Hidden in plain site
London is an art lover’s heaven. With places like the National Gallery, the National Portrait Gallery, and both Tate Modern and Tate Britain, there is a plethora of choice to satisfy every London traveller no matter what their taste. However, there is no need to restrict your travel planning to the most well-known locations. There are numerous galleries throughout London with amazing artwork on show – here are three hidden masterpieces that cannot be missed out of your trip itinerary.
The Halcyon Gallery
New Bond Street is best known for its luxury brands. Designers like Hermes, Bulgari, and Chanel adorn the pavements and it is not unusual to see sports cars picking up shoppers laden with bags. But the true gems on this street are not Cartier – they are the artworks within the Halcyon Gallery.
The space, uniquely London in design and location, is the perfect place to escape the bustle of the crowd and experience some rarely seen pieces and is a must visit for any London traveller. Ada Crawshay Jones, the marketing manager for the Halcyon Gallery, says that the gallery aims to “build collections that have emotional resonance and importantly, impeccable provenances” from both established artists and emerging talent, and there is definitely a diverse range on offer.
Hosting a wide variety of international contemporary artists, there is something here for every culture lover. In the lower floor a Dali elephant sculpture rubs shoulders with Andy Warhol’s Campbell’s soup cans, paintings by Bob Dylan, and Santiago Montoya’s banknote pieces, and an ever-changing exhibition on the ground floor means that you will have something different to revisit every time.
This hidden gem is smuggled in the splendour of Piccadilly Arcade, almost unnoticeable amongst traditional British bespoke tailors and shops selling antique Russian artefacts. But once you go past the glass storefront of Snap Galleries, you are in a brand new rock-and-roll world. This two-story gallery specialises in music and pop culture photography, with previous exhibitions focusing on icons like Debbie Harry, David Bowie, Bruce Springsteen and Jimi Hendrix.
Director Guy White says, “We take great care in selecting the work we put on show at the gallery, and how we present it. Our philosophy behind each exhibition is simple and can be summed up in two words: Mach Schau. Make a show. If you make the effort to come and see us, we want you to feel that it has been worthwhile. That’s always our goal, and we hope we get it right.”
With the glimpse it offers into musical history a visit to Snap is definitely more than worthwhile if this style is your bag.
Victoria Miro Gallery
This gallery, although overlooked by many tourists, is one of the leading British contemporary galleries in London. There are two locations in the city – one in a converted bank office in Mayfair, and the other in a Victoria furniture factory on Hackney’s Wharf Road. The artwork displayed is as eclectic as its surroundings; earlier this year it hosted an exhibition by Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama, entitled All The Eternal Love I Have For The Pumpkins. The dramatic installations, including her famous mirror rooms and floating Narcissus Gardens, drew record numbers of visitors to the gallery.
With an upcoming exhibition on political protest, Victoria Miro is a bold and challenging gallery that should be included in any London online travel guide.