East London has been synonymous with art for decades, since struggling artists flocked to the area to take up studios in the 1970s, to its current graffiti-filled streets today. Space after space is used to display work from budding new talent to renowned contemporary artists, from high-end art galleries to small craft shops.
The Approach Gallery
Another great gallery situated above a pub, The Approach Gallery is a small space with one of its original objectives, being to offer solo exhibitions to London-based artists at the start of their careers – several of whom have gone on to achieve international success. The gallery has grown in success since it was founded in 1997 and now represents an extensive list of international artists.
The Brick Lane Gallery
An East London gallery situated on one of the most artistically renowned streets in London and comprising of two spaces a stone’s throw from each other. Delivering a new exhibition every two weeks, ensuring there will always be a selection of new artists for you to discover. Ranging from emerging artists to mid career, you’re bound to find original investment pieces, so follow their Instagram to stay up to date with their exhibitions.
Across the road from Spitalfields Market and you will enter a street that feels like a film set, with rows of period properties (one housing the artistic duo Gilbert and George). One of the first on the street is a small, glass-fronted shop called Town House, home to both a gallery and antiques/craft shop. From handmade pottery to exhibitions by contemporary artists, Town House is the hidden gem we implore you to visit. They even have homemade cake in the basement. A trip to look forward to.
The perfect stop on your Sunday walk along East London’s Columbia Road’s flower market, Nelly Duff will have a piece you’ll be desperate to pair with your new Swiss cheese plant. With an array of limited-edition prints and artworks, you will undoubtedly be giving your home the spruce of a graffiti-like portrait or the graphic quote it’s been craving.
The Chisenhale produces and commissions contemporary art, aiming to exhibit the most exciting and innovative works from both international and UK-based artists. Founded 38 years ago, the gallery has supported their artists in pursuing new directions and creating ambitious work, ensuring their exhibitions are exciting and diverse. The gallery has a reputation for identifying new talent with a commitment to reaching wide audiences.
New Art Project
This is a gallery set up by Fred Mann and aims to support emerging to mid-career artists with a focus on painting and drawing exhibitions. The space is hidden and unassuming, situated below a block of flats, only a couple of streets away from East London’s Broadway Market, yet the exhibitions are exciting with careful curation and imaginative installations. The gallery also has a vast collection in stock to view or purchase, ranging from detailed portrait paintings to erotic drawings.
With 36,500 Instagram followers, it is no surprise Public Gallery has made it onto our list. Combining contemporary art with the edgy vibe of East London, this space exhibits young talent changing the landscape of what art is today.
The Old Bank Vault
A welcoming community gallery and event space, working with emerging and established artists and independent suppliers.
The Wenlock Basin branch of Victoria Miro has exhibited the likes of Yayoi Kusama and Alex Hartle. With its own garden space, it’s able to deliver exhibitions that are immersive, unique and alfresco. Yayoi Kusama’s exhibition was one of the most renowned exhibitions of 2018, with halls of mirrors and her famous pumpkin sculptures enveloping the space. Victoria Miro exhibits some of the most famous contemporary artists of our time.
The Whitechapel Gallery
A contemporary art gallery founded in 1901, the Whitechapel Gallery has exhibited masters such as Picasso and Frida Kahlo, as well as contemporary artists including Sarah Lucas and Sophie Calle. It is one of the more obvious choices on our list, but it couldn’t go amiss. The gallery houses an extensive art bookshop as well as historic archives and art classes.
Henry Miller Fine Art
Henry Miller displays his extensive collection within his own period home in Walthamstow. The theme to every piece within the gallery is the male form. It is the only collection of its kind, with pieces from as early as the 17th century up to the modern day. This is a must-see if you’re interested in anatomical art or even just to see Henry’s stunning period home.
Gods Own Junkyard
Chris Bracey has been the Neon Man for 38 years creating iconic art pieces for the likes of David La Chappelle and Martin Creed. Displaying a vast neon collection, Gods Own Junk Yard is the East London destination your Instagram feed has been craving. With great quotes and love hearts aplenty, you’re bound to find countless aesthetically pleasing shots.
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