Newport Street Gallery
London, SE11 6AJ
Free to all
Opened in 2015, the gallery in Lambeth shows exhibitions of work from Damien Hirst’s art collection.
Newport Street Gallery is the realisation of Hirst’s long-term ambition to share his collection – which includes over 3,000 works – with the public.
Spanning 37,000 square feet, it was designed by architects Caruso St John, and took three years to construct. The project involved the conversion of three listed Victorian buildings, which were originally built in 1913 to serve as scenery painting studios for the local theatre industries.
Two additional buildings have been added, creating a gallery that spans half the length of the street. The roof of the tallest building has been specifically designed to allow for the installation of large sculptures.
For Hirst, this was a project close to his heart. He said: 'I believe art should be experienced by as many people as possible and I’ve felt guilty owning work that is stored away in boxes where no one can see it, so having a space where I can put on shows from the collection is a dream come true.
'Sometimes I still can’t believe that I’m lucky enough to actually own work by some of the artists who first inspired me and made me want to become an artist – like Picasso or Francis Bacon – but my favourite works by far are those by my contemporaries, and I definitely feel a responsibility to share them as much as I can'.
Hirst’s interest in curating dates back to the beginning of his artistic career and his organisation of the Freeze exhibition in south London in 1988. At Newport Street Gallery he presents exhibitions from the Murderme collection, which he has been building since the late 1980s.
It includes works by John Hoyland, Francis Bacon, Banksy, Tracey Emin, Richard Hamilton, Jeff Koons, Sarah Lucas, Pablo Picasso, Richard Prince, Haim Steinbach and Gavin Turk, as well as a number of young and emerging artists. It also features indigenous artists from the Pacific Northwest Coast, including Reg Davidson, Robert Davidson, James Hart and Don Yeomans, as well as natural history specimens, taxidermy, anatomical models and historical artefacts.