There are few metropolitan cities that possess a lack of gallery openings and parties. Even in my college town of just 100,000 people, one could count on attending an average of one reception every week. And if you could at least count on one in Columbia, Missouri, that surely makes London the capital of openings. If there is nothing to do on any particular night of the week, take a stroll down your British blogroll, and you will usually find more than enough to visit; if you’re lucky, the drinks might be free.
On Tuesday I attended an opening at the New Gallery. A combination of laziness and downpour made it difficult to leave my warm flat, but the gallery is nearby, and I decided to leave any expectations on Lulworth Road. The rain came down horizontally as it is wont to do, and I put up my umbrella, walking from my quiet road to the siren-ridden high street washed with the wet, soppy reflections of stoplights. “At least,” I thought, “It is an excuse to dress up for a gin and tonic.” I walked quickly, skimming the pale soles of my pointy suede lace-ups on the drenched, dark pavement like quills dipped in black ink. Underneath my grey wool trench and with leather shorts, I wore my grandmother’s vintage, nude-colored sweater, accented by a collar of luxurious mink.
I was thankful that the walk seemed shorter than the identical one I had taken earlier in the day. I walked over the Zebra crossing, put down my umbrella and ducked into the New Gallery, whose freshly painted, bright white walls illuminated the smoking, huddling clusters directly outside. Tall girls in Topshop camel coats and dyed-grey hair looked through oversized granny glasses at the primary-colored prints of Stuhlgang, a collective of art-school skater dudes who happen to be quite talented.
There were larger wall prints and smaller ones that would work best if bought in pairs or threes. I wandered, drinking a weak Hendrick’s and tonic in an obnoxiously large plastic glass, and was then quite shocked to discover that most prints were selling for less than 10 pounds. It was, actually, quite remarkable. These are good prints. But it goes to show that the guys in Stuhlgang (who, I think are in their final year at Camberwell), aren’t making art for money; they’re making things they like for themselves, their friends and appreciators who are searching for something they can afford and love at the same time. The Miami-colored pink and mint of Glasshouse, a print by Josh Checkley, captivated me. I wasn’t planning on buying something for 2B Lulworth, but after speaking to a few of the artists and to Josh, I loved the work even more because they were Just. So. Nice.
I still haven’t decided where to hang Glasshouse, but I am just a little elated that the price of a print I love also allows me to have it framed. I’ll let you know how it goes.