Art walk: Mayfair

  • 3 September 2013

Take a tour of galleries in Mayfair, the heartland of contemporary art in London for nearly a century.

Despite several big British names moving out of the area in 2000 – notably Victoria Miro and White Cube – in recent years the area has attracted major international galleries including David Zwirner, Hauser & Wirth and Sprüth Magers. This route takes in eight of the leading galleries in the area, but there are dozens more lining the streets.

1. David Zwirner

Take the Piccadilly (north side) exit from Green Park tube station, turn left and walk towards the Royal Academy of Arts, before turning left up Dover Street (which becomes Grafton Street). Towards the top of the street on the right, a discreet brass plaque on a whitewashed Georgian townhouse announces the David Zwirner gallery at no. 24, with shows extending over two floors of the house.

2. Sprüth Magers

At the head of the street, at 7a, is Sprüth Magers, its latticed floor-to-ceiling shop windows allowing exhibitions to be seen even when the gallery is closed. They represent an impressive roster of artists including Barbara Kruger, George Condo and Robert Morris, and this autumn the programme includes solo shows by Rosemarie Trockel and Stephen Shore.

3. Alan Cristea

Follow the street around until you reach the pedestrianised corner of New Bond Street, swerve around Lawrence Holofcener’s 1995 sculpture of Roosevelt and Churchill chatting on a bench and turn right into Clifford Street. This leads to the top of Cork Street, where Alan Cristea Gallery occupies the corner property, and Cork Street galleries include Waddington Custot and Flowers.

Li Songsong, Big Girls, 2013 At Pace Gallery from 19 September

4. Hauser & Wirth

Continue along Clifford Street to the end and turn left into Savile Row. Tailors such as Richard James may continue the sartorial tradition, but there are also several galleries on the street now, the most significant being Hauser & Wirth, which occupies two bespoke glass-walled spaces on the right.

5. Stephen Friedman

Retrace your steps to Clifford Street and take the first left on to Old Burlington Street. This road runs parallel to Cork Street and Stephen Friedman has two gallery spaces, one on the left and his original premises further down on the right. The gallery represents painters Mamma Anderson and Beatriz Milhazes as well as sculptors Stephan Balkenol and Yinka Shonibare.

6. Pace Gallery

At the end of this street is American juggernaut Pace Gallery, housed in the Royal Academy’s Burlington Gardens annexe. The sixth exhibition space for the New York City-based gallery, Pace London opened in 2010 with an exhibition of Sol LeWitt's wall drawings.

7. Thomas Dane

Walk down through the classic Burlington Arcade and cross Piccadilly, walk left and take the first right down Duke Street, packed with Old Master dealers and the occasional contemporary gallerist such as Thomas Dane (7) at no. 11, a first-floor gallery whose entrance is next to the red awning of dealer Rafael Valls.

8. White Cube

It was on Duke Street that the 30-year-old Jay Jopling opened his tiny first-floor gallery at no. 44 called White Cube, where he showed many of the Young British Artists. Scroll forwards 20 years and visit White Cube Mason’s Yard, one of Jopling’s two capacious London spaces, this one purpose-built in an enclosed courtyard off Duke Street.

Looking for more art in the capital? Discover London's other contemporary art zones with our tours of Shoreditch, Bethnal Green and Peckham.