Whitfield Street is found in the northern part of Fitzrovia, an area bound in the north by Euston Road, by Oxford Street to the south, by Gower Street to the East and Great Portland Street to the west. It gets its name after one of my favourite pubs in the area, the Fitzroy Tavern. The drinks are cheap, it’s always busy, and when the weather is good I find it one of the most pleasing places to stand outside watching the world go by on Charlotte Street.
I was there the other day, late afternoon, the sun feebly trying to give me an excuse to put on the sunglasses that hadn’t been worn since Spain in August 2010. A private viewing was taking place on Store Street, across Tottenham Court Road but as I had an hour to kill I soaked up the atmosphere on the first Thursday evening since the clocks had gone forward and enjoyed a pint of Sovereign.
As mentioned in my previous review on The Orange Dot gallery there seems to be a growing sense that smaller galleries, whether of the pop up nature or not, are migrating further west than what has been found in the past. There must be a number of reasons why this is the case; lower costs for renting uninhabited commercial sites presumably being the most pertinent. Even the latest issue of GQ has stated how London’s art hub is on the move, relocating to Fitzrovia due to it being “smarter than Shoreditch and cheaper than Mayfair”. The piece in the issue explains how six galleries have recently opened in the area, four of which are based on Eastcastle Street - interesting and, more importantly, convenient stuff.
New Decade is a promising title for a show that promises new works by eight promising young artists. The Pop Up Gallery is a venture started by Nolan Browne last year, and this exhibition is one of many planned for 2011. What caught my attention initially was the manifesto that states “Nothing less than progressive work will be shown”, and that the galleries (which will appear in various regenerated locations around the city) “plan to make art even more accessible to others while filtering out the good from the great”. These are assertive words. These are words that made me want to go and see what this was all about.
|Living Arrangements, Henry John, 2010|
|How To Spend It, Will Martyr, 2010|
|Equilibrium, Benjamin Senior, 2011|
|Hydra, Benjamin Senior, 2011|
|Madonna del Parto, Pierro della Francesca, 1457|
Each artist in New Decade holds their own in what is a fun and optimistic show, and that is largely down to Browne’s curatorship expressing the progressive feel of his manifesto for the Pop Up Gallery. From Simone Rowat’s videos and photographs using food to create scenes more suited to an episode of Nature’s Great Events, to Katie Sims’ Poussin like landscapes blobbed with pretty colours, all the work reinforces the connecting themes of the exhibition; It’s a new decade with artists who don’t want to turn their back on the past but want to make use of it to help their development.
|Mountains And Mist, Simone Rowat, 2010(?)|
|Snake Pass, Katie Sims, 2011|
New Decade runs until the 8th May
Pop Up Gallery, 42 Store Street, WC1E 7DB