Faced with imminent closure, London’s Kemistry Gallery is hoping to reinvent itself as the first centre in the UK dedicated solely to graphic art and design. Next February, it aims to stage a pop-up show which will work as a pilot for the next phase of its development – but it needs your help…
To date, Kemistry has been an exciting space for showing the work of graphic designers and illustrators. From Jean Jullien and Geoff McFetridge to Saul Bass, Milton Glaser and Lou Dorfsman, it has shown an impressive commitment to celebrating both established names and cutting edge talent. I’ve lost count of the number of shows that CR has been to and featured on the CR blog.
But the gallery has recently revealed some sad news, that its home on Charlotte Road in Shoreditch is set to be redeveloped and so Kemistry is likely to be closed within three months.
Founded by Graham McCallum and Ricky Churchill almost ten years ago, Kemistry are adamant that while expensive rents might be moving the premises on, they are far from giving up. Their aim over the next year is to raise enough money – partly through a Kickstarter campaign – to establish Kemistry as “the UK’s first centre dedicated solely to graphic art and design”.
“Rather than mourn the loss of our current digs and admit defeat,” they say, “we have decided to take the challenge on, not only to find a new home but think about reinventing Kemistry Gallery and taking it to a bigger, bolder and more ambitious place.”
According to the gallery’s Kickstarter page, Arts Council England has already committed to support them in their efforts to pilot a new version of the gallery, to coincide with our 10th anniversary. This special exhibition, entitled Kemistry Gallery: 10 years 60 works, will be hosted in an East London location, running from the beginning of February and will present highlights from a decade of celebrating the very best of classic and contemporary visual communication, including work by Saul Bass, Milton Glaser, Parra, Jean Jullien, Anthony Burrill and many more.
A mock-up of how Kemistry’s pop-up exhibition might look
Kemistry has raised an initial £15,000 from the Arts Council and now need to match that to cover the exhibition costs over the next 30 days, via Kickstarter. As McCallum says in the video on the Kickstarter page, Kemistry’s success has proved that there is an appetite for a place that shows graphic art and design – so they are determined to move on and to try and do something “bigger and better”.
What McCallum outlines includes a larger gallery, additional spaces for talks and lectures, even screenings, potentially a bookshop or a cafe – more of a “resource” for graphic design than an exhibition space. If that happens, this cloud may well have one hell of a silver lining.
For full details of Kemistry’s plans and how you can donate, visit the Kickstarter page here.
#SaveKemistryGallery design by Jean Jullien