Newport Street Gallery -2060x1236
Photo: damienhirst.com

London has changed quite dramatically since I moved here from Up North, in the late eighties. Mostly this is a good thing, but there are some aspects – like the rise of hideous office blocks and multi-million pound penthouses – that completely ignore local needs and spoil the London skyline. So, even though I’m not a huge Damien Hirst fan, I like what he’s done with the Newport Street Gallery. The Brit artist and collector has spent a fortune renovating an old industrial building (a former theatre scenery, painting workshop) in a run down part of Vauxhall, added a few extras and turned it into a beautiful, free-entry exhibition space. Newport Street is just down the road from That’s Not My Age Mansions and the other side of the railway tracks from the ‘Nine Elms business and residential quarter’, ahem. So, I was keen to have a nosey around south London’s new gallery.

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The opening exhibition at Newport Street Gallery is by the late British artist John Hoyland  – who is a bit like our Mark Rothko – and his bold, abstract paintings look magnificent in this brilliant white space:

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Photo: Dezeen

This is not the only gallery on Newport Street but it’s the biggest, and takes up an entire block. Beaconsfield at the other end of the street is housed in a former Victorian school (the Lambeth Ragged School) with a second space under a railway arch. It has a good vegetarian café, The Ragged Canteen where, unfortunately on my visit, staff were being run ragged by the new influx of visitors.

In 1988, not long after I’d moved to London, I went to see Freeze, the exhibition that launched Brit Art. I was still finding my way around the city and can remember cycling over to a dilapidated old warehouse to view the show. Freeze was curated by Damien Hirst, largely to showcase the art work of that year’s Goldsmith’s graduates (of which, he was one); now aged 50, Hirst has  gone back to what he does best.

10 thoughts on “The new Damien Hirst gallery

  1. Beautiful building. DO you know your post about Tech neck is not showing on your blog? I click on it and it’s gone. Just FYI in case it’s a glitch you don’t know about.

  2. I’m from Canada and I love reading about your neighbourhood! I thought you’d want to know that I tried the link to John Hoyland, but it took me to some “Apache” site that said you were getting maintenance. Maybe that’s just on my end, but I thought you’d want to check it out.

  3. Katharine & Kim – thanks for letting me know, I had a few technical problems over the weekend and think this is just a hangover. I need to update the Hoyland link – and the Tech Neck post was an old one that strangely reappeared on the home page. All should be OK now, I hope.

  4. So interesting to get a glimpse of what’s happening in your part of the world. It looks like a fabulous space and I enjoy hearing your perspective as someone who moved there in the 80’s. I’m often ambivalent about new architecture and gentrification. This looks like a cool project however. Xxoo

  5. This is a stunning space, and the paintings seem like part of a composition against the white walls. I can imagine the serenity of wandering through the galleries, but I wonder how engaging the individuals works really are. I have to confess, my tastes run more to the traditional and florid – I’m itching to see the exhibition at the V&A, Botticelli Reimagined, and I’ll be back in the UK in time to see it!

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