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Top 8 London Art Galleries With a Difference
Oct 9th 2013 | Written by TownFish Team

Top 8 London Art Galleries With a Difference

Back in August we listed some of our favourite London art galleries with an edge to them. But that wasn’t all of them, oh no. London is full to the brim and we didn’t want you to miss out on any of them so here are a few more to provoke and intrigue you.

Pump House Gallery

The Serpentine Gallery is more famous, but Pump House is London’s cooler, older lakeside gallery. This one hasThe Pump gallery sitting by the lake the most beautiful setting and coming here at night is quite an experience. Follow the signposts through Battersea Park and you’ll find it tucked away beside the lake, surrounded by tall trees. Experimental art – from theatre to photography – is the norm here, and daytime exhibitions are held to complement evening performances.

The gallery is owned, managed and funded by Wandsworth council (council-funded art being a rarity these days) and finding it is an adventure in itself: follow the signposts through Battersea Park and you’ll find it tucked away beside the glassy lake, surrounded by vertiginously tall trees.

Amazingly the building – which first went up in 1861 and was left to fall into disrepair between the 1950s and the 1980s – contains four floors of art (not to mention breathtaking views across the 200-acre stretch of the park). And being the highest profile and most respected arts space in the borough of Wandsworth, it attracts up to 30,000 visitors annually: not for nothing has its reputation growing internationally.

Rebecca Hossack Gallery

This was the first London gallery to showcase Aboriginal artists. The main gallery is on Conway Street, between the elegant Fitzroy Square and the slightly scary BT Tower. It’s got a very relaxed feel to it and has some cool interior details like the separate artists’ entry and scarlet spiral staircase. Nothing in here is crowded or overhyped.

The secondary site is about two blocks south, on Charlotte Street, so you should see both. Artists include Genevieve Kemarr Loy and Cybèle Young.

Sprüth Magers Gallery

Imposing Georgian beauty on the outside; stunning modern gallery space on the inside.  Even if you don’t know who’s exhibiting, the huge display windows are usually arresting enough to draw you in. Sprüth Magers only shows the best of European and American contemporary art, and the gallery’s publications are art objects themselves. Past exhibitors include Barbara Kruger and photographer Philip-Lorca Dicorcia.

The Riflemaker Gallery

There are always swarms of people desperate to get in to the Riflemaker Gallery’s launches, not surprisingly when it might have been to see Gavin Turk piss-painting or Anja Niemi’s ‘Porcelain’ show or John Maeda’s test of the virtual world.

If you make it in three floors of art await: the stone basement for larger pieces, the all-wood ground floor for regular shows and the first floor for previews. Most of the gallery’s events are on Mondays, with the chance to meet the exhibiting artist.

Front of the Riflemakers gallery

Victoria Miro Gallery

If you are going to visit East End galleries, this one should be on your list. It is one of those places that art gets worshipped in. Unlike some more trend-driven Hoxton galleries, Victoria Miro exhibits artists from across the globe, all with strong reputations in collage, sculpture, installation or painting.

The interior of this former factory has been left largely intact, so artworks of sculpted heads and neon signs contrast with bare walls, church-like roof struts and high glass ceilings.

White Cube Mason’s Yard

Jay Jopling’s original White Cube gallery would be impressive even if it were empty. Entering the cube – placed in the middle of an old-school London cobbled yard – is like shutting out the rest of the world. It’s just stone, dimmed artificial lighting and the works you came to see. For the time you spend in the gallery, there really is nothing on your mind except the art. White Cube’s artist roster is loaded with famous names, including Georg Baselitz and Jake and Dinos Chapman.

Lazarides Rathbone

Launches at Lazarides are proper parties and the art is never forgettable. Go to one if you can, otherwise drop by and speak with genuinely helpful assistants who know their artists. The gallery is just stripped wood floors, brick walls and a speaker system. The view from the huge front window is of the Royal Mail sorting office, but nothing distracts from work by artists such as Sage Vaughn, Stanley Donwood and David Choe.

People attending a Lazarides London art gallery launch

Michael Hoppen Photography

Famous for its roster of celebrity photographers like Diane Arbus, Laszlo Moholy Nagy, Guy Bourdin and Ellen von Unwerth, this gallery is definitely worth a visit. Michael Hoppen is really a photography dealer with elements of a gallery, including assistants who are specialised in different areas of the art form. It provides a sanctuary of calm away from King’s Road, and the quality of its small exhibitions is consistent. The first floor is like a treasure chest–library of their artists’ work, and the top floor displays contemporary photos. Recent exhibitions include photos of wartime life in Afghanistan by Burke + Norfolk.

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