Category Archives: North West Kennington

Gavin Turk: Who What When Where How & Why at Newport Street Gallery

We can highly recommend the latest exhibition at Newport Street Gallery, Who What When Where How & Why by Gavin Turk. Gavin is the Beautiful South of the (no longer) Young British Artists – not as well known as Damien Hirst and Tracey Emin, but when you go this exhibition you’ll realise how many of his hits you know.

Here are some snapshots. First up, classic Newport Street Gallery stuff:

Gavin Turk Sid Vicious room at Newport Street Gallery - kenningtonrunoff.com

Gavin Turk demolition block at Newport Street Gallery - kenningtonrunoff.com

We had a genuine “is it art?” moment when we saw one of these bronze rubbish bags outside the lift on the second floor. As in “is it part of the exhibition or has someone just left out a rubbish bag?”.

Gavin Turk rubbish at Newport Street Gallery - kenningtonrunoff.com

Gavin Turk sculptures inc. Pop at Newport Street Gallery - kenningtonrunoff.com

Gavin Turk tramp at Newport Street Gallery - kenningtonrunoff.com

Identity Crisis:

Gavin Turk Identity Crisis - Hello Magazine at Newport Street Gallery - kenningtonrunoff.com

This is genuinely arresting, precisely because it wouldn’t be as arresting as it should be if you saw it on the street:

Gavin Turk sleeping bag at Newport Street Gallery - kenningtonrunoff.com

Finally, Newport Street Gallery’s largest space is an amusing setting for Gavin’s greatest hit, his blue plaque titled Cave:

Gavin Turk Cave plaque at Newport Street Gallery - kenningtonrunoff.com

It’s free entry as always as Newport Street, and it’s open until March 19th (closed Mondays).

Millars General Store

Exciting new opening on Black Prince Road in the former premises of Kleen Dry Cleaners – Millars General Store is a gourmet grocery store that’s so new they didn’t have a sign yet when we were there (they may have by now).

Millars General Store exterior without a sign - kenningtonrunoff.com

It’s run by Kennington residents Andrew and Nina. They source a lot of their products locally, including bread from the Kennington Baker, cheese from Neal’s Yard, and these delicious Single Variety Co chili sauces (they are the first shop to stock them). They will offer you most fresh foods to taste if you ask.

Millars General Store tasting - kenningtonrunoff.com

They have an exotic range of fruit and veg from Spa Terminus in Bermondsey and Chegworth Valley:

Millars General Store fruit, veg and bread - kenningtonrunoff.com

They also have a steadily growing range of food in packets and tins, often organic, gluten free and unavailable in Tesco:

Millars General Store teas - kenningtonrunoff.com

Millars General Store shelving - kenningtonrunoff.com

Millars General Store fridge - kenningtonrunoff.com

There were no other customers when we entered but by the time we left it was positively crowded. Please continue to support this excellent shop!

Address: 53 Black Prince Rd, London SE11 6AB

The Feminist Library Summer Benefit

We first visited the Feminist Library earlier this year on what could have been its final weekend in its current building, until they got a last minute reprieve from their landlords Southwark Council. The council are still planning on hiking the rent up by 150%, but have given the Feminist Library a little longer to find new premises, thankfully. With this in mind,  they are organising a Summer Benefit tomorrow – Saturday 2 July – to help raise funds for new premises.

The Feminist Library - shelving - kenningtonrunoff.com

The library is worth a trip, full of boxes of ’80s feminist zines, and quiet corners and beanbags on which to peruse them. Its Summer Benefit promises a choral installation, one-to-one performances in a lift, the launch of the Feminist Library Survival Song and award winning novelist Ali Smith In Conversation, plus stalls, zines, signed copies of books, food, drink, dancing and a photobooth performance. The finale will come from post-punk icons The Raincoats.

The Feminist Library - pamphlets - kenningtonrunoff.com

The party runs from 2pm until 10pm, and although advance tickets have already sold out, there will be a limited number of tickets on the door tomorrow.

The Feminist Library - noticeboard and merch - kenningtonrunoff.com

FEMINIST LIBRARY, 5 Westminster Bridge Rd, London SE1 7XW, 020 7261 0879.

Jeff Koons Now at Newport Street Gallery

One of the writers of this blog is a philistine who can’t abide modern artists explaining their art but enjoys shiny, colourful, huge, spectacular objects with a novel and amusing concept behind them. Jeff Koons fan? Yep, absolutely, so we were thrilled to hear the second show at Damien Hirst’s Newport Street Gallery would be Jeff Koons Now.

The huge, light Newport Street Gallery space provides the perfect setting for Balloon Monkey (Blue):

Balloon Monkey (Blue) from above - Jeff Koons at Newport Street Gallery - kenningtonrunoff@gmail.com

Balloon Monkey (Blue) - Jeff Koons at Newport Street Gallery - kenningtonrunoff@gmail.com

Likewise this giant Play-Doh has Newport Street Gallery written all over it. This is made of aluminium, while Balloon Monkey (Blue) is made of stainless steel:

Play-Doh - Jeff Koons Now at Newport Street Gallery - kenningtonrunoff@gmail.com

The only x-rated pieces are in the final room downstairs, but they’re so x-rated we believe they would be illegal if they were on a popular local blog rather than in an art gallery, so here’s a silver train instead:

Jim Beam JB Turner engine - Jeff Koons - kenningtonrunoff.com

Entry is free and the gallery was buzzing but not excessively full during our weekend visit.

Naturally the gallery shop stocks some Koons expensive tat art:

Jeff Koons inflatable dogs in the Newport Street Gallery shop - kenningtonrunoff.com Jeff Koons plates in the Newport Street Gallery shop - kenningtonrunoff@gmail.com

Welcome to Kennington Jeff –  we haven’t been this excited since the two Kevins, Pietersen and Spacey, came to town.

Foam Talent – Shaping the Future of Contemporary Photography – exhibition at Beaconsfield

Foam Talent is the best exhibition we’ve seen at Beaconsfield and on our visit, it was also the busiest we’ve seen the gallery. It’s possible some of those in attendance came looking for Newport Street Gallery and found it closed (they’re currently ‘all mouths on nozzle’ to set up their Jeff Koons exhibition), but they seemed to be enjoying Beaconsfield all the same.

Detail from photo by Tom Callemin

Detail from photo by Belgium’s Tom Callemin

Foam Fotografiemuseum is Amsterdam’s leading photography museum. Every year they do a talent call, receiving entries from all around the world, and this exhibition comprises over 100 photos from their 21 favourite entrants, all aged under 35.

detail of photo by Danila Tkachenko

detail of photo by Russia’s Danila Tkachenko

This is a photo of some bubblegum, believe it or not:

detail from photo by Marton Perlaki

detail from photo by Hungary’s Marton Perlaki

The only Brit in the 21 is Dominic Hawgood, whose photos were inspired by healings and exorcisms in African churches in London (quite likely on or just off the Old Kent Road):

from Under The Influence by Dominic Hawgood

from Under The Influence by Dominic Hawgood

from Under The Influence by Dominic Hawgood

from Under The Influence by Dominic Hawgood

Foam Talent runs until May 22nd 2016, Wednesday–Sunday 11am–5pm, at Beaconsfield, 22 Newport Street, Vauxhall, London, SE11 6AY. Be sure to sample some delicious cake from Ragged Canteen while you’re there.

Apologies to any photographer who didn’t want an iPhone photo of their work online – get in touch if you’d like it taken down.

Burger Craft Diner at The Steam Engine

You could live in Kennington for many years and not know where The Steam Engine pub is (we know because one of us did) – Cosser Street, behind the Days Inn Hotel, is not the kind of location that gets much passing trade. It was only thanks to a tweet from @Faye_W that we discovered the pub had been refurbished and Burger Craft were now providing the food.

The Steam Engine exterior - kenningtonrunoff.com

This is their Cheesy One burger for the reasonable price of £8, living up to its description, and to Burger Craft’s promise to serve the juiciest burgers around. For us, this was better than Dirty Burger and therefore the best burger in Kennington.

Cheeseburger at the Steam Engine - kenningtonrunoff.com

One quibble – the chips were too salty. Why do restaurants do that? If we wanted loads of salt on our chips we could add it ourselves.

We also tried to order the Pleasured by Veg burger but they were out of caramelised garden vegetable patties, so we had to settle for a very tasty portion of mac & cheese.

This is the kitchen:

kitchen at The Steam Engine - kenningtonrunoff.com

The renovation is another one on the theme of “looking like someone’s living room”:

The Steam Engine living room - kenningtonrunoff.com

There was a good selection of real ales, both on tap and in bottles, a cheap wine list, and a warm cider option:

Side of the bar at The Steam Engine - kenningtonrunoff.com

They also have a beer garden if that’s not stretching the meaning of “garden” too far:

The Steam Engine beer garden - kenningtonrunoff.com

Burger Craft is open every day from midday to 10pm, and the pub stays open till midnight every night, or 1am on Fridays and Saturdays. They also have a hostel on site.

Address: 41-42 Cosser St, London SE1 7BU

Pharmacy 2 with Ronnie O’Sullivan

We weren’t overly excited when we heard the restaurant at Newport Street Gallery was going to be Pharmacy 2. Damien Hirst is an artist whose reputation is built on great ideas, so why recycle one from the nineties? (The original Pharmacy opened in Notting Hill in 1998, closing in 2003.)

Medicine cabinets at Pharmacy 2 - kenningtonrunoff.com

Then we heard the food would be by Mark Hix, longstanding friend of the (not young anymore) Young British Artists. We are fans of Mark’s cooking but it tends to be rather meaty, and the two times we went to Hixter Bankside it was almost as quiet as Gordon Ramsey’s place round the corner on Great Suffolk Street.

The bar at Pharmacy 2 - kenningtonrunoff.com

Also, our solicitation came to naught – we did not receive an invite to Pharmacy 2’s opening. But to make it up to us, they arranged for the most talented and compelling sportsman of his generation, Ronnie O’Sullivan, to be dining there with Damien Hirst during our first visit (Ronnie had the steak).

Ronnie O'Sullivan and Damien Hirst at Pharmacy 2 - kenningtonrunoff.com

From the moment we entered and saw Ronnie, we had a great time. The decor may not be a new idea, but it’s fun to look at, and at least it’s not a Polpo rip-off. There are no other restaurants remotely like this in the area, and it seems to be doing well, being close to capacity for both our visits.

As for the food, most of it was great. Struggling to find a vegetarian main course, one of us had two starters instead, although we’ve since seen there is a vegetarian menu on their website (perhaps you have to ask for it). Anyway, these shaved winter squash with trevisano and Graceburn cheese cost £7.50 and went down very well:

Shaved winter squash with trevisano and Graceburn cheese at Pharmacy 2 - kenningtonrunoff.com

As did these heritage beets with walnuts and chickweed, also £7.50:

heritage beets with walnuts and chickweed at Pharmacy 2 - kenningtonrunoff.com

Your other correspondent went for a flawless brunch option of smoked salmon and scrambled eggs for £9.95 (they serve brunch from 10am to 6pm every day except Monday when they’re closed):

Scrambled eggs and smoked salmon at Pharmacy 2 - kenningtonrunoff.com

On our second visit we had some tasty waffles with Yorkshire rhubarb for £7.95, but the brunch portion sizes are not large – more of a mid morning snack than a full meal.

The desserts are also small but cost just £4 so no complaints there. This pineapple upside-down cake was deliciously moist and nostalgic. So nostalgic that we went right back to the days when you just started eating instead of taking a photo first:

Pineapple upside down cake at Pharmacy 2 - kenningtonrunoff.com

The only disappointment was a side of creamed spinach, which tasted like a pie filling without the pie, and was far too salty.

Nonetheless we can wholeheartedly recommend Pharmacy 2 for brunch, lunch, dinner or drinks. It’s great fun.

They’re open Tuesday–Saturday 10am–midnight, and Sundays 10am-6pm.

Address: Newport Street, London SE11 6AJ.

Gabriel Fine Art

Gabriel Fine Art gallery has been open for around two years in Old Paradise Yard, but appeared to be closed every time we tried to visit. As we were leaving Old Paradise Yard the last time, having given up, someone heading in the other direction asked if we were looking for Gabriel Fine Art. It turned out he worked there and the gallery was open – they just keep their door closed.

So we finally got to visit a unique and charming gallery which shows artists from all over the world. The gallery comprises four rooms on the ground floor of this cottage, plus a garden:

Gabriel Fine Art exterior - kenningtonrunoff.com

We liked the series of knitted pieces by Sweden’s Marta Balogh. This one is called Old Tree and costs £650 + VAT:

Marta Balogh's Old Tree at Gabriel Fine Art - kenningtonrunoff.com

This artist is like the Haitian Lowry. We’re not sure of his or her name unfortunately, and Gabriel exhibit more than one Haitian artist, but we really like this:

Haitian paining at Gabriel Fine Art - kenningtonrunoff.com

They were keen to show us these colourful works which had just arrived from Tanzania:

Tanzania painting at Gabriel Fine Art - kenningtonrunoff.com Tanzanian paintings at Gabriel Fine Art - kenningtonrunoff.com

They also show some British artists, one of whom was in there meeting the gallery director Beata Maria Rzepecka for the first time.

Gabriel is a child-friendly gallery named after Beata’s young son, and they sometimes offer workshops for children and adults (although nothing showing on their rather out of date website at the moment). Go and visit – it’s worth the effort – and be sure to ring the bell to gain entry.

Address: Cottage 2, Old Paradise Yard, 20 Carlisle Lane, London SE1 7LG.

Newport Street Gallery

Those of you who follow us closely on Twitter will know that our invite to the opening of Damien Hirst’s Newport Street Gallery (NSG) got lost in the post despite months of blatant solicitation. Nonetheless, we picked ourselves up and dragged ourselves along on the first day it was open to the public.

Newport Street Gallery - kenningtonrunoff.com

NSG is a great building – lighter and more inviting than the Saatchi Gallery to which it has been compared (both having been built by rich people to show their huge collections of contemporary art).

Newport Street Gallery staircase - kenningtonrunoff.om

Well done to Damien who has certainly not skimped on this, and architects Caruso St John who were also behind the revamp of Tate Britain. The Guardian recently published an interesting article about the building and NSG’s issues with community outreach.

people at John Hoyland's Power Stations at Newport Street Gallery - kenningtonrunoff.om

The first exhibition is Power Stations by the late John Hoyland, whose huge, colourful but foreboding canvasses suit the space so well that it’s hard to imagine how smaller works will fare.

John Hoyland's Power Stations at Newport Street Gallery under skylights - kenningtonrunoff.om

If you don’t like Hoyland’s stuff then you have a long wait for something else – this exhibition runs until April of next year.

John Hoyland's Power Stations at Newport Street Gallery with sloping roof - kenningtonrunoff.om

Damien’s involvement in NSG is relatively inconspicuous until you enter the shop where there are eye-wateringly expensive skulls and jewellery galore. Newport Street Gallery’s shop is not the much-needed replacement for Kennington Bookshop as a place to buy a present a tenner – more like ten grand.

Newport Street Gallery skulls in the shop - kenningtonrunoff.om

The first day crowd was large and varied, and Beaconsfield, further down Newport Street, was the busiest we’ve ever seen it. We have no doubt NSG’s arrival will spark a new level of boom for the once-neglected area we call North West Kennington, others call Lambeth, and, in a blatant land grab of which we would have been proud, Vauxhall’s developers have decided is called Vauxhall. We’ll see about that:

Correction to Vauxhall sign outside Beaconsfield - kenningtonrunoff.com

The first floor of NSG is taken up by a restaurant named Pharmacy 2, a sequel to Damien’s Notting Hill restaurant that was open from 1998 to 2003. Whatever next – Fat Les reforming to play the opening party? Just as long as we’re invited that’s fine by us – and we mean now, not next year when Pharmacy 2 finally opens to the public. Altogether now: “Where on earth are you from?/We’re from Kennington”.

The Top Ten Best Lunch Spots in Kennington – no. 2 – The Ragged Canteen at Beaconsfield

The Ragged Kitchen - kenningtonrunoff.com

Positives: There are worse environments in which to have your lunch than a contemporary art gallery located in the great building that is the former Lambeth Ragged School. The Ragged Canteen offer tasty vegetarian soups, sandwiches and meals on weekday lunchtimes, all day brunch on Saturday, and cakes and drinks whenever the gallery is open (11am to 5pm Wednesday to Saturday).

Ragged Canteen French Toast - kenningtonrunoff.com

French Toast at Ragged Canteen Saturday brunch

Also, they’ve recently started to hold occasional fundraising dinners in the evenings.

Beaconsfield Gallery with new, less foreboding glass door

Beaconsfield Gallery with new, more welcoming entrance

Negatives: They’re not open on Sundays, Mondays or Tuesdays because Beaconsfield is closed on those days. It gets busy on weekday lunchtimes, especially since Newport Street Gallery has opened up the road, and sometimes they run out of main courses so get there early. They are big fans of polenta – if you don’t like polenta, your options will be limited, but see how good they make it look.

Ragged Canteen spring vegetable polenta cake with cheese and two salads

Ragged Canteen spring vegetable polenta cake with cheese and two salads

Hygiene rating: 4 out of 5

Address: 22 Newport Street, London SE11 6AY

Website

Come back next Sunday to see what’s at no. 1.