BMW Art Guide by Independent Collectors

Culture in Every Corner of a City

The exclusive center, the elegant West, the hip East, or the up-and-coming South: in London contemporary art has developed its own urban coordinates around which you can plan your art walks. In the West, long distances must be traversed between institutions, such as the Serpentine Galleries, the Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA), and the Saatchi Gallery. But in Mayfair—within the vicinity of the Royal Academy of Arts (RA)—the most prominent auction houses and galleries, such as Pace, Hauser & Wirth, David Zwirner, and Sprüth Magers, are huddled between designer boutiques and grand hotels offering high tea. Super-dealer Larry Gagosian maintains his exhibition hall near King’s Cross Station, in addition to his two galleries in Mayfair. From there it’s just a stone’s throw away to Golden Square, where Marianne Goodman has set up shop next to the Frith Street Gallery. North of Oxford Street, around Eastcastle Street, you can find another hotspot for contemporaries including the Alison Jacques and Carroll/Fletcher. The East End of London is not solely a hipster and media hub: from the Old Street Roundabout, near where Victoria Miro and Modern Art are located, additional galleries and scores of artists’ studios stretch from Shoreditch to Hackney Wick. Any visit to the East should include the Whitechapel Gallery, whose exhibitions are always well worth seeing. Located off the beaten path, in the Southeast, are Jay Jopling’s gallery White Cube, on Bermondsey Street, as well as Damien Hirst’s exhibition hall: Newport Street Gallery. Also situated south of the Thames, next to the perennially crowd-pleasing Tate Modern, are the art schools Camberwell College of Arts and Goldsmiths, which present graduate shows once a year. The non-commercial South London Gallery can also be found here. Following a visit you can round off a fine summer evening at Frank’s Bar, surrounded by art students, on the roof terrace of a parking garage in Peckham, overlooking the annual sculpture exhibition Bold Tendencies—and the London skyline.