London Gallery Weekend 2024 – What The Dealers Said

JA Banners

The fourth edition of London Gallery Weekend concluded on Sunday, June 2, solidifying its status as the world’s largest gallery weekend event. Over the span of three days, more than 50,000 art enthusiasts, collectors, and curators from the UK and abroad flocked to participating galleries and events, celebrating the vibrant and diverse gallery scene that London uniquely offers.

This year’s edition showcased spectacular art, bringing together prominent international artists and emerging talents. Visitors were treated to immersive installations, live performances, and ambitious exhibitions featuring sculpture and painting. Notably, sixteen new participants joined the event, including nine new galleries opening in London within the past year. Most participating galleries launched new exhibitions specifically for London Gallery Weekend for the first time, highlighting the event’s growing influence and importance.

The streets of London buzzed with public art, activities, and performances, with over 128 free events designed for adults and children. The annual Performance Programme, curated in collaboration with UP Projects, focused on artist-led performances featuring new works by Adelaide Cioni and Nil Yalter. These performances captivated Central and East London audiences, adding a dynamic and interactive element to the weekend’s festivities.

Cork Street, a central hub for galleries in London, was transformed with vibrant colour thanks to John Akomfrah’s Cork Street Banners Commission, unveiled in conjunction with London Gallery Weekend 2024. This eye-catching installation drew numerous visitors and added a festive atmosphere.

Engagement was a key theme this year, with 678 visitors participating in Live Tours. Additionally, many took advantage of the curated routes scheme, which provided pathways designed by iconic London figures. These routes were created by editor Edward Enninful, artists Lubaina Himid and Flora Yukhnovich, photographer Nick Knight, writer and curator Charlie Porter, and photographer Mary McCartney, offering unique perspectives and insights into the city’s art scene.

London Gallery Weekend continues to grow in scope and ambition, serving as a testament to the city’s thriving cultural landscape. It highlights the depth and diversity of London’s galleries and fosters a sense of community and engagement among artists, curators, and the public. As the event draws to a close, it leaves a legacy of inspiration and anticipation for what the next edition will bring.

Visitors included international collectors from Australia, India, Japan, USA, China, Germany, France and elsewhere, as well as groups from leading national institutions such as the National Portrait Gallery, Whitechapel Gallery, BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, South London Gallery, ICA, Nottingham Contemporary, The Photographer’s Gallery, Towner Eastbourne and more. The European Curator Bursary Fund was expanded this year. The Art Fund Travel Bursary also returned, supporting curators from the UK and Europe to visit London for the weekend and engage with the rich gallery scene.

Spruth Mager
Spruth Mager – John Baldessari 2024 Art Gallery Weekend Photo: P C Robinson © Artlyst 2024

Founder & director Jeremy Epstein and co-director Sarah Rustin: “The fourth edition of LGW saw a significant gain in momentum. Participating galleries reported record levels of weekend footfall and sales to new collectors. Strong attendance included curators from institutions across the country and Europe and a noticeable uptick in international collectors, galvanised by our ambitious VIP programme and BMW partnership new to this edition. We’re thrilled with the response to the array of outstanding exhibitions across the city, the majority of which opened to coincide with the weekend, and we look forward to sharing the news in due course of the GAC’s two acquisitions from participating galleries as part of our inaugural partnership.”

Rebecca Salter, President of the Royal Academy of Arts, London: “The Royal Academy of Arts was delighted to host the London Gallery Weekend and Art Fund reception last week. It says a great deal about art in this city that the reach of London Gallery Weekend was so extensive. I want to share my admiration for everyone who participated in opening their doors for people to access art at a time when art, and especially art education, can feel it is receding after several challenging years. Congratulations to everyone involved.”

Frédéric de Goldschmidt, collector, Belgium: “I live in Brussels and travel around the world to biennales, art fairs and other events. London Gallery Weekend is my annual rendezvous with the London scene, a unique opportunity to cover a wide range of galleries, collector’s homes, and artists’ studios in three days in three days. Thanks to well-curated routes and the comfort and efficiency of BMW cars and drivers, we hopped easily from central established institutions to eccentric new spaces while discussing with familiar faces and meeting new ones around a coffee or a drink.”

Zoe Sperling, Senior Director, Hauser & Wirth: “LGW saw our gallery packed with visitors to our Harmony Korine and Isa Genzken exhibitions this year, over double the number compared to last year’s edition. We were able to platform our extensive education programme with a learning event at the gallery on Saturday, which was well attended by interested and engaged audiences. We forged new connections with collectors and re-engaged with existing clients; it was a weekend full of positive activity.”

John Akomfrah created the  Cork Street Banners Commission, which was unveiled for London Gallery Weekend 2024. Akomfrah’s new work, ‘The Secret Life of Memorable Things’ (2024), follows the artist’s presentation at the Venice Biennale, ‘Listening All Night To the Rain’, commissioned by the British Council for the British Pavilion. It continues to investigate themes and motifs that explore memory and the personality (ties) of the object in a new form. 

Jenny Casebourne, Head of Portfolio, The Pollen Estate: “Cork Street Galleries, an initiative of The Pollen Estate, is again a proud partner of London Gallery Weekend. The event celebrates the strength and diversity of the vibrant art on view in our capital and marks a dynamic chapter in Cork Street’s rich cultural history.  During London Gallery Weekend, we were honoured to unveil Sir John Akomfrah’s Cork Street Banners Commission, ‘The Secret Life of Memorable Things’. We were thrilled to present this new work by one of our time’s most vital contemporary artists.” 

The annual Performance Programme, developed in collaboration with public art organisation UP Projects, focused on artist-led programming for 2024 and was attended by 850 visitors. Selected by a committee including Fatoş Üstek and Sepake Angiama, and with advisory input from independent Curator Rose Lejeune, the programme this year foregrounded artists Adelaide Cioni and Nil Yalter, who are both also the subject of solo exhibitions at their respective galleries – The Approach and Ab-Anbar – timed for London Gallery Weekend.

Nil Yalter, Artist and Övül Ö. Durmusoglu, Curator: “‘In the Land of Troubadours’ was a touching and magical experience that added meaning to Nil Yalter’s exhibition at Ab-Anbar gallery ‘The Story Behind Each Word Must Be Told’. A new transgenerational conversation on music, history, and solidarity took shape around Nil Yalter’s work in the particular location of Halk Evi, founded by immigrants from Turkey in the 1980s. We’re grateful that UP Projects’ public space expertise facilitated the process. London Gallery Weekend’s broad outreach enabled us to meet with the wider public – with over 300 people from different London communities joining us.”

Emma Robertson, Co-director, The Approach: “Being part of the London Gallery Weekend Performance Programme and working with UP Projects enabled us to take Adelaide Cioni’s work out of the Approach Gallery and into the intimate but centrally located gardens of St James Piccadilly, reaching audiences of just shy of 500 people allowing this beautiful, witty and inspiring performance to engage people beyond the walls of the gallery. The subsequent interest from curators, the media and, of course, the public in Adelaide’s work is palpable, leading to increased understanding of her work and visitors to the gallery – all of which has been highly beneficial to our ongoing collaboration with her as an artist.”

In 2024, London Gallery Weekend increased the European Curator Bursary Fund to support and accommodate five curators from European institutions who visited London. Over the weekend, the curators engaged with the rich gallery and events programme and met with artists and colleagues across the London gallery scene. The five international curators selected for 2024 were:

Adam Budak, Director, Kestner Gesellschaft, Hannover

Elsy Lahner, Curator of Contemporary Art, Albertina Museum, Vienna 

Tess Praun, Director & Chief Curator, Magasin III, Stockholm

Gražina Subelytė, Associate Curator, The Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, Venice

Marianna Vecellio, Curator, Castello di Rivoli, Turin

The Art Fund Travel Bursary, through which London Gallery Weekend supports trips for curators from UK regional museums and galleries to visit and stay in London in partnership with Art Fund, also returned for 2024. Designed to strengthen relationships between London’s galleries and institutions around the UK, the scheme saw visits from curators at FACT Liverpool, Modern Art Oxford, Nottingham Contemporary, Coventry Biennial and The Whitworth, Manchester, among others.

Jenny Waldman, Director, Art Fund: “It’s wonderful to see London Gallery Weekend go from strength to strength, and this year, I’m so pleased Art Fund was once again able to support curators from UK regional institutions to come to LGW through our successful partnership. We received a record number of applications, and we were thrilled to be able to expand the bursary programme to bring curators from across the UK and around Europe to London, forging new relationships between museums, galleries and artists.”

Dr. Grazina Subelyte, Associate Curator, Peggy Guggenheim Collection, Venice: “I was thrilled to receive the generous invitation to attend London Gallery Weekend. An inspiring event provided an unparalleled opportunity to explore the diversity of galleries in different areas of the city. London has so much to offer in terms of modern and contemporary art! I was eager to visit the spaces and areas I’d never been to. I’ve met fantastic artists, curators, gallerists, and collectors and returned to Venice full of inspiration. I’m already looking forward to future LGW events.” 

Melanie Vandenbrouck, Chief Curator, Pallant House: “This year was an astonishing and thrilling programme, and the Art Fund bursary has been incredibly helpful for me in concentrating three days on the gallery visits fully. I feel that I may have made some lifelong connections, indeed friendships, with some of the curators – not least the international curators, who were equally inspiring and mutually nurturing company. This weekend, I focused on gallerists with whom I have not yet (or have less of) a connection, and I look forward to continuing conversations with some of them. This is an extraordinary programme; there is nothing like it, and clearly, it is through passion, enthusiasm and generosity that it shines so brightly.”

Jo Stella-Sawicka, Senior Director, Goodman Gallery: “London Gallery Weekend continues to grow in ambition yearly.  In its fourth edition, we were delighted to see London activated with strong exhibitions in the galleries, which drew significant collectors from the UK and Europe to the city. At Goodman Gallery, we were thrilled to feature the acclaimed works of the late Atta Kwami, whose exhibition garnered significant attention following his 2021 Maria Lassnig Award in the year he died.  We were delighted to place a major work by the Artist with a private museum over the weekend. It was also fantastic to experience first-hand BMW x LGW inaugural Art Journeys, an electric chauffeured driven programme of galleries, artist studios, and private collections to foster connection and community within the city further.”

Ilenia Rossi, Founder, ILENIA: “As a young gallery that opened less than a year ago, we were delighted to have so many visitors coming throughout the weekend. It was a real mix – the general public, curators, artists, collectors and patrons, many of whom didn’t know the gallery or the artist before. We hope to continue all these new conversations that started over the weekend.”

Stephen Friedman, Founder, Stephen Friedman: “We had a terrific London Gallery Weekend. Our first exhibition of Kenturah Davis was well attended; there was a constant stream of collectors, curators, patron groups and the public throughout the three days. Everyone seemed engaged and made the best of the exciting events on offer. We were thrilled to be part of it and share our gallery and sculpture garden through such a positive community-driven initiative.”

Maria Varnava, Founder Director of Tiwani Contemporary: “London Gallery Weekend has been a landmark in our 2024 calendar. We were delighted to welcome curators, patrons and supporters of groups such as Outset, Delfina Foundation, CAS (Contemporary Art Society), and international and regional curators from established institutions. We were also glad to host the closing event for the Sotheby’s Institute of Arts LGW tour day.”

Nil Yalter (b.1938) has exhibited internationally at institutions such as the Kadist Art Foundation, Mumbai; Museum of Modern Art, Rio de Janeiro; Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam; MAC VAL, Paris; and Museum Ludwig Cologne. Works by Yalter are in many notable public collections, including Tate Modern, London; Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris; and Museum Ludwig, Cologne.

Adelaide Cioni (b.1976) studied drawing at UCLA, Los Angeles and received a BA in Sculpture from the Academy of Fine Arts in Rome (2015) before studying for MAs in Contemporary History and Literary Translation. Recent projects include Ab ovo / On Patterns, Mimosa House (2023); Io dico io (I say I), Galleria Nazionale, Rome (2021); And the Flowers Too, Museo Orto Botanico, Rome (2021); Painting Stone, Villa Lontana, Rome (2021); Tout court. Un aperçu de l’art italien, Istituto Italiano di Cultura, Paris (2021); Dante. Un’epopea pop, MAR, Ravenna (all 2021); Shape, colour, taste, smell and sound, a double solo show with Guy Mees, P420 (2019). In 2022, she was an artist in residence at Gasworks, London.

London Gallery Weekend is the world’s largest event and unique among global gallery weekend events in the breadth and diversity of its participating galleries. The event takes place over three days, each focusing on a different area of London. Free for all to attend, it provides an opportunity to discover and explore London’s world-class gallery scene, celebrating the city’s diverse cultural and creative communities. An extensive programme scheduled by galleries, especially for the weekend, includes talks, family workshops, and special events.

Top Photo: John Akomfrah created the Cork Street Banners Commission © P C Robinson Artlyst 2024

Read More