4 art places to avoid the crowds in London
So you would like to get some artsy activities done but not without the mass of people doing the same? Let me give you a few ideas on where to go to see art without damaging your personal space.
Camden Art Center
A must-see for any art-lover who goes to London, this is a historic place, which has been around for 50 years. They present amazing art exhibitions, education services and a program filled with exciting events. There I had the chance to see an inspiring talk about the relationship between arts and neurosciences, given by Daniel Glaser, director of the newly opened Science Gallery . It was so interesting, it was 1 hour-long I could have stayed for 2 more. In addition, they have all the good stuff: free studio spaces for schools, courses programme, residencies, etc.
TIP: get a nice art book at their shop (or a pretty little notebook, come on we all have the need for another one) and go sit in their café (if the weather is nice they also have an outdoor space, woohoo).
Institute of contemporary art. Self-explanatory really.
But still, let me give you some info. Founded in 1946 (it was the model for most ICAs existing now), it “contextualizes contemporary culture within the socio-political conditions of the times”. In other words: they present contemporary art (and other types of production) which were created in relation or responding to, the context of our daily life, our society. For instance, it can be inspired by the political climate, social setbacks or poor living conditions, etc. The idea is to present a space for research and also that will initiate a discussion. And it can take on any form: visual arts, performance, lectures, invitations to artists and scientists, anyone who can add to the discussion.
TIP: PERFECT LOCATION. It can be included in a tour of tourist places (a little breath of modernity) since it is located just between Piccadilly Circus, Trafalgar Square, Buckingham Palace, and 10 Downing Street.
Estorick Art Foundation
This private foundation is located in the buzzing neighborhood of Islington. There you will discover a collection of modern Italian art, futurist works dating from 1890 to 1950s. They also have an Education Department and an Events program. Major good point: a cute little café, hidden, among pretty trees, you won’t even hear cars passing by.
TIP: Spend the day at Islington! Take the subway and stop at Angel, walk through “Camden Passage” for a little shopping spree (very cute shops) and go to the Foundation for an art tour, finish the day with a nice little drink at the café.
There you will learn all about the role of designers and their impact on our daily life. For example, there I discovered information about the design of the London metro map (much more complicated than I first thought) or where did the peace sign come from, I had no idea! it represents letters N and D of the flag semaphore system and was used for a protest for nuclear disarmament (all explained here). This is a very interactive and eclectic museum, a great place to visit if you are not used to museums or tired of visual art ones (it’s fine it can happen). Also, it was voted European museum of the year 2018, by the European Museum Forum!
TIP: Don’t forget (like I did) to check out the Kyoto Garden located in the park next to the museum.
Fee: FREE (except for temporary exhibitions)
(all these free museums in London <3)
Galleries, galleries, galleries
Like always I invite you to check as many galleries as you can, you can check out the Google map I created for inspiration on many spots to visit. Most of the time you’ll be alone touring the gallery and since space is limited you’ll be able to see many different artists in a small amount of time.
Fee: FREE (duh)
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Here are my 4 art places to avoid the crowds in London!
Any place I forgot to mention?