Cork Street Attack: Grey Organisation

12 January - 25 February 2022
Installation Views

On 21st May 1985 the windows of The Mayor Gallery and those of the other art dealers on Cork Street, were covered with buckets of grey paint during a night-time act of artistic anti-establishment protest by a group called the Grey Organisation. Now, almost 37 years later, this Cork Street Attack is the subject of an exhibition at The Mayor Gallery.


Curated by William Ling, Cork Street Attack will showcase new prints created from photographic evidence that recorded the immediate aftermath of the event alongside related artwork, ephemera and documents taken from the Grey Organisation archive kept by artist Toby Mott, the group’s spokesperson and central protagonist.


The works span the breadth and depth of the group’s output, including drawings for the Labour Party’s 1985 election campaign, hand prints, calling cards, preparatory studies for De La Soul’s album cover ‘3 Feet High and Rising’, and photographs of a performance outside the ICA.


The Grey Organisation (GO) was a post-punk art collective that emerged from East London and Soho in the early 1980s, folding in 1991.


Precursory to the advent of the YBAs (Young British Artists) and the arrival of big money in the artworld, the collective embraced anonymity and rejected the hero artist identity. With its blend of corporate yuppie culture and Soviet monoculture, it embodied a reflection of the status quo of the Cold War and Thatcher’s Britain in the 1980’s.