There are a myriad of exciting galleries tucked behind the hustle and bustle of Oxford Street. Here’s our pick of the best places to appreciate the visual arts, whether you want to experience the work of up-and-coming young artists, contemporary architecture or learn about movements from across the globe.
Since 2004, Alison Jacques has been committed to raising the profiles of artists previously unknown in the UK, regardless of emerging or well-established status overseas. This includes the incredible careers of Lygia Clark, Hannah Wilke and Ana Mendieta, all of whom are now considered hugely influential in the shaping of feminist art history. Jacques was also the first dealer to work with the estate of controversial photographer Robert Mapplethorpe, and the gallery remains his sole UK representative to this day.
Alison Jacques, Orwell House, 16-18 Berners St, Fitzrovia, London, UK, +44 20 7631 4720
Installation view Ana Mendieta: Metamorphosis | Courtesy Alison Jacques Gallery, London | Courtesy Alison Jacques Gallery, London
This relatively young gallery focuses on emerging and established contemporary artists whose practice is related to Africa and the subsequent diaspora. More immediate interpretations include Theo Eshetu’s video works contemplating the history and legacy of slave ships, while more unusual themes include last year’s exhibition The Pineapple Show which presented artists from Kenya, Nigeria and the United States who have shared a common interest in the tropical fruit.
Tiwani Contemporary, 16 Little Portland St, Marylebone, London, UK, +44 20 7631 3808
TJ Boulting takes its name from the beautiful Arts and Crafts building that it occupies on the corner of Riding House Street, complete with intricate mosaic lettering. The gallery was founded as an exhibiting platform to compliment the publishing company Trolley, which produces books on contemporary art, architecture and design. The programme is often indicative of a collaborative effort between publishing and curating, and represents artists including photographer Juno Calypso and painter Boo Saville.
TJ Boulting, 59 Riding House St, Fitzrovia, London, UK, +44 20 7729 6591
Exterior of TJ Boulting | Photo: Philafrenzy | Photo: Philafrenzy
With an emphasis on innovative technologies, Carroll Fletcher presents artists who are defying convention and pushing the boundaries of multimedia, such as the computer art pioneer Manfred Moh and and political ‘internet artist’ Constant Dullaart. Unsurprisingly given the gallery’s mission statement, it also has its own online screening platform, showing a curated programme of artists’ and experimental film every week.
Carroll Fletcher, 56-57 Eastcastle St, Fitzrovia, London, UK, +44 20 7323 6111
With a specialism in post-war conceptual and feminist practices, Richard Saltoun presents a sizeable amount of work from the ground-breaking era of 1970s performance works. It represents the often-challenging works of Jo Spence and Helen Chadwick and has also exhibited other pioneers from the movement, including Carolee Schneemann and Alexis Hunter. It also collaborates with Riding House publishing to present monographs on selected artists, alongside its exhibition programme.
Ricard Saulton, 111 Great Titchfield St, Fitzrovia, London, UK, +44 20 7637 1225
Installation view, Franciszka Themerson UBU, Richard Saltoun Gallery, London | Photo: FXP Photography | Photo: FXP Photography
This Rem Koolhaas-designed building was launched by dealer Pilar Corrias in 2008, following her tenure as director at Lisson Gallery. She made waves in the art world by showing experimental young artists such as Keith Tyson and introduced fashion designer Miuccia Prada to the work of acclaimed sculptor Anish Kapoor.
Pilar Corrias, 54 Eastcastle St, Fitzrovia, London, UK, +44 20 7323 7000
Bartha Contemporary was founded by Swiss-German couple Niklas and Daniela von Bartha in January 2000 and moved to its Fitzrovia space in 2012. The gallery emphasises conceptual and non-figurative practices, with particular focus on European artists including Hartmut Böhm, Giulia Ricci and Mike Meiré.
Bartha Contemporary, 25 Margaret St, Marylebone, London, UK, +44 20 7985 0015
Breaking Geometries exhibition, 2017, at Bartha Contemporary: Henrik Eiben, Mike Meiré & Beat Zoderer | Courtesy Bartha Contemporary | Couertesy Bartha Contemporary
Pi Artworks is dedicated to raising the profile of Turkish artists throughout the international art world and was the first Turkish gallery to set up a branch in London after founding its Istanbul headquarters in 1998. It has since grown to represent artists of different nationalities including German-Egyptian artist Susan Hefuna, who is fascinated by urban spaces and their hidden networks, and German sculptor Abraham David Christian, who was of the youngest artists ever to be selected to participate in the international art event Documenta, in 1972.
Pi Artworks, 55 Eastcastle St, Fitzrovia, London, UK, +44 20 7637 8403
The Gallery for Russian and Eastern European Arts and Design (or GRAD for short) seeks to educate audiences on the incredibly rich culture of Russia and neighbouring eastern European countries, covering both historical movements and engaging with current socio-political tensions. The gallery was even awarded ‘immunity from seizure’ status, meaning that artists can exhibit freely without fear that their work might be confiscated. The gallery also runs a series of research and education initiatives, including GRAD Lab, GRAD Academy and GRAD Sputnik, all of which contribute to a wider dialogue around arts and culture.
GRAD, 3-4a Little Portland St, Fitzrovia, London, UK, +44 20 7637 7274
As part of the headquarters for the Royal Institute of British Architects, this gallery presents exhibitions around all things architecture. The shows often focus around materials from the sizeable archive including drawings, photographs and models from the likes of Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, Sir John Soane, Sir Christopher Wren and Andrea Palladio.
RIBA, 66 Portland Pl, Marylebone, London, UK, +44 20 7580 5533
RIBA building exterior at 66 Portland Place | Photo Steve Cadman