Tag Archives: Newport Street Gallery

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).

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.

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.

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”.

our West and North West Kennington predictions for 2015

2015 will put North West Kennington on the map. This is the area south of Westminster Bridge Road and west of Kennington Road, and it is arguably the least visited, least known part of central London, despite some lovely buildings and smaller parks, Lambeth Palace, and Beaconsfield. Plus it’s yards from Parliament and it has the Thames running down one side.

Old Paradise Gardens, North West Kennington

Old Paradise Gardens, North West Kennington

2014 was already a big year for North West Kennington with tonnes of new riverside developments plus the new look Duchy Arms. 2015 will be even bigger thanks to the opening (finally) of Damien Hirst’s Newport Street Gallery. The gallery will feature works from Damien’s collection including artists such as Francis Bacon, Banksy, Tracey Emin, Jeff Koons, Sarah Lucas and Pablo Picasso. Entry will be free of charge. More info here.

Newport Street Gallery

Under the leadership of the entrepreneurial Justin Welby, surely this will be the year that Lambeth Palace opens to the public all year round.

West Kennington (previously known as Vauxhall) will also experience another year of change and growth. We are cautiously optimistic about the plans for the gyratory. New housing developments will lead to more scenes of sheikhs looking bemused as clubbers pass them on the way home.

Watch out Russell Norman – Counter – a new restaurant in the arches near Vauxhall station – will open soon and looks set to be a new entry in our Best Restaurants in Kennington list.

Come back tomorrow for our central Kennington predictions for 2015.