Art Galleries

06/05/20


White Cube Gallery

The White Cube gallery is so-called because it is, at least on the inside, essentially a big white cube.

When it first opened, its 58,000 square feet of sterile space made it the largest commercial art gallery in Europe, and all of that emptiness was a very deliberate attempt by owner Jay Jopling to create a semi-literal blank canvas for the not-so-blank canvases that were gracing its walls.

The merits of this approach can be debated – in fact, in 1999 an art group known as the Stuckists “opposed to the sterility of the white wall gallery system” actually opened a gallery with coloured walls opposite White Cube – but what is absolutely certain is the success & impact the gallery has enjoyed over the years. It was the first to show works by many of the YBAs, including Tracey Emin and Gavin Turk, and now it has branches in New York, Paris, and Hong Kong.

The space itself is down on Bermondsey Street, where its vast interior of flawlessly polished concrete propping up the pure alabaster walls is genuinely impressive, if only for the sheer scale of it all. There’s a large main room and a couple of smaller spaces accessible from the ‘hallway’ that takes up the bulk of the gallery, and most of it is covered in artworks.

The most recent exhibition, ‘A New Nature’ brought Isama Noguchi’s belief that city dwellers ought to forge a new nature from the materials of urbanisation and technology to life. The standout piece? The ‘Ceiling, 666 Fifth Avenue New York’ installation hanging overhead; the white light bouncing off of the floor filtering through the steel bars giving the impression of being underwater. Up next? Photographer Andreas Gursky’s first London exhibition since 2018.

If this all sounds a bit much, don’t be intimidated. Despite its size, the gallery is relatively easy to take in for a quick whip around, always provides visitors a printed guide, and is free of charge due to the fact it’s a commercial gallery. And being on Bermondsey Street means that there’s not exactly a shortage of decent restaurants nearby…

…perfect for a square meal.

 

NOTE: White Cube gallery is open Tuesday to Saturday. There is no admission fee. You can find out more at the website right here.

White Cube | 144-152, Bermondsey St, SE1 3TQ


About those places to eat… here are the best bars & restaurants in London Bridge


White Cube Gallery


144-152, Bermondsey St, Bermondsey, SE1 3TQ
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