The inaugural edition of #londongalleryweekend drew to a successful close on Sunday 6 June, with over 40,000 visits to participating galleries recorded over the course of the three-day event.
A grassroots initiative developed to harness the energy of the London gallery scene, and the first major contemporary art event to take place in London since the onset of the pandemic, #londongalleryweekend featured 140 galleries from central, south and east London, bringing together collectors, curators and the art-loving public for a landmark celebration, featuring critically acclaimed exhibitions alongside booked-out performances, talks and special events.
Galleries staged exhibitions by major international names and emerging talents, including Bridget Riley at David Zwirner, Yinka Shonibare at Stephen Friedman Gallery, Martine Syms at Sadie Coles HQ, Yayoi Kusama at Victoria Miro, Peter Hujar at #maureenpaley, Alvaro Barrington at Emalin, Tom Lovelace at Sid Motion Gallery, Stuart Cliff at Xxijra Hii, and Jade Montserrat at Bosse & Baum. The weekend drew audiences from around the UK, with notable curators and patrons from regional institutions in attendance (further details below).
Jeremy Epstein, Co-Founder, #londongalleryweekend, and Co-Founder, Edel Assanti, said: “Seeing London's diverse community of galleries pull together for #londongalleryweekend has been an energising experience. The premise of the event was to reach a broader public than the one we are accustomed to seeing attending our spaces, so it was rewarding to see crowds finding their way to all corners of the city. The widespread reports of sales to new clients over the course of the weekend from a cross-section of galleries confirm the hypothesis that for most galleries, there is a larger potential local collector base waiting to be engaged. I am already excited for next year's edition, which will offer more extensive events and public programming as well as the prospect of welcoming international visitors. See you in 2022!”
Galleries participating in #londongalleryweekend responded positively to the experience:
“London hasn’t felt this full of energy in over a year and the visitor figures for galleries south, east and central, from small to big, have set records. It is proof of the huge audience for modern and contemporary art in our city and of the renewed sense of collaboration in our community.”
Sadie Coles, Sadie Coles HQ
"Participating in the inaugural edition of #londongalleryweekend has been a rewarding experience for all involved. It's been great to come together as a community to celebrate the talent, energy & strong programming London galleries have to offer as a whole. At David Zwirner, we hosted fully booked out tours of our new Bridget Riley exhibition throughout the weekend and welcomed many new faces as well as old friends to the gallery. It's been a joy to see so many #people engaging with art again, and a timely reminder that there is always incredible art to see, across the city, for free. Bring on next year!"
Angela Choon, Senior Partner, David Zwirner
“The energy at #londongalleryweekend has been incredible. It’s been so refreshing for the emphasis to be on visiting galleries in the flesh as much more is being communicated than just the artwork. From architectural decisions to the communities the galleries imbed themselves within, all play a role in creating the context and framework in which to see art. After so long in lockdown, it is clear #people are hungry to engage with new ideas and broader ways of seeing.” Will Jarvis, co-Director, The Sunday Painter
“London Gallery Weekend has been a fantastic experience. We’ve had the busiest weekend in the gallery for as long as I can remember, and it’s provided us with an invigorating opportunity to reconnect with our London friends, colleagues and collectors. We’re already looking forward to next year!”
Antonia Marsh, Director, Soft Opening
“It’s been an amazing few days! London has been buzzing with collectors, curators and the simply curious, with lots of new #people through the doors of the gallery and lots of positive energy. All we can say is bring on the next one!”
Alice Black, Co-Founder, ALICE BLACK
“London Gallery Weekend is exactly what the London art world needed, reminding #people about the variety of excellent galleries that are in the city. I think it's definitely a model that will grow in importance, serving as a complementary alternative to the art fairs.”
Niru Ratnam, Director, #niruratnam Gallery
“The volume of crowds and the high level of engagement that we saw at Pace for London
Gallery Weekend made the city feel alive again and served as a shining example of London’s art community at its best. It feels so good to be back!”
Elliot McDonald, Senior Director, Pace Gallery
"It's a long-overdue, serious contemporary art weekend for the city that really exceeded expectations in its first year and has proven that it will be a firmly marked annual fixture on the London cultural calendar. The fact that it doesn't coincide with other art world events meant that #people were really able to focus on the exhibitions across London in a way that they simply aren't able to usually and clearly #people really relished this. The diversity of the visitors was so exciting, such a cross-section of London and so many new faces, as well as our friends and colleagues in the art world - curators and museum directors, collectors and patron tours, and our artists were so supportive of the event too. We're already making plans for next year's event!” Polly Robinson Gaer, Executive Director, Thaddaeus Ropac London
“London Gallery Weekend has been such a positive event for both art and the city. The attendance has been impressive and exceeded my expectations. It was so special to see #people visiting galleries and enjoying all that is available to view, especially after having all been so isolated as a result of the recent lockdowns. A great success!”
Maureen Paley, Founder Director, #maureenpaley
“London Gallery Weekend more than delivered on its promise. We had over 600 #people in the gallery on Saturday alone, met significant new London collectors and made sales. It was particularly rewarding to hear from #people that they had conscientiously set out to visit galleries they didn’t previously know, demonstrating the strength of engagement and appeal of this year’s inaugural event.”
Jo Stella-Sawicka, Senior Director, Goodman Gallery
“London Gallery Weekend has been an absolutely fantastic experience. On the South London- focused Saturday we had over 200 visitors through our doors, the majority of whom hadn’t visited the gallery or even Deptford before. The audience was a real eclectic mix, from locals who have never ventured inside, young families, seasoned art goers and press as well as a number of organised patron tours of collectors and advisors. I had numerous interesting conversations as well as some potential sales, something which rarely happens from walk-ins. I couldn’t be happier with how the weekend has gone, and I can’t wait for next year!”
Andy Wicks, Director, Castor
“Our exhibition has attracted a huge amount of interest during #londongalleryweekend. The spirit of collaboration and love for art has been infectious and the public has responded with such enthusiasm. It’s been extremely successful, and I hope it is the first of many to come!” Alma Luxembourg, Director, Luxembourg + Co.
“London was back with a bang! A weekend full of new faces and exciting connections.”
Ross Thomas, Sales Director, BASTIAN
Curators and patron’s groups from institutions across the UK were in attendance, including Tate, Serpentine Gallery, Whitechapel Gallery, South London Gallery, Barbican, Goldsmiths CCA, Drawing Room, Modern Art Oxford, Nottingham Contemporary, Whitworth Art Gallery, Yorkshire Sculpture Park, Hepworth Wakefield and Mostyn.
Helen Pheby, Head of Curatorial Programme, Yorkshire Sculpture Park, said: “London Gallery Weekend is a brilliant initiative, not least because it highlights the collegiate approach of venues in the city and the value of supporting each other through the recent crisis and towards much better days. There was a palpable energy and great sense that the city’s visual arts ecology has not only survived but will thrive in the coming months and years. It was a great opportunity for me to access a curated approach to my first visit to London for many months, to feel I was making the most of my time, and also to catch up with #people. Thank you and congratulations, I can’t think of a better way to re-enter the London visual art world!”
Paul Hobson, Director, Modern Art Oxford, said: “It was such a great experience to be looking at art once again and a timely reminder of how fortunate we all are to have London’s dynamic commercial gallery sector. We organised tours for our patrons and collector networks and had positive feedback about the quality of the exhibitions and the warm welcome and insightful introductions offered by the galleries involved. We will be back!”
Dominique Heyse-Moore, Acting Head of Collections and Exhibitions, Whitworth Art Gallery, said: "There was a real buzz to the weekend which you could feel on the streets around the galleries. I was definitely able to see more exhibitions than I usually would when visiting London, since the weekend was dedicated solely to the galleries and there weren't other art world events that coincided. It was also a great way to catch up with colleagues from other institutions and patrons. It was all made so simple by being able to choose one of the curated tours from the #londongalleryweekend website, to which I added additional galleries and mapped it out. It took the logistics out of the equation so I could really focus entirely on what I was seeing. I'm already looking forward to next year's event!"
Natalia Gomolka, Patrons Manager, Whitechapel Gallery, said: “We are exceedingly grateful to #londongalleryweekend for inviting Whitechapel Gallery Patrons for a gallery-hopping tour in Mayfair and Soho. It felt terrific to view art in the flesh again and to have the chance to reconnect with gallerists, artists and curators. We very much look forward to the future editions of the festival. Thank you for re-awakening the London art scene after the lockdown!”
Alfredo Cramerotti, Director, MOSTYN Gallery, said: “It was a pleasure to be able to see art, #people and exhibitions in person - my colleague and I went around London with some of MOSTYN's patrons and they enjoyed the experience so much that they came back day after day. That’s a demonstration of the validity of the idea, its potential to enlarge art audiences and deepen connections with #people working and living in London, beyond those already interested or involved in art. I commend this initiative as a major catalyst for art production, engagement, and media attention now and in the future.”
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