An interesting thing is happening in London concerning contemporary art. Where previously we might flock to big museums such as Tate Modern to see work by our favourite artists, now it’s more likely that a gallery such as the Gagosian or White Cube will put on a comprehensive and free exhibition of their work. Some of the best art exhibitions I went to last year were in independent galleries, not national institutions.
It seems a good thing. Firstly, excitingly modern gallery spaces are popping up everywhere, you can’t swing a Russian oligarch in central London currently without bashing him into a new one. Secondly, galleries are making themselves more accessible for non-spending-mere-mortals such as ourselves, anyone can enter and most will also happily let you take photos, unlike our major national galleries.
Art is currently a very profitable product, what happens when it stops being so is anyone’s guess, but in a time when most government funding is being cut back, it’s a relief to know we can still see good art easily. There will inevitably be a bad consequence of this, there always is, but I am really enjoying the boom in gallery space and the ever changing art that comes with it.
And here’s another thing, these new gallery spaces are sneaking close to the high street, so in London you can pepper your shopping spree with fabulously arty cultural pauses, such as at the charming Riflemaker Gallery in Soho’s Beak St (above) which is opposite Paul Smith, or at Sadie Cole’s Kingly Street gallery, which is on the way to Liberty and COS.
So what to see? Well definitely the lovely Riflemaker Gallery, which is just about to open a Stuart Pearson Wright exhibition Nomads (above) and Sadie Coles new gallery (below) has the inspiring and very immersive show from Urs Fischer.
The Urs Fischer is a good one for visual merchandising inspiration….
And newly opened on Hanover Square, right opposite the offices of Conde Nast and Vogue, is the Blain Southern gallery. If you look closely below you can just see H&M on Regent Street at the end of the road and it makes for a useful creative stop on the cut through from Bond Street.
Currently showing is the first solo exhibition by Kosovar artist Sislej Xhafa, I love the mattress spring heart below.
Then just off Oxford Street, near John Lewis, is Dering Street which is stuffed with small and inspiring galleries, my favourite is the Ronchini Gallery, which is showing these colourful cut out canvases by Paolo Scheggi, I’d have definitely bought one of these if I had the cash.
These are details of two more, aren’t the colours fab?
Next door is the Vigo Gallery, another favourite, where Zak Ove’s amazing work (below) is great for mannequin inspiration too.
Back by Hanover Square in George St is the new Victoria Miro gallery, which might look intimidating but inside they are happy to see you (it has a neat sliding door) and I really loved the Stan Douglas show Disco Angola, with its 70s images of disco paraphernalia that attempt to link New York to Angola.
There’s an underlying seriousness to the work but I just loved the 70s clothes references (once again….Shallow? Moi?)
More Stan Douglas below.
There are plenty more new galleries to mention (and I haven’t even referenced Cork Street) but I’m worried I’m starting to bore you.
You see what I mean? Art everywhere, strategically placed close to shops, I don’t think I can ever remember having so much easy access to contemporary art and it sure makes shopping for clothes more fun. What’s happening with art galleries where you are? Is this a trend?