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An art gallery is opening at Tottenham Hotspur’s stadium

OOF Gallery is the brainchild of Time Out art editor Eddy Frankel, so we’re quite excited about it

Chris Waywell
Written by
Chris Waywell

If there was a Euros for art, England wouldn’t be struggling to get through the group stage on goal difference or whatever. We’d be favourites every time. One thing this country and this city do very flipping well is art. Both great artists and great galleries. So that football analogy wasn’t (only) desperate topicalism, cos London’s latest gallery is at a football ground.

OOF Gallery is taking over a space at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in north London. The grade II-listed Warmington House is in the grounds of the stadium and is about to become the capital’s newest contemporary art space. In case you’re not familiar with OOF magazine, allow us to enlighten you. The biannual publication was founded by none other than Time Out art editor Eddy Frankel along with curators Justin and Jennie Hammond specifically to explore the links between art and football. For the last three years it’s also been putting on shows across London.

Nicola Costantino, ‘Male Nipples Soccer Ball’
Nicola Costantino, ‘Male Nipples Soccer Ball’, copyright the artist, courtesy OOF Gallery

So OOF Gallery could hardly be in a better place, plus Eddy’s a Spurs fan: it probably wasn’t ever going to be at Arsenal (unless it was a show of Piero Manzoni’s cans of shit or something). But, OOF are keen to point out that the new space is NOT the ‘Spurs art gallery’, and that the club has no curatorial say in what happens there. The location is more to do with how the worlds of football, contemporary art and ordinary Londoners might discover each other. 

‘Our idea is that we want everyday football fans, and people from the local community, to have a chance to encounter amazing contemporary art in an approachable, non-judgemental way,’ says Eddy. ‘Football is for everyone, and art SHOULD be for everyone, so that's what we're hoping to make happen here.’

OOF Gallery’s inaugural show is appropriately called ‘BALLS’ and consists of twisted football sculptures by established artists including Sarah Lucas, Marcus Harvey, Abigail Lane and Hank Willis Thomas, plus younger artists like the brilliant Lindsey Mendick and Dominic Watson. 

Justin Hammond says: ‘Each artist has sabotaged the essential function of the humble football and spun it into something spectacular, something totally unrelated to the game. These sculptures span the past 20 years and are monuments to personal and political histories, childhood dreams and overwhelming desires.’ Whew!

The project will include a community outreach programme and an artist residency, with artists spending time in the area and interacting with the community.

Hopefully this will be the start of a mega-competitive era of London football clubs sponsoring artists, opening ever-fancier galleries and setting up Fantasy Art League, thereby dragging the whole non-fungible token thing to the little trashcan icon where it belongs. I don’t know much about art, but I know what I like: football. Good luck OOF Gallery!

‘BALLS’ is at OOF Gallery, Warmington House, 744 High Rd, N17 0AP. From Jul 23. Free.

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