Designer Sarah Shellard's guide to London's best art galleries
Insider Guide by by Sarah Shellard, a South African-born graphic designer and illustrator, living in Wimbledon and working in Camden
This is a guide to some of London’s best independent galleries and collections. From contemporary masters to up and coming artists, via explorations into science and technology, the galleries in this guide offer thoughtful and carefully curated permanent collections, as well as exciting temporary exhibitions.
A world-class collection of modern Italian art, featuring the most important Italian artists from the first half of the 20th century. Renowned for its collection of Futurist works, and with six galleries, an art library, a bookshop, and a cafe, there is plenty here to keep you engaged.
‘The free destination for the incurably curious’, this museum explores science, medicine, and the human existence and experience through a variety of lenses and mediums. Part of the Wellcome Trust, a global health charity that was founded by Sir Henry Wellcome through his will in 1936. Wellcome was a pharmaceutical entrepreneur and avid collector of objects relating to health and medicine.
A stalwart of the London art scene for over 100 years, Whitechapel Gallery has been a pioneer from the start. It is where some of the biggest names in contemporary art made their debut, including Rothko, Pollock, and Kahlo. The building was revamped and reopened in 2009 and now includes a research centre, archives room, and cafe.
The design of this gallery space is a work of art in itself. The 1970s building was redesigned by London and Berlin-based architects Casper Mueller Kneer, and houses three major exhibition spaces. To date the gallery has hosted several notable exhibitions, including American artist Theaster Gates’ first UK showing. White Cube also has a second London location in St. James, as well as a gallery in Hong Kong.
The Design Museum is an exploration of - and homage to - the designs that have shaped the modern world, from the beginnings of mass-produced objects to the digital era.
Notably, the museum is home to the Beazley Designs of the Year awards, an exhibition that features 60 projects from creators around the world, spanning architecture, digital, fashion, graphics, products, and transport.