Monday, June 27, 2011

World Fashion | Snappers happy at new photo gallery

THIS is the first look inside the new home of the Photographers' Gallery.

The four-storey centre off Oxford Street is a taster of the full-blown £15.5 million space due to open on the site in 2011.

The £250,000 temporary transformation opens tomorrow and includes dedicated space for galleries, studying and print-buying as well as a café.

It will be open for 18 months before it is demolished to be rebuilt in an eight-storey incarnation but it is already in strong contrast with the old gallery founded in 1971 in Great Newport Street.

There, cramped facilities meant visitors to the shows had to mingle with café users. The first exhibitions include photographs from the archives showing night scenes of Soho from the Thirties to Fifties and lost pubs and clubs including the Cat's Whiskers, where they began the trend for hand dancing as it was too small for proper jiving.

Upstairs, are large portraits of transvestites and other marginalised residents of San Francisco by American artist Katy Grannan.

Clare Grafik, the curator, said the new home was "brilliant" and added: "How exciting it is to have a space whose only purpose is as a gallery."

The gallery at 16-18 Ramillies Street is open to the public from Tuesday to Sunday with late viewing until 8pm on Thursday and Friday.