We begin at the Royal Academy of Arts, a building that has changed and evolved over time much like the exhibits within it. The Academy prides itself on providing a voice for art and artists, and being an institution led by artists for artists. They pursue this mission through exhibitions, education and debate (which is encouraged), so pop in for a drink at The Keeper’s House, the RA’s bar/café/restaurant space. It’s the perfect spot to discuss the most recent trends from the art world.
Bernard Jacobson, Duke St
Next on the Art and Design Walk is the Bernard Jacobson Gallery, located in the heart of St James’s on Duke Street. The gallery has a rich history in London which dates to its founding in 1969. In recent years, the gallery has become known for hosting major solo exhibitions of work by modern masters such as the late Robert Motherwell and Sam Francis.
If modern masters are your thing, you’re going to love the White Cube which is next on our walk….
White Cube, Mason’s Yard
The White Cube is an impressive freestanding building tucked away in a hidden square just off of Duke Street. White Cube achieved its reputation by being the first to give one person shows to many of the Young British Artists (YBAs), including Tracey Emin and Marc Quinn.
It is owned and run by the internationally known art dealer Jay Jopling and its reputation for cutting edge art continues to this day, with several other White Cube galleries opening across London. If you’re an avid collector you will be happy to know you can purchase prints from a range of their artists, such as Tracey Emin and Gilbert and George.
Sims Reed Gallery
Our next stop is a leading international print gallery, Sims Reed, also located on Duke Street. Sims Reed specialises in modern, post-war and contemporary original prints and works on paper.
The gallery has grown to hold an extensive inventory of works by leading artists of the 20th century alongside major contemporary artists. These include David Hockney, Bridget Riley, Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, Richard Estes, Joan Miró and Pablo Picasso.
Thomas Dane Gallery
Don’t be afraid to ring the doorbell of Thomas Dane Gallery, a relative newcomer that has lit up St James’s contemporary art scene with luminaries such as Michael Landy and Steve McQueen, and is often associated with 90s-era British artists. The gallery hosts a wide range of exhibitions from sculptures and paintings to video, film and photography.
The next gallery on the Art Walk is the David Gill Gallery. Gill has been at the forefront of contemporary art and design for over 25 years. So it’s no surprise that his third gallery celebrates contemporary furniture, design and art created by leading international artists.
Gill’s inaugural show featured ‘Liquid Glacial Table’ from Zaha Hadid, which was nominated for Design of the Year Award 2013. Throughout his career he has championed artist and visionaries at the cutting edge of design, so prepare to see work that pushes the boundaries of materials and structure.
Alan Cristea Gallery
Our next gallery is the bright and spacious Alan Cristea Gallery. Opened in 1995, the gallery is “artist-led” - working with a range of upcoming and celebrity artists to create work across a range of media, from paper, sculptures and paintings.
Institute of Contemporary Arts
We end our Art and Design walk through St James’s at the ICA. Founded in 1946, the ICA was created to promote and encourage an understanding of radical art and culture. Their vibrant programme of exhibitions, films, talks and events was designed to stimulate debate surrounding the arts, a philosophy they have been promoting since its birth. The ICA continues to engage new generations of audiences and artists with its critically acclaimed exhibition and film programme. The ICA is world renowned for a reason and it makes the perfect end to the St James’s Art Walk.
These galleries host a whole manner of public exhibitions, events and art fairs. Keep an eye on our events page if you’re on the look-out for something specific.