London is one of the best cultural and artistic cities in the world. Home to around 400 unique art galleries, selecting which ones to visit can be difficult. Of course, you have the major tourist spots like the Tate Modern and The National Gallery, which house great art. But you shouldn’t only be looking for the biggest, most well known works. Some of the best art in London can be found in niche art galleries.
Here are our choices for the four best, niche art galleries to visit in London and why:
- Plus One Gallery – Home of Hyperrealism
The owner of Plus One Gallery, Maggie Bollaert, quite literally (co-)wrote the book on Hyperrealism; entitled Exactitude: Hyperrealist Art Today. Her London based gallery is a global focal point for emerging hyperrealism and photorealism.
Art that has managed to capture almost tangible likenesses are hugely popular online, but nothing truly compares to seeing the pieces with your own eyes. Last summer’s Splash exhibition that featured figures submerged in water were breathtaking, leaving viewers practically gasping for breath. Other exhibitions have focused on various materials and themes, from paper to metals, The Chelsea Flower show to, the intriguingly titled, Real Impossibilities, each with stunning realism.
White Cube – Echoes in a blank space
Bermondsey Street in south London is famed for it’s cuisine, but nestled in the middle of the long lane is the striking White Cube gallery. A relatively new gallery, opening in 2011, it houses three main exhibition spaces. While the art on display varies from retrospectives to new works, the influence of London and Berlin architecture in the gallery’s layout creates open, interactive and learning areas in different sections of the gallery.
The current main exhibition, Wir fahren aus (We’re off), focuses on the Neo-Expressionist, german painter Georg Baselitz. His works on display include many new pieces in differing mediums, including sculpture, paintings and paper. Characteristically vibrant and colourful in the works he creates, Baselitz’s bronze sculptures on show are notably striking.
- Howard Griffin Gallery – The Thierry Noir Museum
Thierry Noir is an iconic French artist. He is claimed to be the first street artist to paint the Berlin Wall, with his memorial to Princess Diana still painted on one of the remaining pieces. The Howard Griffin Gallery houses the permanent exhibition, entitled: The Thierry Noir Museum for the latter half of 2016.
The Howard Griffin Gallery is located, at its London location, in the trendy East side of the city in Shoreditch. Specialising in Street Art, the gallery houses the work of numerous high profile urban artists from around the world.
- Graffik Gallery – Urban art from politics to pop
Graffik Gallery is one of the most groundbreaking galleries in London. Featuring work of urban art, many with political messages and pop art reinterpretations creating an overarching stylistic theme. They consider themselves the ‘very first street art gallery in London’ and as ‘trendsetters of this industry’.
The current exhibition at Graffik Gallery includes pieces by Banksy, the notoriously anonymous street artist, as well as Dotmaster and Marco Polo. A special solo show from guerilla street artist Ben Naz, where the gallery also helped launch his book, is a notable part of their history. Especially since the artist sadly passed away in 2014, causing a street art memorial spree in the city.