An Archivist’s Guide To London

Legacy Russell
Jun 24, 2014 1:27PM

The Great Court, The British Museum, London

The creation, documentation, and conservation of art is, in its essence, a large-scale archival action. In a city as vastly diverse and eclectic as London, galleries and art institutions play a unique role in maintaining the archives of artists’ pasts and, via the act of curatorial practice, drawing connections between artworks (and the artists behind them) and the investigation of history and memory through those works. In this guide, these galleries and institutions bring new meaning and understanding to the construct of “the archive,” acknowledging the value of the works on show at each space, historical documents of a world and the bodies therein, as being constantly in flux.

South Kiosk

14 Ayres St., Unit B, Flatiron Yard, SE1 1ES 

Installation view of “Progress Music by James Bulley,” South Kiosk, London. Courtesy South Kiosk and the artist.

A walk across the local landmark London Bridge is one that is nothing but breathtaking in the city summer breeze. En route to South Kiosk one can easily make this part of the journey, stopping off at Borough Market for a quick bite before nipping down onto Ayres Street to find the gallery nestled amongst the warehouse units peppering the neighbourhood. Founded in 2013, South Kiosk opened its permanent space in July 2013, making this summer a marker of a two-year milestone. A space that focuses on the progress and preservation of technology as it relates to the histories of creative practice, South Kiosk is a bright new star on the scene of #artstech, bringing together a unique roster of incredibly talented young artists whose work often integrates the physicality of ‘final product’ and as well an exploration of the technological machinery used to produce such works. 

Head toward the nearby Borough underground station to make your way toward Central London. At the Borough tube stop, take the Northern Line to Bank and transfer to the Central Line; take the Central Line to Oxford Circus.

Pilar Corrias

54 Eastcastle St., W1W 8EF

Installation view of “Koo Jeong A : Annual Journey,” Pilar Corrias Gallery, London. Courtesy Pilar Corrias Gallery and the artist.

Nestled in the buzzing heart of central London on a quiet street a short walk from Oxford Circus, Pilar Corrias is known for working with a wide scope of artists, ranging from the controversial photographer Leigh Ledare, to the abstract painter Elizabeth Neel, to the digital artist and 2014 Whitney Biennial selectee Ken Okishii

Click the Tongue, 2014
Pilar Corrias Gallery

The Photographers’ Gallery

16 - 18 Ramillies St., London W1F 7LW

After visiting Pilar Corrias, take a stroll over to The Photographer’s Gallery (a 5-7 minute walk) to learn more about the history of the surrounding Soho neighbourhood and take a peek at their current exhibition.

Take a stroll over toward Great Russell Street, where you will find The British Museum (15 minutes).

The British Museum


The British Museum is a perfect stop-off for those with the desire to visit all corners of the world in one fell swoop, with an extensive collection of works in rotating satellite showings and a combination of crowd-drawing blockbuster exhibitions (mummies! and no, not of the British variety). 

Paul Stolper Gallery

31 Museum St., WC1A 1LH

Cross just over the cobbled road (a 1 minute walk) to check out Paul Stolper Gallery’s exhibition “Keith Coventry: JUNK” (open through June 6th). 

Hop on the Central line at Tottenham Court Road and take it to Bond Street; from there, walk over to Atlas Gallery (in all, a 20-minute journey).

Atlas Gallery 

49 Dorset St., W1U 7NF

A bit of Brooklyn grows in London with Atlas Gallery’s summer exhibition, “Danny Lyon: The Bikeriders.” Lyon, a Brooklyn-born, self-taught documentary photographer and filmmaker, began his career in the 1960s as a staff photographer for civil rights organisation the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC). The exhibition explores the identity of the Chicago Outlaws Motorcycle Club and the riders therein, in intimate proximity as they travel together, compete, and engage in their daily lives. These striking black-and-white photographs show not only the fierce commitment the bikers have to their trade, but also capture the essence of summer with an adventurous spirit and, often, a sense of humour as well.

Hop on the Jubilee Line at the Baker Street underground station and take the tube to Green Park.

Installation view of  “Alinka Echeverría | South Searching,” Gazelli Art House, London. Courtesy Gazelli Art House

Gazelli Art House

39 Dover St., W1S 4NN

At 39 Dover Street—just down the block from the legendary Dover Street Arts Club (great for a visit should you have a membership to the exclusive London locale)—Gazelli Art House presents “Alinka Echeverría | South Searching” (open through June 27th).

Victoria & Albert Museum (V&A)

Cromwell Road, SW7 2RL

If you’re lucky enough to be enjoying some London sun today, take a grassy meander through the edge of the Royal Park of Kensington Gardens (35-minute walk) as a shortcut en route to your final stop, the Victoria & Albert Museum, London’s premiere destination for those with a penchant for art and design. Now on view is the blockbuster Alexander McQueen exhibition, “Savage Beauty.”

Afterwards, don’t miss the opportunity to visit the central fountain and courtyard and of course pop in to check out the V&A Café—the café’s three rooms formed the first museum restaurant in the world and are exemplars of design themselves—now catered by the popular local eatery Benugo.

See a Google Map of my guide, here.

Explore more of City Guide: London on Artsy.

Legacy Russell