Art walk: Shoreditch

Published 24 September 2013

White Cube and Victoria Miro put this area of London on the contemporary art map following their moves north of the City in 2000.

Despite White Cube moving south earlier this year, the area is now home to many artist-run spaces, galleries and art foundations.

1. Raven Row

One of these foundations is Raven Row, a non-profit exhibitions centre founded, funded and programmed by Alex Sainsbury. Raven Row is located on Artillery Lane, a street perpendicular to Bishopsgate and Liverpool Street station (great brunches at The Breakfast Club in Artillery Passage make it a good place to start at the weekend, as Raven Row doesn’t open until 11 am).

2. Hales Gallery

From Raven Row, continue down Crispin Street and turn right into Brushfield Street. Cross over Commercial Street and turn left; a five-minute walk sees the landscape change from glass and steel office blocks to warehouse conversions and reclaimed spaces, one of which, The Tea Building, houses Hales Gallery, as well as the members’ club Shoreditch House on its top two floors.

3. Kate MacGarry

From The Tea Building on the corner of Commercial Street walk along Bethnal Green Road, and turn left into Camlet Street. The second turning on the left is Old Nichol Street, and at no. 27 is Kate MacGarry, a small but interesting commercial gallery.

4. Iniva

Walk further along Camlet Street to Arnold Circus, and take the third left along Calvert Avenue. Follow it to the end, cross over Shoreditch High Street and walk down Rivington Street. On the right is Rivington Place, home to Iniva, the Institute of International Visual Arts, which organises exhibitions, events and talks to celebrate the diversity of society through contemporary art.

5. Carl Freedman Gallery

Rivington Street is a gastro destination with Rivington Grill and The Tramshed next to each other. Turn left before The Tramshed and visit the first of two galleries on Charlotte Road, Carl Freedman at number 29. Established in 2003, the gallery moved to its current location after outgrowing its original premises at number 44A.

6. Mummery + Schnelle

Continue along Rivingdon Street to Mummery + Schnelle, housed in Carl Freedman's original premises at 44A. Set up in 2007 by Andrew Mummery and Wolfram Schnelle, the gallery focuses on international contemporary art, especially painting and photography.

7. Victoria Miro

After leaving the Charlotte Road galleries, continue in the same direction before turning right at the end of the road on to Shoreditch. Continue along Shoreditch, veering left before turning right at Old Street tube roundabout on to City Road. Follow this until you come to Wharf Road, marked by the petrol station on the corner. Leading commercial gallery Victoria Miro stands on the right. Housed in a former furniture factory, it is an airy white temple to contemporary art.

8. Parasol Unit

Housed in the same building as Victoria Miro, Parasol Unit is a not-for-profit gallery established to promote contemporary art for the benefit of the public. Established by Ziba Ardalan, an Iranian curator who obtained a Ph.D. in chemistry before embarking on a career in art, the gallery has hosted exhibitions of artists including David Shrigley, Jeremy Deller and Jannis Kounellis.

Check opening times before you visit, as some galleries do not open on Mondays or Tuesdays, and others do not open on Sundays. Over 170 galleries open late on the first Thursday of every month across east London, with walking tours by critics and curators and a free art bus. Visit the First Thursdays website for more details.

Looking for more art in the capital? Discover London's other contemporary art zones with our London art walks covering Mayfair, Bethnal Green and Peckham.

Back to top