London’s already bustling art scene just got a bit busier with the launch of three exciting new spaces in the heart of the British capital. Fans of contemporary art, already spoiled for choice here, can now add two large commercial galleries and a major extension to an important public institution to their list of must-visits. Here’s the lowdown on all three new spots:
The Serpentine in London’s Hyde Park is no stranger to innovative architectural creations: Each year, the museum invites a different leading architect to create a temporary pavilion on its grounds. This fall, however, the Serpentine has upped the ante by opening a brand-new permanent exhibition space, too. The Serpentine Sackler Gallery is a striking combination of old and new. The old is “The Magazine,” a former gunpowder store built in 1805, while the new is an undulating tent-like structure designed by starchitect Zaha Hadid, the woman behind the London Aquatics Centre built for the 2012 Summer Olympics. This is the first time the austere 208-year-old building has been in public use, its narrow, brick, barrel-vaulted gallery spaces providing a unique historic environment for the four shows of cutting-edge contemporary work that will be presented there annually. The latest addition, with its curved glass wall, is also home to a bright and airy restaurant that makes a fantastic place to refuel before walking the seven minutes to the main gallery and checking out what’s on there.
Another London art institution that opened a second outlet this fall is private gallery Sadie Coles HQ. Coles, one of the city’s most respected commercial gallerists, retains a base in the historic art precinct of Mayfair, but recently expanded her operation with a huge space that overlooks bustling Regent Street. The entrance to the first-floor gallery is easy to miss if you’re not looking carefully for it, as it’s tucked away on tiny Kingly Street. A glass roof floods a wide-open pillared space with natural light, and there’s plenty of room for large-scale sculptures and installations, as well as paintings and works on paper by artists represented by the gallery. Expect to see the likes of Marvin Gaye Chetwynd (formerly known as Spartacus Chetwynd); Sarah Lucas, who is enjoying a solo exhibition at the Whitechapel Gallery (through Dec. 15); and Wilhelm Sasnal, considered by many to be Poland’s greatest living artist.
Perhaps most exciting of all, though, is the upcoming arrival on the London scene of American gallerist Marian Goodman. She established her acclaimed New York flagship in 1977 and followed that with a Paris gallery in 1995 — her 2014 London launch has been a long time in the planning and was eagerly anticipated by the local art community. The 10,000-square-foot gallery will occupy a former textile warehouse in Soho, just around the corner from the new Sadie Coles HQ space. Goodman’s impressive roster of artists includes the sculptor Tony Cragg and the German abstract and photorealist painter Gerhard Richter. British architect David Adjaye, who designed the Smithsonian Institution’sNational Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C., will be responsible for converting the 1886 building into a dynamic two-level art space.
Photos Courtesy of Luke Hayes, The Royal Parks and Serpentine Gallery