Marylebone is classic London, with visitors from all over the globe going to get a proper taste of London culture, food, lifestyle, and to have the iconic London experience.
The same is true for the art. While the high-profile public galleries are justly lauded the world over, it is not only about big-name attractions. The expanse of exceptional independent galleries is endless. If you’re in search of an alternative to the cultural institutions that dominate the itineraries of first-time visitors to London, here is my starter guide for art venues to explore in Marylebone and Fitzrovia.
Fashion space gallery
For a more edgy cultural experience, head to the London College of Fashion, University of the Arts London, where there is a hub of trend setting talent available on tap. Their gallery currently has on view Super Sharp, a multi media art-meets-fashion-and-music exhibition. Curated by Tory Turk and jointly conceived with Saul Milton (Chase & Status) it is the first instalment of the RTRN II JUNGLE.
Get a low down on how fashion influenced the British rave culture in the nineties. See the clothes and listen to the music that defined a generation. Super Sharp explores the impact of luxury Italian designer brands on the underground music scenes of Jungle and UK Garage music. The super cool were clad in Versace, Moschino, Iceberg and D&G. Put on the headphones and transport yourself into the bold bright brilliant 90s.
For something completely different, try the RIBA: Royal Institute of British Architects, at their 66 Portland Place location housed in a stunning art-deco building. This is a great location to see exhibitions and talks, and the library has a staggering 4 million items in the catalogue. Currently on exhibition is a fascinating look at The Baltic. The reinvention of post-Soviet control though architecture in the Baltic states of today. RIBA is great place to nourish the mind when the weather may be less than perfect. Stop at the cafe and enjoy coffee and cake whilst taking in the architecture. Don’t forget the bookshop; the best architecture, design and construction books from around the world.
The Wallace Collection
For a regal art experience stop by the Wallace Collection. There is much to see and experience in this historic manor house. Participate in art classes, art talks, art tours, or just wander around and see what there is to see. March is a great time to go, and if you are in the mood for a touch of the Irish, the treasure of the month will inspire you. The Bell of St. Mura, a hand bell that is reputed to have come from the Abbey of Fahan, County Donegal, Ireland, is highlighted at the Wallace Collection. It illustrates a wonderful mix of Irish and Viking ornamentation. The bell was believed to have power in alleviating human suffering and pregnant women drank from it to assure a safe pregnancy and child birth.
Stop by and visit the iconic Rococo painting, The Swing, also known as The Happy Accident. It is an 18th-century oil painting by Jean-Honoré Fragonard a masterpiece of the Rococo era.
Rebecca Hossack Gallery
I recommend you stop by the Rebecca Hossack art galleries. They are two small galleries within a short walk of each other, with a great stable of interesting and varied art by international artists, you will be taken on a global international odyssey. I want to highlight two artists I especially recommend.
Phil Shaw is professor at the University of Middlesex, a master digital print maker and a conceptual artist. At the Rebecca Hossack art gallery you can find some his “Book Shelf” series. In this series he takes real books, all which can be found at the British Library, and arranges and photographs the books on book shelves. His beautifully printed eight colour pigment based archival prints on Hahnemuhle paper, of aged vintage books in book shelves invite viewers to peruse the titles and put together a witty narrative. In some instances, you may also compose a larger picture with the carefully placed books upon the shelf. Shaw takes us back to that old familiar and very satisfying moment, when the names on the spines of someone’s book shelf told more than what someone had read.
Nikoleta Sekulovic is an artist, mother, and global citizen, born in Rome to a German mother and a Serbian father. Women are seen and accepted as multi faceted beings today. No longer do we identify someone as just, “wife”, “daughter” or “mother”, but are now free to express sensuality. Sekulovic has a wonderful series of large nude figures reminiscent of Klimt’s graceful drawings depicting women as modern day heroes. The series is called Aletheia – the Greek philosophical term that defines unveiling and uncovering, the Greek notion of Truth. Sekulov paints in simple muted colours. Her mothers are honest and beautiful portraits of women in quite moments of introspection.