Whitechapel Gallery, Whitechapel

Bringing art to the East End for more than a century is not the only headline that the trailblazing Whitechapel Gallery can lay claim to. With Iwona Blazwick as gallery director since 2001, the contemporary-art house has taken risks and redefined the niche of public galleries. 

Giving Damien Hirst his first solo show at a public-art gallery (at London’s ICA) is among Blazwick’s notable accomplishments while at the helm, along with her vision to extend the gallery’s boundaries to develop education resources through workshops and industry links for budding artists. An expansion in 2009 has made the trip to the bottom of Brick Lane even more worthwhile, with greats such as Picasso, Frida Kahlo and English sculptor Mike Nelson all having featured at different points throughout the gallery’s extensive history.

77-82 Whitechapel High Street, E1 7QX 
+44 (0)20 7522 7888 

The Royal Academy of Arts, Piccadilly

Unlike most museums, the Royal Academy of Arts (RA) promotes not only the appreciation of art but also its practice. Led by active artists and funded by donations, the RA displays primarily UK art dating from the Academy’s inception in 1768 to the present, while also running a postgraduate programme fostering the artists of tomorrow. 

A trendsetter in the art scene for centuries, most notably through its yearly piled-high Summer Exhibition, the museum itself was extended in 2018 by architect David Chipperfield and now also includes a dedicated architecture exhibit.

Burlington House, W1J 0BD 
+44 (0)20 7300 8090 

Marian Goodman, Soho

The New York dealer’s London space is a marvel of light, height and scale. First opened during 2014’s Frieze week with a show by Gerhard Richter, Goodman’s roster of artists is formidable, their staging imaginative. A museum challenger.

5-8 Lower John Street, W1F 9DY 
+44 (0)20 7099 0088 

Images: David Parry, Guy Montagu-Pollock @ Arcaid, David Parry/PA Wire


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Monocle 24

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  • The Chiefs