Husband had a birthday last week and to celebrate, we visited Damien Hirst’s Newport Street Gallery. I first learnt about the gallery’s opening from the Present and Correct Twitter feed (how hipster), and was super excited to learn that their summer exhibition was Jeff Koons. He has so many collections that I just love – Inflatables, Celebration, and his shiny balloon animals. Newport Street had a couple of pieces that I have seen before, and a couple that I haven’t so I suggested to Husband we scheduled this in for his birthday.
To be clear, I didn’t bully him – he wanted to see them too, although he is less of a fan than I am. I sweetened the deal by buying him brunch at Pharmacy 2 as well.
The gallery itself is such a beautiful space – huge white rooms, lots of light, and gorgeous stairwells. I loved that it’s in such an inconspicuous area – just underneath the train line going into Waterloo. It’s so unassuming. And free entry!
Koons’ art was of course as I expected – 6 galleries full of giant pieces, steel and aluminium, iconic pieces, and rude paintings that can’t be discussed in polite society, spanning over 30 years.
You genuinely want to touch them (curse you, sign!) and examine them from all angles to admire the craftsmanship. I didn’t manage to get a photo of the slightly less phallic view of the blue monkey, so apologies for that. I still have so many more pieces that I haven’t seen in real life though, so I’m going to have to keep an eye out to tick them off my Jeff Koons bingo card.
After art came food at Pharmacy 2 on the 1st floor. We had booked for brunch, although we might have been able to get away chancing it as it wasn’t too busy when we got there. I had the most alcoholic cocktail I’ve ever had which immediately got me giddy, and followed it up with glorious Belgian waffle and bacon.
Pharmacy 2 went all in with the branding, from the pill bar stools to the drugs cabinet at the back. The wait staff were really friendly, and it was a really relaxed meal – I’m definitely going back for some more brunch.
And after food came the shop, which is technically next door. Still very much drunk, I completely fell in love with a Damien Hirst print called Proctolin. If I had anywhere near that limit on my credit card, I would have walked out with it. It doesn’t look much online, but up close it’s so GLITTERY – one day, that print will be mine. The shop is awesome and we were tempted by some Jeff Koons Banality crockery which was very reasonably priced. Maybe next time.