London's new art galleries
From modest spaces in the East End to giant halls in the west, the capital's galleries are on the move. On the eve of the Frieze Art Fair, Time Out talks to the dealers and museum directors reshaping the London artworld
Galleries on the move (click on the image to enlarge)
This week sees the London art scene going into overdrive; every museum and gallery is pulling out the stops to mount spectacular exhibitions aimed at attracting the thousands of curators, critics, collectors, artists and museum directors arriving from all over the world to visit the Frieze Art Fair. The big autumn draw used to be the Turner Prize, but the art market is booming, money talks, and although only in its fourth year, Frieze has already eclipsed the Prize as the key event in the international calendar of contemporary art.
The fair’s success has had a dramatic knock-on effect; London’s ranking as a major art player is being confirmed in the form of bricks and mortar, glass and steel. Jay Jopling has expanded his White Cube empire with a majestic new building in St James’s Victoria Miro has built a spectacular penthouse for use as a viewing space and foreign dealers like Gagosian (LA and New York) and Hauser & Wirth (Zurich), which set up shop a few years ago, are opening second and even third spaces in the capital.
The commercial sector is not the only growth area. Tate Modern was the catalyst – when it opened six years ago, it created the climate for Frieze to flourish – but its presence also effected a sea change in attitudes. We used to be famous for our hostility to contemporary art, but in a recent poll by YouGov on cool cultural icons, Tate Modern came top in leisure and entertainment – ahead of Glastonbury, ‘The Simpsons’ and the London Eye. Internationally, Tate Modern is the world’s favourite contemporary art museum, attracting 4.1 million visitors last year compared with 2.67m to New York’s Museum of Modern Art.
Success means expansion and as the number of commercial galleries mushrooms, we focus on the museums and big commercial players that, by increasing the scale and ambition of their operations, are transforming the London art scene.
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