Last night I went to the opening of White Cube Bermondsey, YBA hipster Jay Jopling's newest addition to his collection of galleries. At 58,000 square feet of faceless 1970s warehouse, it's Europe's largest commercial gallery and will no doubt continue to raise the area's profile. (Of course, the gallery is of course not in Bermondsey proper, but among the growing strip of boutique shops and restaurants on Bermondsey Street, dominating the end just below José).
The art on display last night was second fiddle to people-watching, with the international jet-set clique choosing to slum it in SE1 before the Frieze Art Fair over the coming days. Hundreds of people queued down Bermondsey Street, hoping to rub shoulders with glamorous opening night crowd, including Damien Hirst, Tracy Emin, Gilbert & George and other YBA luminaries along with countless expensively-dressed, beautiful people laughing into their champagne flutes. Literally, all night.
While technically a commercial gallery, the prices mean that the art is as out of reach for most people as any Picasso, but it's still worth popping by if you're in the area. Future exhibitions and premieres are expected to feature contemporary works household names, so White Cube Bermondsey could become part of the gallery trail yet.
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