Sunday morning, after a relatively tame night eating curry and watching Troop Beverly Hills, I was simply starving for some highbrow culture. London is packed with art galleries and museums, so I figured it was time to fully take advantage of the beauty at my fingertips. Roping in my friend, Sasha, we set off to explore some galleries in South London, and best of all – they were both FREE. I vlogged the day, so you can experience the artistic delights (freaky Scooby Doo sculptures, gum murals, and light installations await!) from the comfort of your own home.
Also if you’re ever in London and looking to experience the art scene, the following are my top three favourite free (contemporary art) galleries in the city:
Newport Street Gallery
Newport St, Lambeth, London SE11 6AJ
Nearest Tube: Lambeth North (Bakerloo line)
Damien Hirst owns this haven hidden away in Lambeth. He curates the exhibits featuring some of his artist friends or includes work from his own vast personal collection. We saw the Dan Colen exhibition (featured in the vlog), and I highly recommend it. Dan is from the early aughts art bad boy heyday in New York, and reputation aside, his work was so impressive. Media ranged from sculpture (a full nude self portrait was eerily lifelike), to huge installations like the American flag work above, to murals made of gum and trash. The gallery itself was spacious, inviting, free of pretension, not too busy, and Hirst’s taste was everything I wanted from an exhibition. Can’t wait to go back.
Duke of York’s HQ, King’s Rd, Chelsea, London SW3 4RY
Nearest Tube: Sloane Square (Circle and District Lines)
Tucked away in posh Chelsea, the famous Saatchi Gallery is a lovely reprieve from the toffs and tourists in Duke of York Square. Exhibits rotate through, but currently they have an entertaining selfie-focused event on featuring famous self-portraits (some even made to look like Instagrams). Saatchi was the first gallery I’ve visited in London, and I’ve returned several times without disappointment. It can get packed on weekends, so try to go on a week day if you can.
144-152 Bermondsey St, London SE1 3TQ
Nearest Tube: Bermondsey (Jubilee line)
A new addition to my gallery girl favourites is White Cube in Bermondsey. It gained its reputation as one of the first galleries to give shows to contemporary British artist Tracey Emin, and has also shown the likes of Hirst and Marc Quinn. Our visit included an awesome light installation by Cerith Wyn Evans and “Playtime” by Damien Ortega – multiple works on game play and chance. White Cube was a bit more sterile (felt like 2001: A Space Odyssey), but the exhibitions, especially Ortega’s, were thought-provoking and the surrounding Bermondsey area makes a lovely weekend day out. Definitely recommend grabbing a flat white from Fuckoffe (yes, that’s it’s name) across the street.
What’s your favourite place to take in art in London? I’m always wanting to try new places, so let me know any recommendations you have!