Emerging Artists Find a New ‘Blank Canvas’ in London

Special Report: Contemporary Art New York Times  By Alice Pfeiffer: October 14, 2009
Peckham, a run-down district of London, south of the Thames, is said to have the capital’s highest concentration of knife crime, hairdressers and gospel churches.
Now, add up-and-coming artists: in easy reach of some of the capital’s leading art schools, the area’s low prices and vast, empty industrial spaces are attracting experimental avant-garde collectives, studios and galleries — a countercultural challenge to the established North-of-the-river world of the Frieze art fair and the gentrified East End.
“Peckham is the land of the free. It’s like a blank canvas,” said Hannah Barry, an enterprising 26-year-old who founded her eponymous gallery last year in a warehouse of a former cricket bat factory.  At the end of an industrial road populated by factories and faith groups, Ms. Barry and her co-director Sven Mündner, 31 — both graduates of Cambridge — put on 15 to 20 shows a year, showcasing young emerging artists. Ms. Barry and Mr. Mündner have also put on an annual sculpture show since 2006, on the roof of an abandoned parking garage nearby. “We felt there was room for an ambitious sculpture park in London,” Ms. Barry said. In June, she and Mr. Mündner took Peckham to a global audience, with a show, the “Peckham Pavilion,” on the fringes of the Venice Biennale.  read more …

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