London's new art galleries



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  • East End


    One of the many small galleries attracted to the East End by cheap rents and the presence of White Cube, Store opened three years ago in an old shop in Hoxton Street. Why has it just moved from 92 to No 27? ‘The old space was good for single installations,’ says Niru Ratnam, who runs Store with Louise Hayward. ‘But after showing there once or twice, artists like Bedwyr Williams and Ryan Gander found it too limiting.

    ‘The new space is nearer Hoxton Square, but there’s not much of a crossover between our audience and White Cube’s. The idea that Elton John would pop into White Cube and then into Store is nice, but it doesn’t work that way. I’m not keen to move out of the area because I live locally and we have a loyal band of people; a lot of our artists live nearby and can walk from house to studio to gallery. We may go west eventually, though; Louise is keen, being a west London girl.’

    Ryan Gander is taking over the old gallery and running it as a not-for-profit space. Does he want to be a curator or dealer? ‘No, but I teach in the north and have a working-class chip on my shoulder. I hate to see young students who are unable to move to London being left out of the art world – you have to meet people to get shows. I’ve spent a lot of time moaning about the terrible artists who get shows because they chat up curators in the Rivington Bar and Grill, and I had some money so I decided to put £15,000 in and to ask 11 collectors to give £1,000 each; it ensures that we can show 12 artists in 12 months. The first show is of Matthew Smith, who is my studio assistant.’

    Between Bridges

    Wolfgang Tillmans decided to clear up the entrance to his Bethnal Green studio and turn it into a gallery where he can exhibit work institutions and commercial galleries wouldn’t show. ‘The idea is to do exhibitions which wouldn’t otherwise happen,’ says Tillmans. ‘It’s good to devote time to another artist; hopefully I can help get their work seen by an interested audience but also I find the process beneficial for myself, to change perspective and open up to a different mindset.’ He finances the gallery himself; this is not a commercial venture.

    Paradise Row

    Nick Hackworth, Brian Sewell’s sidekick at the Evening Standard, is giving up art criticism to become a dealer. Opening this week, his gallery is in St Matthew’s Church Hall in Hereford Street, near Brick Lane. Hackworth studied history at Oxford where he met students from the Ruskin School of Art. Why has he decided to open a gallery? ‘Because it suits my nature more than writing. I enjoy promoting people and I like the theatrical element of putting on shows. I enjoy working with artists I’ve known a long time and are my age. There was a strong group of students like Justin Coombes and Douglas White who graduated from Ruskin in the late ’90s.’

    He has been selling from his house since January and already has a bunch of collectors lined up. ‘I’ve reached some large collectors through art advisors and new ones through word of mouth. One woman, who runs her own company in the film industry and has always wanted to collect, spent £50,000 on work by five artists.’

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