There has been a recent trend of art galleries looking to relocate to Clerkenwell. Emma Hill’s Eagle Gallery has been on Farringdon road since 1990, but following Rokeby’s move to this area, others such as WW, Fold as well as some newcomers have been rumoured to be moving to the EC1 area in the New Year. Many art lovers in the East End are arguing that Jay Joplin’s White Cube, scheduled to close at the end of the year may not be missed, as the famous gallery over shadows lots of other work in the area. With so many competing, it will be healthy for one of the biggest to leave first and perhaps give some of the unnoticed some deserved attention.
However, in the past few years there has been a steady decline away from E1 and E2. It is said that Vyner Street and surrounding areas has lost their buzz and news that the White Cube closing its doors could be seen as a final nail in the coffin. Although this gives the impression that the East End is slowly fading in to the background of the art world, there is much evidence to suggest that the East End is far from obsolete.
Although some former galleries which helped establish the east London scene have relocated to smarter areas in the west end, others have laid down stronger roots. Bethnal Green-based Vilma Gold and Wilkinson both chose to upgrade, moving to larger spaces near their previous ones. Carl Freedman, an early supporter of artists such as Damien Hirst has also moved his gallery to a bigger and brighter venue opposite his original space in trendy Shoreditch.
With thanks to Time Out London, October 23-29, original article by Helen Sumpter, ed. Ossian Ward