Alongside ancient Greek and Roman objects in marble, bronze, ceramic and mosaic, The Classical Now exhibited works by Edward Allington, Pablo Bronstein, Léo Caillard, Jean Cocteau, Michael Craig-Martin, André Derain, Hans-Peter Feldmann, Ian Hamilton Finlay, Damien Hirst, Alex Israel, Derek Jarman, Yves Klein, Louise Lawler, Christopher Le Brun, Roy Lichtenstein, George Henry Longly, Ursula Mayer, Henry Moore, Bruce Nauman, Christodoulos Panayiotou, Giulio Paolini, Grayson Perry, Frances Picabia, Pablo Picasso, Marc Quinn, Mary Reid Kelley & Patrick Kelley, Sacha Sosno, Mark Wallinger and Rachel Whiteread. Paris-based artist Léo Caillard, known for dressing classical statues in contemporary attire, was commissioned to produce a new installation for the exhibition titled To The Friendship Between the Classical and the Contemporary, located on the Aldwych side of Bush House.
The exhibition also incorporated Liquid Antiquity: Conversations, a video-installation featuring interviews with six contemporary artists: Matthew Barney, Paul Chan, Urs Fischer, Jeff Koons, Asad Raza and Kaari Upson. The work was commissioned by the DESTE Foundation for Contemporary Art and designed by Diller, Scofidio + Renfro.
The Classical Now formed part of a larger research project on ' Modern Classicisms' in King’s College London’s Department of Classics led by Michael Squire. The exhibition was curated by Michael Squire (Reader in Classical Art at King's), James Cahill and Ruth Allen (post-doctoral fellows in the Modern Classicisms project) and was timed to coincide with the Annual Meeting of the Association for Art History in April 2018 – Europe’s largest meeting of art historians, curators and teachers, which was co-hosted by King’s and the Courtauld Institute of Art.
The Classical Now was accompanied by a catalogue, published in February 2018. More information about the exhibition, and the research project from which it derives, can be found here.
The Classical Now was presented by the Department of Classics, the Faculty of Arts and Humanities, in partnership with the Musée d’Art Classique de Mougins (MACM). It was supported by the university's Culture team.