Contemporary Key

Contemporary Key is a monthly insight into the contemporary art world, drawing on specialist contemporary art knowledge and experience. We aim to provide an opportunity for those involved to meet others with similar interests and learn about contemporary art and its many dimensions.

Contemporary Key April tour around SOHO

Saturday 26th April, 3-5pm

We are heading to central London for our April tour to discover the international importance of London’s contemporary art scene. You will have walked past these galleries many times and not known that the unique gallery spaces existed next to your favourite clothes shop, restaurant or bar. This tour has a feminine and an international outlook as we will be looking at artworks from female artists from Iran, China and United States of America.

Our Itinerary will be:

Sprovieri Gallery: Avish Khebrehzadeh

Pippy Houldsworth: Francesca DiMattio, Mickalene Thomas, Rosson Crow

Sadie Coles: Andrea Zittel

Pace Gallery: Liang Yuanwei

We will be ending in one of the best gin bars in London where cocktails are served in paint pots and graffiti artworks line the walls.

Tickets are £18

Please contact us for more information on

[Image: Andrea Zittel courtesy Sadie Coles]

Kings Cross March tour

This March we are exploring Kings Cross area of London and visiting a combination of young and established galleries. Gagosian has been in their Brittania Street Location since 2004, whereas Maria Stenfors and Work Gallery have opened up in the last 2 years, reflecting the regeneration of the area and the buzz surrounding all the cultural development.

Our Itinerary will be:

Gagosian Gallery: Georg Baselitz

Work Gallery: Phil Bergson

Maria Stenfors: Astrid Svangren 

We will be starting with coffee and ending with cocktails as usual.

For more information, please contact

[Image: Georg Baselitz, Ill wam ruch nichtet mehr (Ill bar fe well), 2013]

Contemporary Key Shoreditch Tour

Saturday 22nd February.

For our February tour we are returning to Shoreditch where we will visit four particularly noteworthy galleries whilst walking through the area and stopping by a number of graffiti works. Shoreditch is the most creative and culturally rich area of London with the densest concentration of galleries. It is synonymous with the cutting edge British art scene where galleries hope to uncover the next big thing.

Our itinerary will be as follows:

START: Coffee and pastries at Shoreditch Grind
Mummery + Schnelle: Marek Piasecki
Rivington Place: Congo Diaries
Kate MacGarry: Josh Blackwell
Hales Gallery: Basil Beattie
END: Cocktails at Shoreditch House

Tickets are £18. Contact for tickets and more details.

[Image: Basil Beattie, Ascent, 2012]

Visit to Phoebe Unwin’s Studio on Thursday 30th January

As part of Contemporary Key Quarterly we host four artist in conversations a year. Our next will be with the world renowned contemporary painter Phoebe Unwin in her Hackney studio. Phoebe’s paintings shift between figuration and playfully bear tribute to particular places and events. Her materials are varied from oil and acrylic paint to pastel and graphite which are usually applied on canvas. Phoebe has been represented by Wilkinson Gallery and her works are collected by many prestigious collectors worldwide.

Amanda Wilkinson, Co-Director of Wilkinson Gallery, will be hosting the in conversation with Phoebe and discussing her artistic practice as well as looking as some of her works. This will take place on Thursday 30th January 7 – 8.30pm.

For more information please see Phoebe’s work here:

Tickets are £15 and include glass of wine.

Image: Phoebe Unwin, Day, 2007

Tour of Art Projects at London Art Fair

Our next tour will be a curator-led tour around the Arts Projects section of London Art Fair. Art Projects is a curated showcase of contemporary art from across the globe, featuring large-scale installations, solo shows and group displays, alongside an extensive Film Programme presenting a selection of experimental film and video work.

Curator Pryle Behrman will lead us around this young galleries section. Exhibiting galleries include:

Ceri Hand Gallery

Eagle Gallery

Galerie E.G.P


Maria Stenfors

Patrick Heide Contemporary Art


The Sunday Painter

London Art Fair is the UK’s premier destination for Modern British and contemporary art. The 26th edition takes place at the Business Design Centre, Islington, from 15 – 19 January 2014.

For more information please see:

Tickets are £18 and include entrance to the fair.

Candle-lit studio tour

This December we are embracing Christmas with a candle lit visit to the studio of Henrietta Abel Smith.

Tuesday 17th December, 7pm

Henrietta studied at the Charles Cecil Studios, Florence where she learnt the merits of painting from life using the sight-size technique, a method used by artists such as Velazquez, Reynolds, Lawrence and Sargent.

Based in a beautiful studio in Baron’s Court, London, we will be looking at her incredible work with a glass of Prosecco.

Price: £15

See her website:

Get your ticket here

Nino, 2012, Henrietta Abel-Smith

Clerkenwell tour this November 30th

Clerkenwell is one of the most historic, creative and culturally rich districts in London. It is synonymous with design agencies and architecture practices and falling between the cracks of East and West means that it has become the choice for a new group of young and ambitious gallerists. Its typical historical buildings play host to some very interesting gallery spaces.

We have an exciting tour on the 30th, looking at how artists are responding to the external pressures of the 21st Century - made manifest in Tom de Freston’s tortured canvases and the feminist reactions of Boa Swindler to the pressures placed on women by the media. Additionally, Reto Pulfer’s canvas installation work looks into how language and moods inform and define characteristics and the geometric studies of Kes Richardson make parallels with man’s relationship with nature.

Our Itinerary will be:

Start: coffee and pastries at Workshop Coffee.

WW Contemporary - Chiara Williams and Debra Wilson aka Boa Swindler aka Boa Swindler
Hollybush Gardens - Reto Pulfer
FOLD Gallery - Kes Richardson
BREESELITTLE - Tom de Freston

End: Cocktail Lounge at the Zetter Townhouse

Please contact us for more information and to reserve your place. We are continuing to fill up quickly so book early to avoid disappointment!

Tickets are £18.

Contact for more information and to reserve your place. 


Image: Tom de Freston, Splitfall, 2013, oil on canvas, 200 x 300 cm

Contemporary Key tour around Bermondsey

Saturday 26th October, 3-5pm.

We will be visiting a number of artists that explore recycled materials and the use of text in their work. Clare Kenny’s work explores reality and representation through using real everyday materials which originate in photography; her use of materials imitates others such as marble and stone asking us what is real and what is fabricated. Mike Bradford salvages urban materials which he then uses to create multi-layered collaged paintings that explore the dynamics of social abstraction. A group show of artists at the Drawing Room explore the relationship between linguistic communication and the physical act of drawing. The written word becomes the subject matter itself so we’ll enjoying working around the show with you and deciphering the works!

Our itinerary will be as follows:

Saturday 26th October 3-5pm

2.30pm meet at Coffee@BermondseyStreet (163-167) for pastries and coffee
- Clare Kenny at Vitrine Gallery
- Mike Bradford at White Cube Bermondsey
- Marking Language at Drawing Room including studio visits
Finish at Village East for cocktails.

Please reserve your space on our tour at

Contemporary Key is back after the Summer

Mayfair Tour


Saturday 28th September, 3-5pm
The London art world opens its doors after the summer hiatus with their stellar shows just in time for Frieze Art Fair. This September we are visiting some of the glitziest galleries around Mayfair looking at painting, photography and conceptual wool paintings. Internationally renowned and artistically innovative, visiting these galleries will open your eyes to a different side of Central London. Swedish photographer Jacob Fellander’s large format works take a more painterly approach to photography; Liliane Tomasko also questions our perceptions as she zooms in on everyday situations; Ali Silverstein asks you to focus on the minutae details of her large scale paintings, while Rosemarie Trockel works across varying media to question humanity’s impact on the natural world. 

Our Itinerary will be:

Start: Mount Street Deli
Hamilton’s Gallery: Jacob Fellander
Timothy Taylor: Liliane Tomasko
Bischoff Weiss: Ali Silverstein
Spruth Magers: Rosemarie Trockel 
Finish: Little House - part of the Soho House group

Tickets are £18 per person.

Contact us for more information and to reserve your place!

 Image: Rosemarie Trockel


Summer Break

Again Peckham galleries and artists were very welcoming and we had a fantastic afternoon exploring Almalia Ulman’s social media app Ethira at Arcadia Missa and enjoying the contest between the heavy styrofoam and clean light lines of the almunium ‘drawings’ of Pietr Lakomy at The Sunday Painter. Instead of a visit to Sassoon Gallery we popped in to see the studios of Jimmy Merris and Tom Saunderson - always good to have a G&T while hearing about their newest art projects! 

Finally, we finished at Bold Tendencies sculpture park (especially enjoying Pietr and Jimmy’s work) and with a drink at Frank’s Campari Bar. Already looking forward to our next visit..

Our next tour will be on September 28th so we will keep you posted..