Don’t call it a comeback… OG FAD fans will remember our THAT’S Interesting feature, which last ran eight years ago in 2015. At that time, we had been working with some of the best creatives in the advertising industry to find out what they were interested in right there right then and we learned about some super interesting and random things.
But times changed and we got interested in other things and the feature fell by the wayside. Fast forward to 2023 and we are now really interested in the explosion of young galleries in London. It seems like we are in an incredibly vibrant and exciting time and one which, taking into account the current financial situation, is almost hard to believe has gotten off the ground.
So we want to celebrate that and find out more about the characters driving this renaissance of the London gallery scene, and what better way than to resurrect our THAT’s Interesting feature. We’re kicking off with Hector Campbell of Soup Gallery. Hector is not just a gallerist but a writer, curator, historian and founder of The Shock of The New. He’s going to tell us what he’s currently interested in and, as in 2015 this will be a self-selecting passpartout. Each featured gallerist will nominate the next gallerist to tell us what they’re into right now.
So let’s hand over to Hector ..
Some Art you are interested in
It feels like a particularly exciting time for art post-pandemic, especially in London. I think those long periods of lockdown, confined to our homes, have left people craving physical experiences more than ever. I’ve long been an advocate for in-person art viewing, and since the start of my Instagram page a few years ago I have always stated honestly that everything I post I have seen in-person. I try to promote exhibitions that are either currently open or upcoming and provide people with all the information needed to visit those galleries and exhibitions.
I recently opened Soup Gallery in Elephant & Castle, and it feels good to have opened into a thriving community of small galleries, many relatively new. There is an open dialogue between many of these spaces, and it feels much more collegiate than competitive, supportive with pooled wealth of knowledge exchanged regularly.
To name a few, some of the spaces in London I’m most excited about are Brunette Coleman in Bloomsbury; Rose Easton, Neven Gallery and Sherbet Green in Bethnal Green; Xxijra Hii and Studio Chapple in Deptford; and South Parade and Ginny on Frederick in Farringdon.
I’m not hugely well versed in the world of design, and have been told that I have ‘big light’ energy, which as a gallerist sat mostly amidst LED fluorescent tubes I don’t mind. When shopping for furniture for Soup Gallery, I found eBay was the best resource. I was able to pick-up a desk that I am really happy with from a Made.com deadstock sale, and I purchased a great set of chairs from an office clearance in London Bridge. However, I’m still trying to track down an affordable Eames & Vitra office chair and occasional table.
For more artisan handcrafted furniture, there is a South London maker by the name of Bob Brown, who I hear is set to release a new series of side-tables soon.
I watch a lot of documentaries and find that the BBC is still reliable for solid arts coverage. Their recent series on the YBAs ‘Sensationalists: The Bad Girls and Boys of British Art’ would be a good primer for anyone about to visit Sarah Lucas’ exhibition ‘Happy Gas’ at Tate Britain. Alan Yentob always has a firm hand on the tiller at imagine…, with recent episodes including profiles of Marina Abramovic, Sonia Boyce, Alice Neel and Faith Ringgold. And Arena’s iPlayer back catalogue includes Cindy Sherman’s #untitled and an in-depth look at New York’s infamous Chelsea Hotel.
I also get through a great number of podcasts, with artistic favourites including The Art Newspaper’s A brush with… hosted Ben Luke (recent guests include Sarah Lucas, Alvaro Barrington, Mandy El-Sayegh), Russell Tovey and Robert Diament’s Talk Art (recent guests include Phoebe Collings-James, Rafa? Zajko, Rene Mati?. RIP the long-lost Issy Wood episode…), Rose Easton and Emulsion Magazine’s Vinyl Glossolalia (recent guests include Nikita Gale, Nicole Wermers, Martine Syms) and Art Fictions (where Vanessa Murrell has recently interviewed Anna Clegg, Sophie Ruigrok and Rosie Gibbens). Aside from art, I’m also enjoying The New Yorker’s new Critics at Large where Vinson Cunningham, Naomi Fry, and Alexandra Schwartz discuss current pop cultural obsessions and enduring classics (so far cringe-core comedy, Taylor Swift and the power balance of heterosexual relationships).
My own personal style remains rather minimal (mostly comprising a wide selection of white graphic t-shirts, and Rick Stein-esque linen shirts in summer)), but I do get a lot of compliments on my custom embroidered workman jacket by London-based independent brand Voodoo 4U.
I’ve developed a from-afar obsession with the New York-based label Puppets and Puppets (of cookie handbag fame) ever since it was founded by artist-turned-designer Carly Mark in 2018, and her interview with Highsnobiety is a must-read for any creative. I’m also an admirer of Central Saint Martins graduate Chet Lo.
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Finally, I think Jonathan Anderson and Loewe are doing an excellent job of merging the worlds of fashion and art, be it through the designer’s curatorial efforts at Hepworth Wakefield and recently Offer Waterman; costume collaborations with Anthea Hamilton for The Squash in Tate Britain’s Duveen Galleries; runway shows centred around Lynda Benglis’ sculptures; and awards/bursaries such including the Loewe Foundation/Studio Voltaire Award and Loewe Foundation Craft Prize (the latter currently open for entries until October 25th).
My interest in tech is limited, and I am proud to have completed a university degree, maintained a freelance career and started a business on the same 2011 MacBook Pro. I have, however, been getting more and more into the world of newsletters since migrating my own The Shock of the Now to Substack last year, and aside from art offerings such as Spittle, Maxwell Museums and Domenick Ammirati’s Spigot, I also enjoy fresh creative writing from Molly Eliza Gough and Kay Kasparhauser.
A museum show coming up
I feel that Autumn and Winter are the perfect museum-going seasons, with ample time to enjoy guilt-free art viewing as the days draw in and you avoid the unrelenting drizzle. Aside from currently open blockbusters from Philip Guston (Tate Modern, until 25th February 2024), Sarah Lucas (Tate Britain, until 14th January 2024) and Marina Abramovic (Royal Academy of Arts, until 10th December), three institutional exhibitions that I’m particularly excited about are Tate Modern’s retrospective of Yoko Ono (15th February – 1st September 2024), Barbican’s survey ‘Unravel: The Power and Politics of Textiles in Art’ including contributions from Louise Bourgeois, Tau Lewis and the Quiltmakers of the Gees Bend (14th February – 26th May) and Serpentine South’s Barbara Kruger solo (1st February – 17th March 2024).
An art event you are looking forward to
I’ve heard rumours that the Condo gallery swap initiative founded by Vanessa Carlos might be making a return to London in 2024 for the first time since the pandemic. During the 2019 iteration, I visited all 52 galleries exhibiting across 18 spaces during the opening weekend, so would be very excited if so!
Thanks to Mark at FAD Magazine for the opportunity to inaugurate the new That’s Interesting series, and to share a few things I find Interesting. Our current exhibition at Soup Gallery, Jack Evans’ debut solo Fear of the Dark, continues until October 28th. We’ll then present our first group exhibition, All The Small Things, from November 9th – December 16th, w. an opening on Wednesday 8th November, 6-9pm. The exhibition features new works from Okiki Akinfe, Kate Burling, Anna Clegg, Matthew Clifton, Lucas Dupuy, Elliot Fox, Natalia González Martín, Lucy Neish, India Nielsen, Nina Silverberg & Sang Woo Kim.
You can also follow me via Instagram for daily exhibition recommendations and weekly upcoming exhibition round-ups, and subscribe to The Shock of The Now for weekly recommended exhibitions and a regularly updated list of active artist opportunities (open calls, residencies, bursaries etc.).
I’m passing the That’s Interesting baton to fellow emerging gallerist Helen Neven of Neven Gallery. Following her brilliant nomadic curatorial efforts (including an excellent Britney Spears-themed group exhibition at The Residence Gallery), Helen opened Neven Gallery last month with Woodsy Bransfield’s solo exhibition ‘Hoping’, which saw every other passerby in Bethnal Green sporting pink-champagne coloured sunglasses on its opening night!