top 10 london art galleries is my effort of keeping track of my gallery hopping. fortunately, art is plentiful, great and free in london so let’s educate ourselves!

top 10 london art galleries

10. vitrine gallery is across the street from the white cube, on bermondsey street. this is the show they had on when i visited. they also have a small public display in the nearby bermondsey square.

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9. raven row was a pleasant surprise. i got to spitalfields too early for my street art tour so i had some spare time. i found the gallery and they had an exhibition that grew on me. mostly made of kinetic pieces that were so old they barely worked, the show was oddly compelling.  right now, they have a new show.

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8. stolen space is a street art gallery i wrote about in the past. it’s right on bricklane, 2 minutes away from whitechapel, another really great gallery.

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i was not impressed by what stolen space had, but i’m super mad for missing this upcoming show by the awesome miss van, one of the few girl street artists. argh!

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7. hauser & wirth has 5 current locations (plus 1 coming up this summer in sommerset).

i visited both galleries in london – they are within meters of each other, both on savile row. this and this is what i saw. not as impressive as the ron mueck show from back in 2012, but i will nonetheless follow h&w’s activity in the future.

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6. hayward gallery is located on south bank. i went for their current martin creed show and left with a smile on my face. the best feature? the hall full of 6,000+ white balloons that was work no. 200 half the air in a given space. they let you in and the only guidance you get are the arrows on the ceiling. i loved it!

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5. saatchi gallery is a non-negotiable on my london to do list. the selection is always varied and guaranteed to intrigue!

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4. serpentine used to have only one location. but they have recently opened a new one, complete with a zaha hadid extension that houses the magazine restaurant.

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at the sackler, i saw an interesting design show by martino gamper that focused on the shelving and not on the exhibits. clever! and the serpentine had this show made of what looked like an endearing series of collections.

each year, there is a new pop up pavilion in collaboration with a relevant starchitect. on 26.06.2014, they open the one by smiljan radic.

3. gagosian gallery has 2 locations in london and 12 more around the globe. 

i liked the dialogue between maurizio cattelan and lucio fontana on davies street. it’s called la fine di dio (the end of god) and it features an under-sized sculpture of hitler kneeling  in front of a pink oval canvas. the expected fontana slashes are replaced here by more intricate piercings.

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i was unimpressed by the show i saw in the britannia location, nearby king’s cross. but i did love the space and the gallerists’ beehive of activity. the place was super organized and they had materials for all their international locations. great!

right now, they have new shows both on britannia street as well as on davies street. internationally, they have giacometti in hong kong, frank gehry in athens and kim gordon in la, among many others. personally, i can’t wait to see jean nouvel’s tryptiques in london!

2. white cube has 2 different branches in london and 2 more, in sao paolo and in hong kong.

the one on bermonsdey street had a few shows (1, 2, 3) and the one in mason’s yard had this. the place is great and the shows were interesting too. 

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1. pace gallery has 7 international locations: one in san diego, four in new york, one in beijing and two in london. i have recently written about their james turrell show. the pieces were focused, as turrell’s work is in general, on light and the extending and enhancing effect it has on perception.

currently, pace shows james franco in ny and alexander calder in menlo park. on a related note, the london location had an adrian ghenie event since pace is representing the romanian artist.

one last trick: to best navigate london’s art galleries, get this map. it’s pretty perfect and widely available in galleries!

photo credits: little aesthete