Alison Jacques. Photo: Hannah Starkey

Cork Street announces Alison Jacques, Stephen Friedman Gallery, and Tiwani Contemporary

Cork Street announces, with eager anticipation, three galleries to open permanently at its distinguished site in autumn 2023: Alison Jacques, Stephen Friedman Gallery, and Tiwani Contemporary.

Alison Jacques is set to expand the business’s presence in London with a new 6000-sq-ft location at 22 Cork Street, Mayfair.

The new space will open following a significant renovation by architect Mike Rundell who also designed the existing Alison Jacques gallery at 16-18 Berners Street. 22 Cork Street was a concrete shell which Rundell has transformed into a three-floor gallery HQ comprising four exhibition spaces, private viewing rooms, ample offices and on-site storage.

Alison Jacques first opened in London on Clifford Street in 2004 before moving to its current home on Berners Street in 2007. 22 Cork Street represents a significant new chapter. The gallery looks forward to building on its reputation for discovering under-acknowledged artists and being a platform for artists who are making history.

Alison Jacques comments: “In 1993, in my previous life as a journalist, I was lucky enough to interview legendary art dealer Leslie Waddington who offered me a job at his gallery on Cork Street. I remember sitting at the reception desk and dreaming that one day, I would have my own gallery on Cork Street.

Serendipitously, our new space is opposite Waddington; my only regret being that Leslie is not alive to offer his sage advice. He is very much part of the history of Cork Street, along with pioneering dealers Victoria Miro, John Kasmin, James Mayor and Bernard Jacobson. Victoria’s original gallery was once next door to our new space. As the first female gallerist to inspire me, she continues to lead with an astute eye and admirable integrity.

These are very big shoes to fill, particularly with neighbouring 21 Cork Street being the former home of ground-breaking gallerist Robert Fraser aka ‘Groovy Bob’. I believe this legacy of the dealer as a true connoisseur and the spirit of Cork Street as cultural hub of the London art world, can happen again.”

Jacques is convinced that London will remain a crucial centre for the international art market. “The opening of our new space anticipates the gallery’s 20th Anniversary next May and we look forward to showing our artists’ work in an outstanding space in the heart of historic Mayfair, which ultimately is the epicentre of the London art world.”

The gallery opens with a solo show of new work by Sheila Hicks. The legendary 88-year-old USA born artist, who has resided in Paris for several decades, was the subject of a recent major retrospective at The Hepworth Wakefield, UK. Jacques will conclude the year with an exhibition of iconic 20th century American artist Robert Mapplethorpe, including work never previously exhibited. “I have been lucky enough to represent Robert Mapplethorpe in the UK since 1999 and it is fitting that our second show on Cork Street should be dedicated to his work, ahead of next year marking 25 years of collaboration with the Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation, New York.”

Alison Jacques represents some of the most influential Artists and Estates from the past century, including the Estates of Ana Mendieta, Roy Oxlade, Gordon Parks, Dorothea Tanning, Lenore Tawney, and Hannah Wilke. Artists include: Erika Verzutti, Fernanda Gomes, Ian Kiaer, Takuro Kuwata, and Graham Little, both of whom recently exhibited at the Hayward Gallery.

Recent additions to the gallery programme include Hastings based artist Sophie Barber, Ljiljana Blažveska, who the gallery showcased with a solo presentation at Frieze Masters in 2022, Jane Dickson, who featured prominently in the 2022 Whitney Biennial, New York, and will have her first solo exhibition with the gallery at Berners Street in May 2023, and Veronica Ryan, winner of the 2022 Turner Prize.

Alison Jacques’ passion and commitment to her artists is focused on creating and delivering opportunities for museum exhibitions and acquisitions. In addition to Maria Bartuszová’s current retrospective at Tate Modern, on show until 25 June, and The Gee’s Bend Quiltmakers at the Royal Academy, on show until 18 June, forthcoming museum collaborations include the first European survey of artist provocateur Nicola L. at Camden Arts Centre in 2024, and a major European retrospective of Brazilian art icon Lygia Clark, which opens at the Neue Nationalgalerie, Berlin in 2025.

Stephen Friedman Gallery. Credit: David Kohn Architects

Stephen Friedman Gallery, after 27 years at its current home on neighbouring Old Burlington Street, will expand and relocate to 5-6 Cork Street, Mayfair.

The new location, which will be designed by award-winning London architectural firm David Kohn Architects, will support the gallery’s ambitious plans for growth. Key developments in the building will include large bespoke galleries and a new mezzanine level. Externally, a landscaped courtyard garden will create a new space for the presentation of outdoor sculpture. Other features include a variety of offices, purpose-built flexible areas for working, a library, private viewing rooms and spaces for visitors to dwell and congregate, including a specially designed kiosk.

Stephen Friedman Gallery represents 35 artists and estates from around the world including Mamma Andersson, Juan Araujo, Tonico Lemos Auad, Leilah Babirye, Jonathan Baldock, Stephan Balkenhol, Sarah Ball, Claire Barclay, Melvin Edwards, Andreas Eriksson, Manuel Espinosa, Denzil Forrester, Tom Friedman, Kendell Geers, Wayne Gonzales, Channing Hansen, Holly Hendry, Thomas Hirschhorn, Jim Hodges, Tau Lewis, Ilona Keserü, Rivane Neuenschwander, Ged Quinn, Deborah Roberts, Yinka Shonibare CBE RA, David Shrigley, Jiro Takamatsu, Kehinde Wiley, and Luiz Zerbini.

Artists who have joined the gallery recently include Caroline Coon, Jeffrey Gibson, Hulda Guzmán, Izumi Kato, Anne Rothenstein, and Caroline Walker.

The gallery is delighted to be working on the development with The Pollen Estate, which is committed to the progressive evolution of its buildings and streets in Mayfair. The estate aims to continue to enhance Cork Street’s status as a global destination for modern and contemporary art.

David Kohn Architects has worked with arts institutions such as the V&A, ICA, Whitechapel Gallery, Christie’s and Sotheby’s, as well as commercial galleries. This is the gallery’s second collaboration with DKA, having previously designed one of its existing gallery spaces.

Stephen Friedman said: “Our ambition, along with The Pollen Estate and David Kohn, is for the gallery to become a leading space both creatively and functionally. Cork Street’s history and its revival as an arts destination is a testament to London as a vital part of the global art world. We are incredibly proud to work with such exceptional artists and want to support them in the best ways we can. By undertaking such a significant development, we are creating a major pathway towards future growth.”

Exterior of Tiwani Contemporary, 24 Cork Street (architectural render). © MATHESON WHITELEY

Tiwani Contemporary moves to a new gallery space at 24 Cork Street, Mayfair. This move, alongside establishing and opening a Lagos gallery space in 2022, represents a significant milestone for Tiwani and foregrounds the gallery’s plans for the next ten years and beyond. Cork Street Galleries, an initiative of The Pollen Estate, is delighted to welcome Tiwani Contemporary as the final permanent gallery to sign on Cork Street, marking a new chapter in Cork Street’s history and heralding a new era for modern and contemporary art in London.

Designed by MATHESON WHITELEY architectural studio (London), with interiors and furnishings by designer Nifemi Marcus-Bello (Lagos), the gallery will be located on the ground floor corner of Burlington Gate, a recently completed mixed-use building by renowned architect Richard Rogers.

Founded in 2011 by Maria Varnava, Tiwani Contemporary’s primary mission is to represent artists from Africa and its global diaspora. Maria Varnava said: “Tiwani Contemporary is a global leader in the representation of visual arts practice from contemporary Africa and its diaspora, and the Cork Street premises are a signal of our continuous commitment, intent and ambition for the artists we represent and exhibit. Together our galleries will be a bridge between the African continent and its international diaspora, allowing us to programme and exhibit art by our represented and exhibited artists on a larger scale, both literally and metaphorically.”

The gallery will inaugurate the new space with events, and solo exhibitions by Joy Labinjo followed by Miranda Forrester, both of whom will present new paintings centred around portraiture and domesticity.

Tiwani joins a roster of leading contemporary galleries resident on Cork Street. The Pollen Estate spearheaded a major initiative in 2016 aimed at re-establishing Cork Street’s reputation as the most prestigious, dedicated street for art in the world. This initiative tripled the available gallery space on Cork Street, making it the highest concentration of galleries in the UK. Jenny Casebourne, Head of Portfolio, The Pollen Estate said: “Tiwani Contemporary’s arrival as the final permanent gallery on Cork Street ushers in a dynamic new epoch in the street’s impressive history, affirming its reputation as one of the most prestigious and dedicated streets for art in the world.”

MATHESON WHITELEY’s design for the gallery imagines a surprisingly complex set of spaces, while at the same time introducing a new patina to the Richard Rogers building. The new space will consist of two exhibition spaces, a viewing room, office and support spaces. The ground floor 800 square-foot gallery will be light-filled, with a hand-made earth floor designed to contrast with the industrial finishes of the Rogers building. A new timber stair connects to the 560 square-foot lower ground floor gallery space, viewing room and support areas. Here an existing concrete floor will be reused, lending a raw quality to the spaces.

Nigerian industrial and furniture designer Nifemi Marcus-Bello (nmbello Studio), who collaborated with Tiwani on its Lagos gallery will design bespoke furniture for 24 Cork Street, creating further synergy between Tiwani’s London and Lagos spaces. The winner of the 2022 Hublot Design Prize and selected as Emerging Designer of The Year in the 2023 Monocle Design Awards, Marcus-Bello’s sustainability-minded approach will focus on the use of materials from the African continent, including timber from Nigeria and the Congo, for his first project in the UK.

Varnava established Tiwani, which loosely translates as “ours” or “it belongs to us” from the Yoruba language, with the encouragement of her friend and mentor, renowned Nigerian international curator, Bisi Silva (1962 – 2019). Silva proposed the name as an encapsulation of the gallery’s intention, which includes providing a space inclusive to everyone, and a safe space for dialogue that values nuance and considers context and the multiple dimensions of identity, being, and belonging. Born in Cyprus, Varnava spent her childhood years in Lagos where she absorbed the visual language of Nigeria and developed the lens through which she has subsequently approached contemporary visual arts practice. This formative experience was followed by studies in African Studies with a focus in African Art at London’s School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), and several years at Christie’s working in business development, before venturing out on her own.