London is one of the greatest cities in the world to explore. With exhibitions of classic and contemporary art, sculpture, graffiti, photography, and illustration, there are dozens of art galleries to see art in London, housed in everything from magnificent historical buildings to converted power stations, listed pavilions and dazzling newly built spaces.
In the week of the London Design Festival, this kind of places are the most wanted to visit and, to help you, we’ve put together a list of the best places to experience London’s incredible art scene.
CAMDEN ARTS LONDON
In 1965 a former library was converted into a gallery to promote contemporary art. The exhibitions feature emerging artists, international artists debuting in London, significant historical figures who have inspired contemporary practice, and group shows relevant to current debate.
Adress: Arkwright Road, NW3 6DG
The Courtauld Gallery in Somerset House is worth visiting not only to look around the historical Tudor palace itself, but also to see some among its astonishing art collection, world-famous masterpieces such as Manet’s A Bar at the Folies-Bergère and Van Gogh’s Self-Portrait with Bandaged Ear.
The gallery has a fine collection of works by Monet, Degas, Gaugin, Cranach, Rubens, Modigliani, Picasso, and the largest collection of Cézannes in the UK.
Adress: Somerset House, Strand, WC2R 1LA
Calling itself ‘the artists’ gallery for everybody’, it was established in 1901 to give the people in the East End of London the chance to enjoy art.
Over the years it has had exhibitions by Pablo Picasso, Jackson Pollock, Mark Rothko and Frida Kahlo, as well as contemporaries such as Sophie Calle, Paul Noble, Thomas Struth, Sarah Lucas and Mark Wallinger.
Adress: 77-82 Whitechapel High St, E1 7QX
WHITE CUBE GALLERY
Art galleries don’t come much more cutting edge than White Cube, which was set up by Jay Jopling, a key figure in the famous Brit Art movement of the 90s. The gallery made its name by curating works from art megastars Damien Hirst, Tracey Emin and Marc Quinn.
Adress: 144 – 152 Bermondsey Street, SE1 3TQ
Far be it for us to condone or even promote graffiti, but there’s no denying this is a street art form that is now taken very seriously indeed thanks to the likes of Banksy.
The Graffik Gallery, in West London, showcases established and emerging urban street art. It also holds much in demand graffiti workshops, where you can release your inner creative spirit.
Adress: 284 Portobello Road, W10 5TE
These two contemporary galleries are situated in the picturesque Kensington Gardens in Hyde Park. The Serpentine Gallery, opened in 1970, is a former tea pavilion and has shown work by such luminaries as Andy Warhol, Anish Kapoor, Wolfgang Tillmans, Jeff Koons and Damien Hirst.
In 2013, The Serpentine Sackler Gallery was opened in a former gunpowder store, five minutes from the Serpentine Gallery.
Adress: Kensington Gardens, W2 3XA
The Crypt Gallery in St Pancras Parish Church in King’s Cross was used for burials from 1822 to 1854, and is still the resting place for 557 people; it also acted as an air raid shelter during the two World Wars.
It opened as a contemporary gallery in 2002 and is one of the most extraordinary and atmospheric art spaces in London. Visiting The Crypt Gallery is both thought-provoking and exhilarating.
Adress: Dukes Road, NW1 2BA