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Installation view at l’étrangère | Courtesy l’étrangère
Installation view at l’étrangère | Courtesy l’étrangère
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The Best Art Galleries in Old Street

Picture of Holly Black
Updated: 7 September 2017
As Old Street becomes London’s tech hub, it is often easy to forget that this urban juncture is moments from the creative quarters of Shoreditch. For years, these crossroads have offered galleries and artists the chance to make their mark on two decidedly different sides of the city. Explore the place where worlds collide with this rundown of must-visit spots in the area.
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Autograph ABP

This charity is devoted to showcasing and supporting talented photographers who might otherwise be marginalised by the mainstream. The gallery space on Rivington Place presents exhibitions that explore race, cultural identity, human rights and politics and also offers a range of talks and educational activities.

Autograph ABP, Rivington Pl, London, United Kingdom, +44 020 7729 9200

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Using the guiding concept of “liquid modernity” (a theory in which the modern individual flows through his own life as a tourist), l’étrangère presents emerging and mid-career artists that reflect London’s multicultural, urban and experimental ethos.

l’étrangère, 44a Charlotte Rd, London, United Kingdom, +44 (0)207 729 9707

Installation view at l’étrangère | Courtesy of l’étrangère

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Maintaining its old shopfront since opening in 2008, Arcade promotes the work of modern masters and represents a handful of artists from across the world, such as Kit Craig and John Wallbank.

Arcade, 87 Lever St, London, United Kingdom, +44 (0)20 7608 0428

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Modern Art

Modern Art, which is in a converted pre-war factory, has shown a huge range of influential contemporary artists during the last few years, including sculptors Karla Black and Eva Rothschild, as well as punk collagist Linder.

Modern Art, 4-8 Helmet Row, London, United Kingdom, +44 (0)20 7299 7950

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Carl Freedman Gallery

Launched by writer and curator Carl Freedman, who was instrumental in helping the Young British Artists, also known as the YBAs, gain fame, this contemporary gallery represents well established artists, such as Billy Childish and John McAllister. The white cube space is housed in a beautiful brick terrace on one of the most fashionable streets, which borders Old Street and Shoreditch.

Carl Freedman Gallery, 29 Charlotte Road, London, United Kingdom, +44 (0)20 7684 8890

Exterior of Carl Freedman Gallery | © CFG/Wikimedia Commons

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Bloomberg Space

This dedicated gallery on Finsbury Square sits within Bloomberg’s European headquarters, but it is much more than a space devoted to showing a corporate collection. Bloomberg Space has collaborated with and commissioned contemporary artists for more than a decade, with an impressive selection of well-known talent, including Anthea Hamilton and Eduardo Paolozzi. The building also features a permanent installation by Tobias Rehberger called NEST, which consists of 888 spheres that light up in correlation with the number of workers logged into the network at that moment.

Bloomberg Space, 50 Finsbury Square, London, United Kingdom

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Parasol unit

This not-for-profit contemporary art foundation shares a building and a garden with contemporary mover-and-shaker Victoria Miro. The space is moments from the sprawl of Old Street, but offers tranquillity with four exhibitions a year, as well as other collateral projects.

Parasol unit, 14 Wharf Rd, London, United Kingdom, +44 (0)20 7490 7373

Installation view at Parasol Unit | Photo by Jack Hems, courtesy of Parasol Unit

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Beers London

With a focus on thematic concepts that cover politics and aesthetics, Beers London presents artists from all over the world, as far away as Albania and Australia. They also offer an array of limited-edition prints from contemporary artists.

Beers London, 1 Baldwin St, London, United Kingdom, +44 (0)20 7502 9078

Adam Lee: This Earthen Tent | Courtesy of Beers London

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Charlie Smith London

Don’t forget to look up when searching for this gallery, hidden on the second floor, moments away from Hoxton Square. Charlie Smith predominantly represents painters, but also programmes a range of shows from artists across multiple disciplines. The gallery hosts an open competition called Anthology, in which a panel of expert judges selects a winner, who receives a cash prize.

Charlie Smith London, 336 Old St, 2nd fl, London, United Kingdom, +44 (0)20 7739 4055

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Fiumano Projects

Launched by Francesca Fiumano in 2013, Fiumano Projects offers an experimental approach to art production, as opposed to the more traditional focus of painting and sculpture held by Fiumano Fine Art. In addition to providing the chance for artists to realise unusual or unorthodox visions, this organisation also offers arts consultation services.

Fiumano Projects, Unit 12, 21 Wren St, London, United Kingdom

Courtesy of Fiumano Projects

Courtesy of Fiumano Projects

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Ceviche doubles up as an art gallery, with exhibitions from Lima and beyond and featuring mediums from painting, illustration and drawing to the odd piece of sculpture. The idea is the brainchild of restauranteur Martin Morales, who realised that London lacked a dedicated space for Peruvian art. There is even an app you can even download while enjoying lunch that will give full background and pricing information about everything on display.

Ceviche, 2 Baldwin St, London, United Kingdom, +44 (0)20 3327 9463

Ceviche, Old Street | © Ceviche, courtesy of Ceviche