Mayfair is London Lux. This is the part of London to go to for the world’s best design houses, set in London’s urban English elegance.
This is also the place to find the biggest names in the art world. Some of which are situated in unexpected, understated historical buildings or hidden behind a narrow street. It is here where you will find ultra modern architectural wonders next to classic quaint old pubs of London, a perfect juxtaposition of everything London has to offer.
Here are my must see recommendations for art spaces in Mayfair.
Hauser & Wirth
Starting with the iconic flagship galleries of Hauser & Wirth. They have locations in some of the world’s top art cities, New York, Los Angeles and of course, Mayfair, and known for their stunning large gallery showrooms. A must see for a full art immersion experience. Currently they have two exhibitions. The first, Matthew Day Jackson “Still Life and the Reclining Nude” is an interesting exhibition of floral large scale still life paintings that juxtapose a classic genre of painting with unexpected and modern materials. Jackson’s flower Vases depict a traditional composition in a surprising palate of blacks, greens, oranges and greys the material are equally unexpected, modern and very urban today. Jackson uses Formica, silkscreen, acrylic paint on epoxy resin on panel, stainless steel frame.
The second gallery is Lorna Simpson, “Unanswerable” – a thought provoking multi-disciplined exhibition with found photographs and collages on paper, paintings and mixed media sculptures. Simpson, a prominent African American female artist incorporates gender, race and identity into her art.
Waterhouse & Dodd
This is a small, friendly gallery with a great portfolio of artists. They represent artists from the Post-War period to a series of contemporary cutting edge exhibitions. Their current exhibition is “Shadows and Light” with new work from British artist Martyn Brewster, whose abstract paintings are evocative of the sea, and explore the coastal light of the south coast of Dorset where he lives and works. His paintings feel atmospheric, conjuring the differing moods near the sea throughout the seasons.
The Mayor Gallery
Through the doors and up the stairs The Mayor Gallery is a hidden gem. Their current exhibition is an installation of 20 stunning large Cadmium red line paintings, which were created over one weekend in this very space by Tanya Ling. Sheets of paper were hung while Ling, with a paint kettle in one hand and paint brush in the other, set to work. Each of the approximately 20 works share a single colour which for this season, is a red with an evocative 1970s orange hue.
Born in Calcutta (1966), Ling’s childhood was spent in America, Africa and England where she studied Fashion Design and Textiles at St Martins School of Art. After graduating in 1989 Ling moved to Paris to work as a designer for Dorothee Bis and then for Christian Lacroix. On her return to London she set up a contemporary art project Bipasha Ghosh with her husband William Ling and in 1996 produced her first exhibition of drawings in artist Gavin Turk’s studio on the Charing Cross Road, London. This exhibition led to a commission to make drawings for British Vogue. Now over 50 of her drawings are housed in the Prints and Drawings collection at the V&A, London.
This gallery is a crown jewel amongst the treasure trove of art finds in Mayfair. Located in an elegant classic building that has been designed to elevate the art housed in it and the viewing art experience. Currently showing Crossroads: Kauffman, Judd and Morris, this is historical eye candy at its best. A rare artist that brings midcentury art work up to the minute. View works from history’s great minimalist artists expanding on the concept of painting by their use of three-dimensional and colourful plastics. These works are the first to literarily elevate paintings into sculptural form.
Next, view seminal British conceptual artist, Anthony McCall’s most current work curated alongside some of his groundbreaking early works. Take the time to go to the basement gallery, and experience his exhibit ‘Meeting You Halfway II (2009)’, a 15 minute interactive video projection installation.
Ordovas is a gallery that specialises in the best of 20th century and contemporary art with museum quality exhibitions in an exclusive, private environment. Founded by Pilar Ordovas, she spent 13 years at Christie’s, where she was International Director and Deputy Chairman, Post-War and Contemporary Art in Europe, and two years as a Director of Gagosian Gallery in London. They are currently hosting an exhibition that expands on the current Tate Britain’s All Too Human. If you want to get more up close and personal with some of these British modern masters, head to Ordovas. You will be in the presence of masters by the likes of Francis Bacon, Lucian Freud, Micheal Andrews, Frank Auerbach, David Hockney just to name drop a few.
Some galleries are closed in between exhibitions but they should be on your Mayfair, London gallery list.
The Pace Gallery
6 Burlington Gardens, Mayfair, London W1S 3ET
25-26 Masons Yard, St. James’s, London SW1Y 6BU
24 Grafton St, Mayfair, London W1S 4EZ