July 2004


What would one of the world's most talked about art dealers be doing in London’s seedy King's Cross? Well Mr Go-Go (a New York nickname) Larry Gagosian, has just opened Britain's largest commercial art gallery, that’s what!

This is not Mayfair or Park Lane, but off the beaten track, and maybe a wine bar too far as the Cork Street-only experts are concerned. But you can discover, in aptly-named Britannia Street (off Gray’s Inn Road, with a whiff of Bloomsbury in the air), converted municipal garages turned into a gigantic jumbo sized, new, white-walled art space of 1,400 sq metres, designed by the trendy architects Adam Caruso and Peter St John.

This is Gagosian’s fifth gallery and his second in London. Four years ago Larry’s foray began with an opening in Heddon Street, W1 (just off of Oxford Circus) when the street virtually had to be cordoned off. As memory recalls, 20 naked redheads in high heels were causing culture chaos and giving certain male art critics very high blood pressure indeed. They were part of a performance by artist Vanessa Beecroft.Yes this art - man certainty loves a ribald opening party and his art definitely gave him some leverage in this town after that.

So, let's all escape into the wonderful spacious art world in King's Cross, where the trusty deadeye of LG is presenting ten paintings and one sculpture from the Amercian artist Cy Twombly, whose calligraphic work looks back at the past, but always creates something with a modern edge and routinely sells for a cool $2million.

His work was shown in Venice in 2000, then two years later in the Gagosian Gallery, and it is hot gossip that his suite of 12 works went for a colossal $20 million. The King's Cross area could get a substantial amount of regeneration work done with that amolunt of cash.

Talking about cash matters, Gagosian started by selling posters in the 1970s in Santa Monica for $2-3, then put them in aluminium frames and soldl them on for $15. He now has two galleries in New York and one in Beverly Hills, a lifestyle of fast cars,stunning girlfriends and magnificent homes. I think he would be ideal candidate for the current fad of glossy Behind-the-Doors of an extremely wealthy celebrity shows on MTV-TV at present. Come over and see my arty crib!

The opening night in King's Cross was marmalade jam-packed, with guests including Sir Nicholas Serota of the Tate, artists Rachel Whiteread, Julian Schnable and a brave-faced Tracey Emin who had just lost her contentious blue tent appliqued artwork with the names of everyone she had slept with (Everyone I have Slept With 1963-95), in the devasting Momart warehouse fire that destroyed many priceless works of art.

As the regeneration and radical change of King's Cross is moving at a speedy pace -there's the £5.5 billion Channel Tunnel link due to be open by 2007 (we all hold our breath), and with the certainty of gentrification, it seems a shrewd move to be ahead of the game in bringing the Gagosian Galley to London WC1.

With the art market's large new spaces expansion - Jay Jopling’s White Cube is opening in a converted London Electricity Substation in St James; Hauser & Wirth have established a gallery in an old Lutyens designed bank on Piccadilly; and let's not forget Charles Saatchi’s County Hall, and all those trendy Hoxton galleries.

This is looking great for London, being at the centre of the European art market (we have just had Britain’s biggest auction of Impressionist art at Sotheby’s), and a magnet for collectors to be and be seen. Go on, make it over to the Gagosian, and regenerate your cultural self.

Gagosian Gallery

Britannia Street London WC1


* Modigliani's Garcon a La Veste Bleu painted in 1918 sold for £6,165,600, at the Sotheby's Impressionist auction last month.


Heddon Street London W1, was the location in 1972 for the world famous cover and inner-sleeve of David Bowie's fifth album, Ziggy Stardust. You remember, the one all about a moonage daydream, space-age androgyny and extraterrestrial intervention man! Over 30 Long Playing years ago, the thin white duke even played live in July that year at The Royal Festival Hall in aid of Friends of the Earth!

The shot taken by photographer Brain ward, In which Bowie stands dressed in full Ziggy Stardust costume, in a darkly lit street with cardboard boxes strewn all over the place and under the bright yellow sign of K.West. The Gagosian gallery is just a few doors down, and at the end of the street is where another high-profile art dealer, Sadie Cole is now in residence.

David Bowie CD

The Rise And Fall Of Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From Mars

(Digitally Remastered) EMI, also 30th anniversary 2CD.



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