Parties: Brit art goes psychedelic

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The Independent Online

"Like one giant drug trip," was the artist Grayson Perry's view of this year's Royal Academy summer exhibition preview last Tuesday week. The epicentre of wildness was the gallery Tracey Emin had curated. Simon and Yasmin Le Bon headed straight for Emin's homage to male genitalia, while Erin O'Connor was keen to see a video clip of a woman hula-hooping with barbed wire, fellow model Jasmine Guinness loved Julien Schnabel's sensual offering, and party co-chair Anya Hindmarch was seduced by the eroticism of Rachel Kneebone's writhing mass of porcelain limbs.

Those overwhelmed by the visual overload milled about in the courtyard, in the shadows of Antony Caro's incredible sculpture Promenade, where Jarvis Cocker played a set. Bright young things Jaime Winstone and Alfie Allen danced along while designer Alice Temperley and model Jade Parfitt watched from the sidelines.

But back inside, was anyone buying? The actor Camilla Rutherford limited herself to "window shopping", blaming the economy, designer Henry Holland wanted to buy, but was holding back on account of his lack of wall space, while Blur bassist-turned-farmer Alex James, even though he was a committee member, said a tractor rather than a painting was top of his shopping list.

Razorlight's Johnny Borrell seemed particularly taken with works dedicated to the late artist RB Kitaj, but at £22,000, the starting price was steep. "Everything's millions!" a pink-haired Lily Allen screeched to Giles Deacon. "Yes, but it's cracking," the designer laughed, as the two stood in front of Jeff Koons' giant blue egg sculpture. But not everyone was put off: R&B singer Estelle had her eye on various works by the painter Richard Wilson, while TV presenter Alexa Chung went home with several prints.

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