eerie night-time scene of two orange moons on linen.
The Crow Flies: part two promises to continue this exciting new chapter in Yorke and Donwood’s artistic partnership. It demonstrates the uniqueness of these two artists, as well as their creative process. The way in which the works have come to fruition has been likened to making a record by Yorke, with the exploration of paint akin to musicians who “start with little and keep going until something appears”. The end result can now be enjoyed by the public who will be able to get up close with these grand-scale canvasses.
James Elwes, TIN MAN ART Director, says: “Back in September, ‘The Crow Flies: part one’ received over 700 visitors a day - I’ve been working in the art world for 20 years and I’ve never known a selling show so well attended - and we’ve since been overwhelmed with enquiries from art and music lovers from all over the world in anticipation of ‘part two’. I'm thrilled that a piece from the first show is joining the Bonnefanten’s collection and, as 'part two' is a continuation of that same visual magic, I'm excited to hear what people think.”
About the artists
Thom Yorke (b. 1968) is a musician, artist, composer and activist. He is best known as lead singer and songwriter of Radiohead; the group has won several Grammy and Ivor Novello Awards and has released critically acclaimed music. Radiohead’s work is widely regarded as some of the most celebrated and influential of recent decades. The band has been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and their work sits in the US Library of Congress. In addition to his work with Radiohead, he has released three solo albums, formed Atoms for Peace with Nigel Godrich, Flea, Joey Waronker and Mauro Rofosco, created the original soundtrack to Luca Guadagnino’s 2018 remake of Suspiria, and most recently, released work as The Smile, with Jonny Greenwood and Tom Skinner. In 2021, he co-created the KID A MNESIA Exhibition, with Stanley Donwood and producer Nigel Godrich, an interactive audio-visual experience with music and artwork drawn from the Radiohead albums Kid A and Amnesiac. Yorke and Donwood also released two books, KID A MNESIA and Fear Stalks The Land. The former celebrates the process and artwork created for Kid A and Amnesiac, the latter compiles notes, lyrics and sketches from that period. Yorke lives and works in Oxfordshire, England.
Stanley Donwood (b. 1968) was born in Essex, England. He studied English Literature & Fine Art at the University of Exeter where he first met Radiohead frontman Thom Yorke. The lifelong collaboration between band and artist was initiated when Yorke asked Donwood to contribute art for Radiohead’s original My Iron Lung EP (1994). Donwood’s paintings, drawings and prints address socio-political issues, often employing an element of satire. He has been the official artist of the Glastonbury music festival since 2002 and has won two Grammys for his artwork for Radiohead’s albums Amnesiac and In Rainbows. Donwood's art has been the subject of a book, There Will Be No Quiet (2019), published by Thames & Hudson. He has written and illustrated several books of short stories, including Humor (Faber, 2014). He has exhibited at galleries internationally. He lives and works in Brighton, England.
The artists are represented by TIN MAN ART. Founded by James Elwes in 2021, the TIN MAN ART team works closely with collectors at every level to connect them with exceptionally talented artists. The gallery has a flexible approach to exhibitions, which are held in central London, across project spaces and internationally. This is complemented by a strong online presence and a programme of dynamic talks and events. Collaboration and transparency are integral to the gallery’s approach, as is the belief that collecting art should be a source of joy and open to everyone.