MUSEUMS & GALLERIES
Amazing art needn’t be confined to traditional galleries and museums. For a breath of fresh air, leave those four walls behind and see wonderful designs, from sculpture to architecture, in a different way, says Sam Rogg
You don’t have to visit a gallery to enjoy art – as the Serpentine Pavilion in Kensington Gardens opens, we round up the best outdoor art.
The days are hot; the nights are warm, so it’s time to make the most of London’s outdoor art.
The Summer Pavilion at the Serpentine Gallery (to 9 Oct; p. 46; above) is a must-see temporary structure in Kensington Gardens that’s free to explore. Each year, a different artist or architect is chosen to design the Pavilion, with past creations by the likes of Ai Weiwei and Iraqi-born artist Zaha Hadid. Now in its 16th year, the Pavilion is as surprising as ever: expect a huge unzipped wall of interlocking fibreglass bricks that appears both straight and hollow.
‘ We have attempted to design a structure that embodies multiple aspects that are often perceived as opposites,’ says this year’s designer Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG). ‘A structure that is free-form yet rigorous, modular yet sculptural, both transparent and opaque, both solid box and blob’.
By day, this solid blob is home to a fantastic café and family-friendly activities. By night, the Serpentine’s Park Nights programme takes over with an entertaining line-up of performances by artists, writers and musicians. And, for the first time, there will be four other temporary structures on-site called Summer Houses, each one inspired by the nearby Queen Caroline’s Temple in Kensington Gardens.
Outside the Victoria and Albert Museum (p. 44), you can see a pavilion of a different kind. Designed by Stuttgart architect Achim Menges, but created by a robot, the pavilion is inspired by the wings of flying beetles and forms part of the V&A’s Engineering Season.
Situated in east London, The Line is the city’s first dedicated modern and contemporary art walk ( www.the-line.org). Running from the Olympic Park to The O2 and the regenerated Greenwich Peninsula, the walk is punctuated by works from Alex Chinneck, Gary Hume and Antony Gormley (famous for his Angel of the North sculpture). See a sliced vertical section of a sand dredger by Richard Wilson; Thomas J Price’s statue of a man texting (left); and a bronze model of human skin by Damien Hirst.
Over in the capital’s financial district – known as the Square Mile – you’ll find the sixth edition of Sculpture in the City ( www.cityoflondon.gov.uk), where 15 contemporary artworks are located in and around major landmarks such as the ‘Cheesegrater’ skyscraper. See a huge cast-iron head by Catalan sculptor Jaume Plensa peering over visitors to the ‘Gherkin’, then head over to Bishopsgate where a sculpture of a Johannesburg street seller awaits. Other artists include Young British Artist Gavin Turk, and Sir Anthony Caro, one of Britain’s finest sculptors.