Be smart about art: The best art venues in London

Recommended by the local Cool Cousin community
The Mall, London SW1Y 5AH, United Kingdom
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The ICA is one of the places I go to most in London. It has such a rich programme of exhibitions, films, music, talks and events. The ICA has long been the corner stone of London’s art scene – my parents say some of their best nights were spent dancing at the ICA after hours (in the '70s) and I totally agree (in 2016). The bookshop stocks many small art presses and lots of whatever's new in the independent zine scene. Everything is open to the public, but I urge you all to become members of the ICA because it’s insanely cheap and totally worth it. Don’t forget to walk past the Fourth Plinth at Trafalgar Square on your way there.
Dara, 27 Palindrome 💕
Cool Cousin London
ICA - Institute of Contemporary Arts
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London Newport St, United Kingdom
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Damien Hirst transformed his previous London workshop into a gallery where you will not find his own work, but his art collection, curated in six-month-long solo shows. The project integrates several brick buildings, which were scenery-painting workshops in Victorian times. Today, they are listed and now open to the public as a gallery. When visiting, experience great architecture, from the articulation of spaces, to the precision of detail in the stairwells and their sublime materials. Also note the choice of lighting…try to figure out how they made the handrails, wooden on one side, with a concrete one to match on the other side.
Maria, 32 Architect
Cool Cousin London
Newport Street Gallery
Samantha Taylor
Duke of York's HQ, King's Rd, Chelsea, London SW3 4RY, UK
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my favourite gallery in London - trumps Tate Modern by a mile! The wildly colourful contemporary art shown here is by artists all over the world. Less of the "blank white canvas" or "random brick on floor" and much more about beautiful colours, fantastic painterly/sculptural technique and interesting subject topics. The art changes each season so you must come back to see the new stuff each time!
Ruby, 28 Junior Doctor at NHS
Cool Cousin London
Saatchi Gallery
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43 Cadogan Gardens, Chelsea, London SW3 2TB, UK
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A small gallery split over a couple of floors in the heart of Chelsea. Exhibitions are free and it's a great, quiet space. Go to escape the tourist crowds at the nearby Saatchi Gallery.
Camilla, 28 Business Development, venturethree
Cool Cousin London
Pontone Gallery
Gallery Road, London, Dulwich SE21 7AD, UK
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A hidden gem, this little place is about 15 - 20 minutes away from Brixton but you feel about a hundred miles away. Set in leafy Dulwich Village, which has an extensive history dating back to the pre war London and worth a while to wander around, up through East Dulwich and on to Peckham.
Kate, 32 Designer, explorer, all-round creative
Cool Cousin London
Dulwich Picture Gallery
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11 1, Savile Row
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Commercial art gallery—buy or simply browse.
Natasha, 30 Founder & Ceo of AucArt
Cool Cousin London
Almine Rech Gallery
Official Website
Bell St, Marylebone, London NW1 5BU, UK
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Representing the hottest names in the art word, like Marina Avramovic, Ai Weiwei, Anish Kapoor and many others, there is also something to see at Lisson Gallery. Aside from international hits, the gallery represents many British artists who influence the contemporary art world. The gallery hosts talks and discussion on weekends.
Gili, 36 Art Charity Programming Manager
Cool Cousin London
Lisson Gallery
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Savile Row 23, Mayfair
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A contemporary art gallery which represents some of the greatest contemporary artists in the world. If you are an art lover - this is a must visit.
Gili, 36 Art Charity Programming Manager
Cool Cousin London
Hauser & Wirth Gallery
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Rosebery Ave, London EC1R 4TN, United Kingdom
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My favourite dance company, Nederlands Dans Theater, performs here on a regular basis. It's contemporary dance, but the Sadler's Wells Theatre shows many other forms of dance. The upstairs seating is pretty steep, but once the lights go out you'll only notice the stage.
Daphne, 37 Men's shoes designer
Cool Cousin London
Sadler's Wells Theatre
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205 Royal College St, London NW1 0SG, United Kingdom
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Compact yet efficient, a hidden gem situated in North London. The gallery showcases emerging artists. My recent favourite exhibition was a solo show by British artist ‘Tristan Pigott’.
Natasha, 30 Founder & Ceo of AucArt
Cool Cousin London
The Cob Gallery
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Southbank Centre, Belvedere Rd, London SE1 8XX
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Love their exhibition program! This institution strives to present the world's most adventurous and innovative artists. They try to put on a challenging programme of forward-thinking artists. The location on Bankside is great, too – a lovely little pocket of culture.
Marine, 30 CEO of MTArt Agency
Cool Cousin London
Hayward Gallery
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104 New Bond St, Mayfair, London W1S 1SU, UK
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If I had enough money I would buy everything inside of this gallery. Some of the most interesting and mesmerising pieces of art that can fit easily into any house as decor. Modern, contemporary art style that will blow your mind.
Filipa, 31 Nurse
Cool Cousin London
Galerie Bartoux, London
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Holt NR25 6ET, UK
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Tate Modern, Whitecube, Natural History Museum, Barbican... These are all must see culture hubs! But for me, there is one place in particular I visit every month: Photographer's Gallery, in the hearth of Soho. You can see Win Wenders' Polaroid pictures, join some artist talks, and buy amazing prints for your walls.
Hazal, 39 Full-time Traveller
Cool Cousin London
Photographers' Gallery
25 Savile Row, Mayfair, London W1S 2ER, UK
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Another one of my favourite commerical galleries in London, Ordovas isn't huge but always has the most beautifully and thoughtfully curated exhibitions. If you want to do a contemporary art crawl, it's opposite Hauser & Wirth, and just round the corner from Sotheby's on Bond Street, and several other galleries nearby. For a bite-sized interaction, though, this is the best place to start.
Laura, 33 Manager at Museum of London
Cool Cousin London
Ordovas
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