London Bridge is spoilt for choice when it comes to art and design – here’s our pick of great artwork you can see for free.
1 Menier Gallery, 51 Southwark Street, SE1 1RU
Pop to Menier Gallery and take a look at the works of contemporary art and design in a large open space, situated within the historic Menier Chocolate Factory. During exhibitions the gallery is open Monday to Saturday and it usually runs ‘Friday Lates’ viewings until 8pm (but check the website to see what’s on when).
2 Guy’s Hospital artwork, Great Maze Pond, SE1 9RT
When thinking about viewing art, a hospital might not spring to mind, but there are a wealth of gems at Guy’s Hospital. A bronze statue of Thomas Guy, who founded the original hospital, was sculpted by Peter Scheemakers in 1739. Mixing the old with the new, Guy’s also features The Wave created in 2005 by local artist Andrew Logan. This bespoke fibreglass and mosaic structure is suspended mid-air and is visible from the ground and first floors and from offices and wards. Guy’s has produced a booklet to navigate around their works.
3 More London public art, SE1 2DB
Amid the fantastically designed buildings you’ll find several sculptures in More London – some prominent and others more hidden. These include three bronze maps, Couple, Full Stops and Evergreen. Look up to see Couple by Stephen Balkenhol – it consists of two painted wooden sculptures of a man and a woman set apart from each other (the man is on a plinth while the woman is on a low roof). Spot all five giant 3D Full Stops by Fiona Banner,and view David Batchelor’s Evergreen, a permanently illuminated bright green tree.
4 Underdog Art Gallery, 6 Crucifix Lane, SE1 3JW
For the most contemporary art and design shows head to the Underdog Art Gallery. You’ll find contemporary fine art, urban street art, sculpture and outsider art, and fantastic events including live music and film screenings. If original works are a little over your budget there are cool posters from just £15.
5 The Shared sculpture, SE1 3JQ
Visit The Shared sculpture in the Tyers Estate off Bermondsey Street. This beautiful 4.5 metre tall work is a public collaboration between sculptor [Austin Emery] [http://www.austinemery.com/], the Leathermarket JMB and its community. It was created to show the artistic and creative expression of the people – over 100 local people created individual pieces at free stone sculpting workshops held on Bermondsey’s Tyers Estate in October 2012; these were then unified into a single piece of artwork by Emery.
6 Vitrine Bermondsey Street, 183 – 185 Bermondsey Street, SE1 3UW
One of the newcomers, Vitrine’s gallery opened in Bermondsey Street in 2012 following the success of its project space in Bermondsey Square. Vitrine runs exhibitions, talks and is particularly known for nurturing new talent. On Bermondsey Square you’ll find a 16-metre long window showcasing work to the public 24-hours a day and Vitrine’s Arts Council Funded public sculpture commission ‘Sculpture at Bermondsey Square’.
7 White Cube, Bermondsey, 144-152 Bermondsey Street, SE1 3TQ
White Cube has featured names such as Gilbert and George and Tracey Emin – and it’s fantastic just to wander in from Bermondsey Street to see what’s going on. There are three major exhibition spaces as well as rooms including an auditorium, where films and lectures run, and a bookshop.
Get on the list
The galleries mentioned above email out newsletters and have facebook and twitter accounts to keep you in the know. Check out Underdog’s twitter and facebook; Menier Gallery’s twitter and facebook; and White Cube’s twitter and facebook.