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The Hippest Art Galleries around Shoreditch

01 Oct 18
Visiting London

The Hippest Art Galleries around Shoreditch

01 Oct 18

Long-lauded as the capital’s artistic quarter and a notorious hang-out for hipsters and creative types, east London bristles with concept cafés, pop-up stores, artists’ studios and some of the city’s most cutting-edge exhibition spaces. Step away for a moment from the well-trodden paths of the Tate, Saatchi Gallery and The National Gallery to discover the burgeoning local and international talent housed within Shoreditch’s trailblazing art galleries.

 

HIX Art

Arty types who enjoy their food will love chef Mark Hix’s innovative gallery space in the basement of his down-to-earth Tramshed restaurant on Rivington Street. Good pals with the Young British Artists, Hix’s alter ego as an art collector means this cosy subterranean space is home to eclectic exhibitions from emerging and established artists. Expect a fresh show every two months from the likes of William Orbit, Joshua Raz and Sooyoung Chung, and you’ll spot many more—often very humorous—artworks showcased in Hix’s restaurants.

Calvert 22 Foundation

With a cool, minimalist art space dedicated exclusively to rising talent from the ‘New East’—namely eastern Europe, the Balkans, Russia and central Asia—Calvert 22 Foundation waves the flag for London’s role as a multi-cultural pioneer in the international art scene. Exhibitions range from captivating photography themed around New East perspectives to a sensitively wrought film documenting Albania’s traditional iso-polyphonic choir.

Whitechapel Gallery

Founded in 1901, Whitechapel Gallery is the most historic art space on our list, but by no means is it outdated. With an exhibition history that reads like the who’s who of modern art, from Picasso in 1939 and Jackson Pollock in 1958 to Cy Twombly, Lucian Freud and Mark Wallinger in the 1990s and 2000s, all the greats have passed through its hallowed halls. Consistently pushing boundaries with a provocative line-up of slick contemporary installations, photography, performance and conceptual art, Whitechapel Gallery is undoubtedly the grande dame of Shoreditch’s art galleries.

Victoria Miro

The former furniture factory, with its high ceilings and chic wooden floors, is worlds away from its humble surrounding industrial streets in northeast London. Whoever you happen to see exhibiting in the cavernous interior of Victoria Miro Gallery, expect to come across them many more times in the years to come. The gallery has a knack for spotting up-and-coming talent, as well as lassoing big names such as Yayoi Kusama, Grayson Perry and Chantal Joffe.

Autograph

This Shoreditch art gallery takes issues surrounding identity, representation, human rights and social justice very seriously, and its space is dedicated entirely to photography that poses difficult questions on these themes. The exhibitions are sensitively curated with images that have a sharp multicultural edge, and showcase incredible talent including the likes of Senegalese photographer Omar Victor Diop and Scotland-based Arpita Shah.

Parasol Unit Foundation for Contemporary Art

Just next door to Victoria Miro Gallery is Parasol Unit Foundation for Contemporary Art, founded by art historian and curator Dr Ziba Ardalan. Expect challenging and thought-provoking exhibitions and installations by brilliant emerging international artists such as Tschabalala Self, Rana Begum and Canan Tolon. Parasol Unit is a fiercely not-for-profit charity with a mission to make art accessible to the general public—and with free admission to excellent shows, it’s succeeding.

 

Feature images © HIX; Nat Urazmetova; Guy Montagu Pollock at Arcaid, courtesy of Whitechapel Gallery; Victoria Miro © Yayoi Kusama; Omar Victor Diop courtesy of Autograph

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